The Rock House Pub & Grill
1840 Portola Ave
Livermore, CA 94551
It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been to The Rock House. I think it was when a friend and I took a “long” lunch from work to catch an A’s playoff game in 2012.
We only had a couple of beers and some appetizers to snack on. Heck, maybe I did have a meal, but I don’t remember anything exceptional about it. To me is was just a place to catch a game and have a beer.
So for stop #25 of The Great Livermore Restaurant Challenge we decided to give The Rock House Pub & Grill a go for lunch.
Let me just say that this wasn’t the same Rock House that I remember. It turns out that I was right. After a little research, I found that the ownership has changed a couple of times over the past few years. It was recently purchased by the Stocking family and reopened in early 2013 as The Rock House Pub & Grill.
Veronica Stocking, executive chef, is in the captain’s chair and offers quite a gourmet menu. If you haven’t been there in a while, read on, their food is excellent!
Before we get into the food, The Rock House building and its neighboring building where the Castle Rock Restaurant resides have a long history dating back to the 1870’s. Check out Bill Nale’s website eLivermore.com where there are some great historic photos and information about the buildings. Bill’s website offers a wealth of information about Livermore and its history. It’s a great resource!
Back to the food.
Now I didn’t know the place had changed hands until I started writing this article. I figured it was the same place as before. It’s been couple years, but I didn’t notice anything different until our plates were sat down in front of us.
“Holy $#!t!” I said in amazement to my wife. “What did you order? Look at that thing!”
Yep, she ordered the California King ($13.00). The waiter told us with a big smile that it’s their largest burger. You think?
With its fluffy buttery bun, gorgonzola cheese, bacon, buttermilk ranch, avocado, tomato, spring mix and highlighted with a beer batter onion ring, it’s an astonishing burger.
You’d think a burger like that would put you in a coma. While it’s definitely a full meal, it really doesn’t weigh you down. It felt like a healthy and lighter burger than it looks.
How was my burger going to compare to that?
I ordered the Mushroom Burger ($11.00). While it didn’t reach the heights of the California King, it made up for it in substance. Between the sweet buns are gruyere cheese, sauteed sherry mushrooms, grilled onions, garlic aioli and spring mix. It was picture perfect with the garlic aioli drizzling down the melted cheese and juicy mushrooms. It tasted as good as it looked. Really good.
Our burgers were so good that they may be the best we’ve had so far during the challenge so far. This give me an idea; I’ll have to do a gourmet burger comparison in the future. Hmmm.
So the burgers are wonderful, but what about everything else?
Andrea had her usual “cola.” Here they serve Pepsi ($2.75). With almost 20 beers on their rotating tap menu, I opted for Altamont Beer Works’ Hella Hoppy ($5.00) which was a perfect companion to my meal. We both had fries for our sides. My wife’s were the beer battered fries, while I went for the sweet potato fries. Both were excellent, though the sweet potato fries were a tad on the dry side.
Our waiter Ryan was awesome. He was extremely friendly, funny and came to check on us at all the right times. Heck, it was like he could even read my mind. Just as I was thinking of asking for extra napkins, he was right there to ask if we needed anything. His service really stood out to top off our great dining experience.
With their new owners, gourmet menu, awesome burgers, great service, many rotating beers and 34 televisions, they offer many reasons to stop by. I highly recommend them if you haven’t been there before.
If you’re like me, and it’s been a while since you’ve been to The Rock House in Livermore, give them a try again, I think you’ll be quite impressed with the changes.
It’s not too often I’ll get to say this literally, but The Rock House Rocks!