A few weeks ago a group of us at the office that all graduated or are currently enrolled in the UW MBA program (and one adopted member) decided that it would be good to get together every once in awhile and go out and have lunch together. It’s a great way to continue to develop our network, get out of the office from time to time, and find great little places to eat around the Bothell/Mill Creek area. When we went to the first lunch, I solicited a few ideas and the group ended up choosing Dim Sum. However, there was one choice that was eliminated, but kind of stuck with me; The Rock Wood Fired Pizza. A great Seattle wood-fired pizza is one of my three “searches” right now (the other two being the burger and barbeque…there will be a post about this). So, when one of my co-workers wanted to go to lunch, I suggested we go check it out.
The Rock is technically located in Mill Creek, though it is pretty much right on the border of Bothell and Mill Creek, a scant 5 minute drive from the office. It is in what looks to be a pretty new shopping area. From the outside, it’s pretty non-descript, though when you walk in, you can see why it is called “The Rock”. There is a large, open dining area with two floors and the bar in the back, all covered with rock-and-roll memorabilia. Each stair going up to the second floor has the name of a different legendary rock band. My first reaction is this is a place that should be in Cleveland, near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; a perfect suburbia/strip mall/themed/slightly overdone restaurant (quite a difference from some of the local, neighborhood places throughout Seattle). When we sat down, our waitress (perfectly rocker chick with the tats and piercings and hair) asked us if we would like to look over the menu or go for the buffet. I asked for the menu, not really feeling a pizza lunch buffet where there are four varieties of pizza and a couplepastas sitting under heat lamps.
The menu was 4 pages long, and surprisingly only one page was actually pizza. There were sandwiches and pasta and salad and a whole host of other things. But, since I was in a place with “Wood Fired Pizza” in the name, I might as well go for a pizza. The pizza options were divided into two categories; red sauce and white sauce. There was a “specialty” section that had 4 options, but nothing really jumped out at me. After perusing the menu for a few minutes, I ended up going with the “Founder’s Pie”. It said in the description that it was the favorite of The Rock founders, so I thought it would be good to try.
The Founders Pie was on the red sauce side of the menu. It featured Italian sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella and ricotta cheese on a thin crust. It only took about 10 minutes for the pizza to make it out to the table which was perfect for a lunch during the work day. And the pizza wasn’t too bad. The ricotta cheese wasnice and creamy, and the sausage had a pretty nice flavor (it may have even been made in house). The crust was ok, but a little on the soft side for me. I also think that they went a little overboard on the sauce and the mozzarella, disguising the taste of the crust a little bit. When I think of a good wood fired pizza, it’s the crust that really makes it. After we ate, we paid up and headed out, about $15 for the pizza and a soda.
I know the food review portion is pretty short, but that’s because there wasn’t a whole lot to say. It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t terrible. It was definitely better than something like Domino’s or Papa John’s, but it wasn’t anything like Delancy or even the pizza that I had a Lolita. Both of those were experiences that I remember, both from the preparation and the taste perspective. With Delancy, the crust was terrific, and with Lolita it was duck prosciutto! The Rockwasn’t really an experience, just a place to get a quick lunch, which I think says a lot. I’d go back for a happy hour beer with some buddies after work on a Friday, but it’s not somewhere I would drive out of my way to go, or take out of town guests.