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Milwaukee's Downtown Dining Week 2017 runs from June 1 to 8. We’re checking out as many restaurants as we can. Here’s our review of Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery.

Yesterday, I met my family for lunch at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery to sample their Downtown Dining Week menu. For $12.50, participating restaurants offer a three-course lunch (starter, entree and dessert) during Downtown Dining Week. Prior to lunch, I had scoured the expansive list of restaurants participating and decided on Rock Bottom after seeing that they were offering Chicken Tortilla Soup as one of their starters. I was sold. 

As we walked through the doors of Rock Bottom, three hostesses greeted us at the door. The restaurant was relatively quiet for lunch and the dim lighting made for a subdued atmosphere. As the Restaurant and Brewery is situated directly on the Milwaukee River, we were expecting to be offered some sort of patio seating, but were disappointed to find seating was only available inside.

After taking our seats at a booth, we were met by our server who took our first order of Chicken Tortilla Soup to start. When the soup arrived, we were left with a steaming cup of soup and a spoon sitting on the serving plate. After flagging down our waiter again, we had to ask for napkins and utensils as they were not originally given to us. So began the start of our slow and poor service.

The Chicken Tortilla Soup was not as creamy as we had expected and instead was rather brothy with tons of vegetables, especially corn. Compared to other Chicken Tortilla Soups we have had in the past, this one was not very spicy but did have lots of tortilla on top. Its biggest flaw? We could find barely any chicken in it apart from a few finely shredded pieces. Overall, it was okay, but not our favorite Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Next up, we opted for the Hickory Bacon Chicken Sandwich. Consisting of grilled chicken topped with barbecue sauce, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onions and pickles, we were ready for a filling sandwich. When the meals arrived at our table, we were happily surprised to find each plate came with a side of seasoned fries, an unexpected addition to our $12.50 meal. The bacon was crispy but overall the sandwich was rather messy thanks to the large amount of BBQ sauce added to it. While still a good sandwich, it was difficult to look past how messy it was.

Hickory Bacon Chicken Sandwich

After finishing our meal, it was a good 10 minutes before our waiter finally arrived to clear our plates and ask if we would like to order our dessert. We were ready for something sweet and ordered the donut holes only to be met with disappointment. Apart from the poor presentation in a cardboard boat fit for a county fair, the “Warm Donut Holes” were rather lukewarm and pretty dry. They came with a “warm” caramel sauce for dipping that was also room temperature and lacked caramel flavor. A bit disappointing.

Warm Donut Holes

Overall, the experience at Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant was good for the $12.50 price, but the quality of food and service as well as the dimly lit atmosphere won’t have us racing back anytime soon.

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