Most of the menu consists of proteins brought out alongside a piping hot 755-degree volcanic rock slab, allowing diners to cook their entrees to their liking.
Some hungry diners believe eating out means you shouldn’t have to cook your own food. Others are open to a new experience with food.
If you’re squarely in the camp of those who feel they shouldn’t have to cook something yourself, Black Rock Bar & Grill is not the restaurant destination for you. But if you occasionally like to be a little more active and engaged with your meal, this is a destination worth considering. The portions are huge, the prices aren’t cheap, but they’re not hateful, and there is plenty to occupy your attention.
On one of our recent visits, a friend said the restaurant looked like it was designed by the brothers from the movie “Night at the Roxbury.” If you don’t get the reference, it feels like a ’90s dance club with TVs for days and not much decor or personality. Pair that vibe with tables and tables of customers cooking meat with copious amounts of smoke that turn the overhead can lights into fog lights and you’re getting the picture.
A huge bar anchoring the middle of the space serves up a full cocktail menu as well as great craft draft beers and select wines. The seating is comfortable, but be warned, the floors are slick.
Credit: Black Rock Bar & Grill- Toledo
On multiple visits Black Rock was packed to the gills with a wait out the door — apparently people like cooking their own food when dining out. They have spaces to seat larger groups and birthday celebrations, with girls night out and date nights observed each time. There’s lots of room for comfortable socially distanced dining.
Each visit had carts regularly whizzing by with hot 755-degree stones delivering sizzling satisfaction to hungry diners. Entrees range from the top-billed Certified Angus Beef steaks to ribs, sirloin, sausage, jumbo sea scallops, shrimp and Ahi tuna steaks. Entrees range in price from $16.99 for the 6-ounce sirloin on the low end to $31.99 for ribeye or New York strip or $33.99 for the 8 -ounce filet.
Currently they are running a “Sea Wars” promotion for $29.99 featuring four jumbo sea scallops paired with the restaurant’s signature bubbling shrimp or Shrimpalicious ($28.99) featuring six jumbo shrimp paired with signature bubbling shrimp.
Grilling add-ons include Maine lobster tail ($11.99), half slab of ribs ($9.99) Ahi tuna steak ($8.99) two sea scallops ($8.99), three jumbo shrimp ($7.99) or Andouille sausage or Kielbasa ($5.99). One entree with an add-on is plenty to split. It’s a lot of food.
Seafood can be very finicky and unforgiving. If you are a meat eater it’s much harder to mess up tableside grilling with red meat. My suggestion would be to wait for a professional kitchen to cook seafood for you, and go the red meat route at Black Rock. If you are feeling confident ask for extra lemons to help aid in the cooking process.
Scallops and shrimp cooking at Black Rock Bar and Grill with an Ahi tuna steak on deck. CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN
Credit: Alexis Larsen
Credit: Alexis Larsen
Regardless of your order, be sure to add a side of sizzling Burgundy mushrooms ($5.99). They were delicious.
Each entree comes with two sides. Choose from a house salad, coleslaw, clam chowder, house-made chili, mashed potatoes, baked potato, sweet baked potato, French fries, sweet potato fries, green beans, asparagus, creamed corn, mac and cheese or rice. Premium sides can be ordered for an additional charge including truffle fries ($2.50 and our favorite of the sides), onion rings ($2.99) or a loaded potato ($1.99).
While most of the sides are fairly mediocre, the meat is where it’s at, but watch it carefully or it could burn. A little caramelization is a good thing, but a stone that hot can ruin meat pretty quickly.
My husband wondered out loud after several visits, “I wonder how many people get burned here?”
Valid question. We did emerge unscathed, but be warned — that stone they wheel out is every bit as hot as they bill it.
Lest you think that all dishes involve putting you to work, there is a full list of sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads and entrees that can all be cooked to order and served hot from the kitchen without requiring your attention or careful eye.
The M.O.A.S. — “The Mother of All Sandwiches” — is a trademarked sandwich made with tender stead sauteed with onions and mushrooms, smothered in nacho cheese, stuffed in a tortilla and fried.
A lovely lemon-infused clam chowder ($3.99 for a regular or $6.49 for a monster) is a nice option to pair with a salad if you don’t want anything too heavy. The carrots, celery, onion, potato, corn, and chunky bits of clam in a flavorful light cream broth are a good value for flavor and portion.
As for the desserts ... You. Will. Need. Insulin. Just as the portions are oversized, these desserts are non-stop sugar-on-sugar action.
Black Rock Bar and Grill's Sizzling Black Rock Volcano made with a deep-dish brownie base topped with four scoops of ice cream, a waffle cone, whipped cream, chocolate, caramel and marshmallow served with a sparkler. CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN
Credit: Alexis Larsen
Credit: Alexis Larsen
Whatever you order, be prepared to wash your clothes as you’ll smell like you’ve been in a kitchen all day with the amount of grilling happening in your vicinity. It’s the price that must be paid for entry to this grill fest.
In a world where we continually are drawn to our phones, where dinners have become more silent and disconnected, this type of experiential dining gives families and couples something to discuss and bond over. People definitely seemed more engaged over their meals.
In the true American super-sized way that we love to eat, Black Rock delivers with one part Hibachi grill and one-part Texas steak house. Prepare to get all your grilling dreams out of your system and show up hungry.
HOW TO GO
What: Black Rock Bar & Grill
Where: 2745 Fairfield Commons Blvd., Beavercreek
More info: blackrockrestaurants.com or (937) 988-0026
Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of exciting outdoor spaces, new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at email@example.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.