Updated
Sep 5th, 2019
First Posted
Aug 29th, 2012

ROK:BRGR Burger Bar + Gastropub

208 SW 2nd St
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33301
954 525-7656
Overall Rating
2.7
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
08/29/2012

Details

Hours: Lunch and Dinner
Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Street Metered, Garage
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
Entree Prices: Moderate
Outdoor: Yes
Reservations: No
Delivery: No

Critic's Review

Rok:Brgr is the definition of a gimmick restaurant. Everything about it is fluff, from it's self-designation as a "Gastropub" to just about every menu item. Every time I look at their menu the price is up $1. It started out fairly reasonable, but now everything is pumped up with some sort of gimmick ingredient.

When they first opened, I wasn't a fan of what they were doing. The idea of mobilizing your buddies to vote for your business in reader polls and then using the phony award to justify higher prices isn't cool with me. They elevated their prices using the "Certified Angus Beef" program as some sort of proof that their food was superior; except that CAB is only marginally better program for steaks, and there is no evidence whatsoever that it's any better than supermarket beef with regards to ground beef. Even if it is "better", every restaurant in town is now serving CAB burgers, including Duffy's, so there's no reason to pay their prices.

The place itself is pretty small; when they first opened I thought it might be a good place to watch a game. They have a couple of good TVs at the bar. But it's also a bad place to watch a game when you can't get a seat. There are only a few seats and there were people just hanging out for the entire game. It's a pretty small place, and there's no reservations.

On my most recent visit I had the House Made Chili, which they describe as including "Aged Vermont Cheddar, roasted Jalapenos and sour cream".

The chili includes meat and beans; I'm surprised that they don't tell you what kind of beef it is. It was way too much cheese and sour cream for the portion of chili; the big problem with the chili was that it was way too salty, and it wasn't spicy at all, even with the jalapenos. Without the sour cream is was inedible. It was burned in a couple of places; Not terrible and one of the few things on the menu under $10. The online menu says that it's $8 but they only charged me $7, so I guess I made out.

Their big special is $10 burgers on Mondays; I think they've become so delusional about their pricing that they've lost site of what is considered a good deal on a hamburger. They don't quite get that no matter how many buzz words they throw at you, their food just isn't good enough to justify the prices they charge.

They even claim to have Kobe Meatloaf. Just how stupid are you?

Review 1/5/11

ROK:BRGR is the newest big thing in Fort Lauderdale, mostly due to owner Marc Falsetto's guerrilla marketing techniques. Their facebook page is a virtual Candyland of shills and pointers to shills, and it's certainly very easy to have unreasonably high expectations if you buy into it. They also do a bit of misdirection, calling their burgers "Certified Black Angus", which doesn't really tell you much. It's not Certified Angus Beef, which is the mother of Certified programs. It only tells you that you're eating the meat of animals that are at least 51% Black Angus; which could be a good thing but it doesn't tell you the cut or the grade of the beef.

As for the restaurant itself, they did a nice job making over the place with brick and black leather; the decor is far superior to that of its predecessors: Vicino's and Limoncello. They have very good TVs that can be viewed easily from anywhere in the bar.

They bill themselves as a burger/gastropub; a term that is so overused lately that it's become benign. The implication is that the food is higher than pub quality; whatever that means.

My first visit was on a Sunday, my cheat day, so I would be able to eat the bun and fries and have a few microbrews. But with Football on, there were no seats at the bar. Nobody was eating; most were just nursing a drink. But they weren't leaving either. I ordered up a Turbo Dog and went into observation mode, watching people eat, listening for Ohs and Ahs. One thing that I noticed was that I was the only one drinking anything other than Corona, Coors Light or Miller Lite. Ah, Fort Lauderdale. You can't put lipstick on a pig I guess.

I saw 2 girls lifting up the buns and making some faces, and then they ended up taking home half of whatever it is they had. I'm not sure what the issue was; but it certainly wasn't euphoria.

Someone came in at 5:30 announcing that they had a 5:30 reservation for 12 which seemed to surprise the management; they certainly hadn't been reserving any spaces for a large party. So you might not expect your reservations here to do much more than put you at the front of the line.

I had another appointment so I wasn't going to be able to eat here that day, so I polished off my Abita and hit the road.

I ended up going back for lunch. From 11:30-3pm they have a lunch special where you can get either a Classic burger or a Rok Burger with fries and a soft drink for $9. Considering the burger was $9 by itself it's sort of a no-brainer. I didn't want the Rok burger so I ordered a classic burger medium rare with an iced tea. It took about 15 minutes to get the food.

It's a good size burger; 10oz and a big bun also. While my server was friendly enough, I had to ask for sugar for the iced tea as well as salt and pepper shakers. Once I was all set up, I took a couple of bites of the whole thing and tried a couple of fries. It was a pretty intimidating sandwich; with the big bun and the big burger and the layer of pickle; pretty good but I wanted to taste the meat. Time to dissect this boy; I'm not supposed to eat the bun anyway.

Eating just the burger with the melted cheese I could tell this was a real nice piece of meat. It had a nice chargrilled taste, it was tender without being greasy, and I encountered no gristle or bone fragments. The tomato wasn't a very nice slice with a big round of core in the middle, and the bun was really too much. I probably would order a Brioche bun if I wasn't cheaping out on the special. The fries LOOKED really good, but they were just ok. They weren't particularly crispy; the brownish color didn't translate to the crunch I expected. I liked the pickles; and they certainly didn't skimp on the cheese. The portion was substantial for the price.

As for ambience, I have to remove a star given the rap music playing. Don't come in here expecting to watch CNBC or the news and listen to cool jazz. This place is run by young people.

Given that the only other place I can get a Turbo dog in town is at Shuck N Dive, I'd have to say this is pretty good place to start a night at the bars. I'm not sure I'd come to watch football again as seating is limited. If you just happen to be in the mood for a burger; they have a lot of choices here at fair prices.

Comment Policy Add Comment
JoelNYC
Reply
Dopes in so-called good neighborhoods overpay for bad food as well.
Administrator
Reply
They do, but the rent is higher. Is this over your head?
FLLKevin
Reply
They closed "for renovation" a couple of months ago. Now giant for rent signs on the place. Other locations also closed, JEY gig appears to be ending. This place was terrible towards the end. But sadly leaves barely any food options in that area.
Administrator
Reply
I think they're moving away from the high rent district; they've found that the dopes in bad neighborhoods are dumb enough to pay $14 for a sandwich so why open where the rent is cheaper?
Carly
Reply
This week only: featuring shaved truffled truffles on a shaved truffle bun.
Administrator
Reply
Hand-crafted

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