P.I.C's Cafe Rock & Roll - All Day Dining Features Fresh Specialties
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
It's always time to eat at Cafe Rock & Roll, located on the Lower Lobby Level of the Pacific Islands Club. Open 24 hours, you can find a variety of cuisine styles and favorite dishes depending on your dining time. The All Day Dining Menu is served from 11 a.m. - 2 a.m., and features appetizers such as Breaded Calamari Rings and Black Pepper Wings; soups and salads; sandwiches and burgers (The Cafe Burger is a signature dish), pastas, specialties (Chamorro Grilled Steak, Grilled Tasmanian Salmon, and Chicken Curry), a selection of pizzas, and desserts.
From 2 a.m. - 5:30 a.m. a selection of cold food sandwiches are offered, and from 5:30 a.m. - 11 a.m. breakfast is served, featuring an American-style menu. To satisfy a universal craving for Italian cuisine, Cafe Rock & Roll "Goes Italian" every night from 6 p.m. - 10 p.m., creating a modest menu consisting of popular entrees, such as Spaghetti Bolognese ($14.00), Pasta Primavera ($13.00) and Grilled Salmon Tapenade ($18.00). These entrees are served with an Italian Salad, Garlic Pizza Bread, and a half bottle of Red Wine for 2 adults. Children's Selections of Spaghetti Bolognese or Cheese Pizza are available for $7.95, and are served with soda and ice cream. Some of these entrees are displayed just outside the entrance of the restaurant to give prospective diners a visual taste of their specialties.
The Cafe Rock & Roll evolved from the Pop & Rock Cafe (later becoming the Rock'n Roll Cafe) which was an authentic 50's style diner and coffee shop, known for its fountain desserts, great burgers, sandwiches, and snacks. If memory serves, they even had what seemed to be mini-jukeboxes on the tables. The present day restaurant is more contemporary, with six video monitors showing several television channels, and the seating is austerely modern, yet comfortable. One smart feature is that a paper sheet covers each table, which makes for easy clean-up.
We arrived for dinner and decided to order from the All Day Dining Menu. We selected the Black Pepper Wings appetizer for $7.25, a Mediterranean Salad for $9.95, The Cafe Burger ($7.75), and the Chicken Curry ($10.95). We also thought we'd try a Chocolate Rock & Roll Milkshake ($3.75). Our server, Francis, was quite attentive and started us off with a large bottle of Hawaii Water. The Black Pepper Wings were aromatic and spicy, as they are cooked in Vietnamese Caramel and Sriracha Hot Sauce. They were fried crispy and then coated with the sauce. They went pretty fast after we'd started them, and we wished there were more.
The Mediterranean Salad was a refreshing treat, and it had mixed lettuces, Pepperoni, Salami, Bell Pepper, Feta Cheese, and shredded Monterey Jack Cheese, all doused with a Greek Vinaigrette. This was a large serving and we shared it using small side plates. The vegetables were fresh and crisp. The Cafe Burger was greatly anticipated, and when it was first delivered I delighted in the char-broiled aroma of the Black Angus beef patties. Francis explained that they usually have one large 1/2 pound patty, but that it was not available from their supplier, so they used two 1/4 lb. patties. The bun was fresh-baked with a nice texture designed to hold the ingredients. I asked for Swiss Cheese, and it melted thickly atop the beef. I added onion, tomatoes, and lettuce, as well as a little mustard and catsup. The burger was huge, and I still remember taking my first bite. It was truly a great burger...one which I consider among the top burgers served on Guam. A Colossal Hot Dog is also on the menu, and my companion said she'd have that on her next visit. All sandwiches (they also have Teriyaki Steak, Marinated Mahi Mahi, and a Thai Chicken Sandwich) come with a pile of fries and a small ramekin of home-style coleslaw. This creamy slaw is very good, has a fresh-made taste and consistency, and is stocked with carrots and raisins.
The Chicken Curry entree my companion ordered was served in a large bowl. The steamed white rice mound was large, its size matching the lake of curry sauce surrounding it. Big chunks of tender chicken, potatoes, and carrots were in the blend, along with some Japanese pickled onions. The dish is described as a sweet curry, which is quite popular in Japan. It is a mild, but flavorful curry that does not overwhelm the palate. The portion could easily be divided into three servings, more than justifying the $10.95 price.
The Chocolate Milkshake was a little smaller than I remembered, and was made with a scoop of Haagen-Daaz blended with milk. The presentation was appealing, with whipped cream and a cherry, served in a 16 oz. squall glass used for tropical drinks. If you like thick shakes, you'd be disappointed, since it seemed to have more milk than ice cream. The rich chocolate flavor prevailed. Imagine what a treat it would be if they used two scoops! On my next visit, I will try a Rootbeer Float made with Barq's Root Beer and vanilla ice cream.
Other dessert items include an ice cream sundae, banana split (I've had this before and they did a terrific job), as well as the Chef's selection of pastries, cookies, pies, and cakes that are showcased in the refrigerated display case near the entrance.
The Kid's Menu has a Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Hot Dog, Chicken Wings, and a Cheese Pizza, with prices ranging from $6.50 - $8.75, with soda included on all and fries added on everything but the pizza, which has ice cream.
As with most hotel menus, there is a 10% service charge. Although the Cafe Rock & Roll's menu items have "hotel prices", usually considered higher than similar items outside, the portions of some of the items were larger than expected. People tend to forget that when you are in a hotel, you are paying for the "experience", so you are looking for the price/value equation. The PIC's food and beverage quality standards have always been high, and this is reflected in all of their outlets.
Cafe Rock & Roll is a casual and comfortable eatery that appeals to diverse tastes, from American classics to European and Asian fare. The ambiance is light, modern, cool and clean, with food and fun as the main theme.