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Bites Nearby: Rockne's

Vast menu gives diners lots of choices. Most are pretty good.

, with locations in North Canton, Akron and surrounding communities, has been a popular destination for years. 

It features a wide-ranging menu with popular salads ($4.49-$9.49) and sandwiches ($5.99-$7.99), soups ($4.29 or $5.29), pub specials ($7.99-$8.99), appetizers to share ($399-$9.95), jumbo burgers ($5.89-$7.69) and plenty more. 

On a recent visit to the Cuyahoga Falls Rockne's at 1203 Bailey Road, a 6-ounce New York strip steak caught my eye. I've enjoyed several sandwiches and the legendary Firestone salad, but the day seemed to call out for something sizzling off the grill. Yes, a nice steak, but not too big.  

I ordered the steak medium-rare. The platter is $12.95. It comes with a choice of side potatoes and soup or salad. I went with the Yukon potatoes with gravy and the cheesy ham and potato soup. 

The soup was indeed cheesy, and rather salty with a generous sprinkling of bacon, which probably contributed to the saltiness. It's a hearty, thick and flavorful soup. Pieces of pita bread served as handy scoops for the cheesy ham and potato soup.

Shortly the steak and mashed potatoes arrived, and the steak appeared to be cooked to order: medium-rare, with a little moo still left in it but not enough to get up and join the stampede.

But something was missing: there was no sizzle. The steak wasn't hot – it was only warmish, as if it had been sitting around for a few minutes waiting for the sides or something. It left me wishing I had chosen a tasty gyro or fajita wrap, or that Firestone salad. 

To be fair, I've had plenty of good meals at Rockne's, and sometimes kitchens have off days or even just one dish that's not quite up to par. But then again, maybe leaving steaks to the steakhouses might be a better plan. 

The potatoes were warm (hotter than the steak) and flavorful with just enough lumpiness to assure that they weren't made from powder, and an ample slathering of dark gravy accompanied them. 

One so-so experience won't make me shun Rockne's, but in the future I'll probably stick to the stuff I know it does well. And there are plenty of choices.  

 

Other local Rockne's:

, 1203 Bailey Rd., Cuyahoga Falls, 330-922-3663. 

Rockne's Stow, 4240 Hudson Dr. (Steels Corners), Stow, 330-922-9960 

Rockne's Fairlawn, 2914 W. Market St., Fairlawn, 330-836-7662

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