Rocco’s: regretfully mediocre

Daniel Klepp '20, Staff Writer

Photos by Daniel Klepp

Rocco’s Italian Deli is a New-York corner style deli with a modern twist which opened in June, specializing in sandwiches and salads.  Once walking in, you can tell that it is more focused on the modern aspect than the retro. A place like Zingermann’s feels much more like a new-age classic style deli than Rocco’s.

Walking in, there is an immediate minimalist hipster vibe, which somewhat draws from the classic deli style, but nonetheless, it’s aesthetically pleasing. The environment was inviting due to good music and a staff that looked like they were having fun.

However, Rocco’s seemed to confuse looking good with tasting good.  While Rocco’s strength lies in its incredible bread, sourced from Michigan Bread, it is significantly lacking in most other categories, including meat quality and other toppings.  They seem to focus too much on style before actually establishing themselves as a place that serves a quality meal.

The first sandwich I tried, “Zio Freddo’s Got Serious Beef” was mediocre at best. It was essentially barbacoa on a baguette.  While the meat had a good mix of spice and smoky undertones, it is not unlike anything that I’ve ever had at home, or anywhere else, certainly not worth a decently steep $11. Though it is still difficult to ignore the intense quality of the bread, which shines through in the sandwich.

The next sandwich, “A Love Letter to the Corner Deli”, while I had high expectations for it given the name, was a hot mess.  The sandwich had all the makings of excellence, but the execution was not up to par. All of the ingredients, the salami, capicola, mortadella, provolone, tomato, shredded lettuce, onion and house vinaigrette were of the utmost quality, but were just not put together that well. The vinaigrette was pungently overpowering and it was hard to taste anything else with the vinaigrette filling the mouth and nostrils.

Finally, “The Breast Chicken Parm” was completely bromidic. I’ve never had a chicken parm sandwich that I’ve ever wanted to come back to, as they often are hodgepodges that don’t mesh that well, and this one is no different.  The marinara sauce makes the bread too soft, pretty much destroying the only would-be highlight of the sandwich. The chicken is too chewy to really enjoy, and the strength of the sauce the flavor of the parmesan, it tastes like a tomato sauce sandwich.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with Rocco’s Italian Deli, while I think it has a lot of to be great, it simply did not deliver on the fundamentals of what makes a good sandwich. I do cut it some slack because it is still relatively new and growing.  The sandwiches are simply too expensive for what they bring to the table. I would give it a 2.5/5.