Smithfield, Rhode Island; rolling rural lands, fall colors on the trees, spicy tangy buffalo wings. Wait, what? Yeah, I said it. One of Smithfield’s main attractions could be the infamous chicken wings from Rocco’s Pub & Grub. Located conveniently on Douglas Pike, Rocco’s serves not only the people of Smithfield, but customers from across the state (and beyond!) their heart warming, comfort dishes.
Where do I begin? How about their infamous chicken wings? When it comes to wings, it is all about the texture for me, and Rocco’s nails it. An even crisp on the skin, and juicy tender meat inside. It is easy to dry out the meat when working to get the outside nice and crispy, but Chef Alessia knows how to do it right. First baked, and then fried to order, wings come tossed in a selection of 50 sauces. Yes, 50! As in, each state in the USA could pick a flavor and have a wing party! Hey, not a bad idea. With that many flavors, I hope you are a great decision maker. I however, am not. But lucky for me, I had the wing professionals at Rocco’s help me select some of their favorite flavors which I am now sharing with you!
We love trying funky wing sauce combos, and if you do too, you’ll love these! The Bobby Masello is a combination of Thai chili sauce mixed with “Rocco’s juice”, but shh, its a secret recipe! The Dragons Blood, a spicy/sweet mix of buffalo, barbecue, and teriyaki was the perfect balance of heat and sweet. The Dusty Baker whisks up Rocco’s Juice and Buffalo for some hott tang, along with Liquid Gold, a mix of honey mustard, bbq sauce and buffalo. Chef Alessia gave her recommendation with the Pacific Rim, Thai chili and teriyaki, so if you love sweet sticky wings, there guys are for you! And finally my favorite, the Bacon Buffalo! Packing some nice heat, just enough to make your mouth burn but tame enough to keep you come back, these wings are tossed in traditional buff sauce AND chopped bacon. Like, dang! With meat on top of meat, it is a home run! Now that you’re hungry and craving all of this saucyness, mark your calendar for every Thursday until further notice, because it’s wing night at Rocco’s! Yep, forty five cent wing every Thursday. You know where to find me!
Whenever I go out to eat, I always ask the server what their favorite things on the menu are. They are around the food all the time, probably get to eat it a lot, and lets them be honest! Well, I asked Chef Alessia what her favorite was, which is an even better perspective! She gets to cook the food and eat it, so I know she would give me something good. Her recommendation was the fried cheese. Go ahead and get the thought of boxed mozzarella sticks out of your mind. These triangular shaped crisp babies were sent from the fried foods heavens. It makes a significant difference when you’re using house made, hand formed mozzarella cheese, so it is fresh. Panko crusted and fried, they’re begging for a cheese pull. Whenever I go out to eat, I always ask the server what their favorite things on the menu are. They are around the food all the time, probably get to eat it a lot, and lets them be honest! Well, I asked Chef Alessia what her favorite was, which is an even better perspective! She gets to cook the food and eat it, so I know she would give me something good. Her recommendation was the fried cheese. Go ahead and get the thought of boxed mozzarella sticks out of your mind. These triangular shaped crisp babies were sent from the fried foods heavens. It makes a significant difference when you’re using house made, hand formed mozzarella cheese, so it is fresh. Panko crusted and fried, they’re begging for a cheese pull.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it is only right to run a holiday special. Rocco’s plumped up an egg roll with fresh shredded turkey, stuffing, and gravy, fried it, dusted it with cinnamon sugar, and served it with a smear of honey mustard cranberry sauce. I am going to be transparent here; if I had to pick ONE thing to be my favorite of this over the top meal, this would be it. This Thanksgiving eggroll really did it for me. The inner workings were savory and tender, while the outside added a hint of sweet. Finish it off with a dip of tangy from the sauce, and kiss me goodnight! My goodness, I could skip the whole dinner, and just eat this Thanksgiving egg roll.
To our surprise, Rocco’s let us not only build our own burger, but they added it to their menu! That’s right, the Buns and Bites Burger is on the menu at Rocco’s, and we are so excited yall! I bet you’re wondering what we made, huh? Well, we started with Rocco’s eight ounce hand formed patty, melted cheddar cheese, carmelized onions, ground chorizo, chipotle aoli, and of course, topped off with a fried egg. All piled up between two buttery buns. Being Portuguese, I just couldn’t say no to chorizo and a fried egg, they seem to enhance anything they’re added to! And in this case, the burger leveled up. The carmelized onions added almost a buttery component, and the chorizo was juicy and so savory. All of those brought together with the smokey tang of the chipotle aoli. In case you were wondering, this is my dream burger.
So we have covered burgers, wings, and fried cheese. What are we missing? Oh, yes! Pizza! The most important carb of all. Rocco’s does flatbreads in a fun, creative way. We went the the corn pizza. Yes, I said corn! This was my first time having corn as a pizza topping, and I am not mad at it! As a matter of fact, it totally added a pop of sweet here and there! They start off with a garlic rubbed flatbread. Just imagine a pizza crust getting a massage but instead of essential oils, its creamy delicious garlic. And if you thought plain ol’ regular cheese was going on this pizza, think again. Corn is steeped in the creamy cheese sauce for that hearty flavor, and then topped with a sprinkling of corn kernels, caramelized onions, a dash of crushed red pepper and finally finished with a drizzle of honey. Wow-wee! This pizza is a creamy, cheese, sweet and savory creation.
As if this wasn’t enough food, Chef Alessia surprised me with dessert. It is almost like she knew I had a major sweet tooth! In all honesty, my favorite dessert in the world is anything that is warmed up and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. So you can imagine my delight when I laid eyes on sundae served in a massive goblet overflowing with warm, house made cookies and fudgy brownies, chilly scoops of vanilla gelato and a heaping tower of fresh whipped cream. Not the stuff that comes out of the canister, no never that. This is house made by Chef herself. Of, did I forget to mention the hot fudge? Ya, that’s in the mix too. I always so that no matter how full I am (and trust me, after wings, pizza and burgers, I was stuffed) I always have a little room for something sweet.
At this point, it goes without saying that we left Rocco's with more than full bellies. Every dish evoked eye rolling "mmm's" and "uhhhhs"! It is easy to be really good at one thing, but to master a variety of dishes across the board means you've got talent! And that, is certainly what I am looking for when I go out to eat!
A special thanks to Rocco, Chef Alessia, Bryan, and the rest of the Rocco's staff. Yall are such great people, so welcoming, and so so good at serving bomb food! We cant wait to come back and visit for wing night soon!