Checking out Copper Rock Craft Eatery
Over the weekend we had the opportunity to try out Copper Rock Craft Eatery, a new restaurant on the east side in the renovated DoubleTree by Hilton Tucson Reid Park. It quickly exceeded our expectations. Everything spoke to us, starting with the space and decor, all the way to cocktails and entrees. Needless to say, we are already planning our next visit.
Upon entering the restaurant, you’ll notice an enormous 2,950-pound copper rock that was purchased by the owner, Allan Norville and his late wife, Alfena. The two shared a lifelong interest in metals and minerals and helped shape the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in order for it to become the international phenomenon it’s known as today. They have a spacious dining area, bar, patio, and even a private dining area (corporate parties, family gatherings, you name it!) The space is filled with copper accents to create a rustic-modern style restaurant, which gives the southwestern vibe we all love here in Arizona!
The mastermind behind the delicious food is Chef Alan Lambert, who brings bold flavor to classic comfort food dishes. Copper Rock is all about modern American cuisine and each dish captures the local flavor while adding a delicious twist. All of the food was beautifully prepared and served, and just downright incredible. We were seriously wishing we had bigger stomaches so we could keep eating, but the food coma started to settle in. We loved that the dishes are locally sourced, and there are options for vegetarian and vegan entrees. You can check out their menu, here.
To get started, we tried out a few of the cocktails on the menu. They have a ton of options for cocktails, beer, and wine. We tried the Farmer’s Market Lemonade, which is crafted with Tito's Vodka, muddled cucumber, strawberries, agave nectar, and fresh lemon juice. Truthfully, I have steered away from drinks like these in the past because they’re often too syrupy or sweet, but this was a perfectly balanced cocktail. It was refreshing and light, definitely one of the favorites for us at the table! Next was the Cucumber-Jalapeno Margarita made with tequila, fresh lime juice, Grand Marnier. It was garnished with cucumber and jalapeños. I was also pleasantly surprised with this refreshing cocktail, as it had a slightly smoky taste to it, but not overpowering. We loved the presentation of this cocktail and the bar manager shared with us how they have reworked this cocktail many times to get it absolutely perfect for the grand opening! Lastly, we tried the Royal Gunfighter, which is made up of Canyon Diablo Mesquite Whiskey, pineapple juice, a splash of lemon juice and a pineapple slice garnish. This was another popular one at our table, and the fruity refreshment got us excited for summer!
Appetizers & Entrees
While sipping on our cocktails, we tried out a few appetizers. The chicken tenders were out of this world OK! I’ve tried my fair share of chicken tenders and these are top of the list. Copper Rock does a 3 day process to make these chicken tenders fresh from scratch, because they are breaded in house and fried to perfection. They’re paired with a variety of dipping sauce choices and yummy fries! These were one of our favorite appetizers across the board. The portobello fries were lightly breaded and deep-fried with black truffle, parmesan, chile flakes, and sriracha aioli. I love a good sriracha aioli, and it was a fun twist on portobello mushrooms. They were packed with flavor and the southwestern spin on this appetizer has me craving more! We also enjoyed some crab cakes, which are paired with quinoa, roasted corn, poblano, mixed greens, and lime aioli. Lime aioli really gives a lot of great flavors, and these were no exception.
Next, we tried the Copper Burrata Caprese. Honestly, this was one of my favorites. The peppery arugula tossed in olive oil, topped with pesto rubbed burrata cheese, thick sliced heirloom tomatoes, green goddess dressing, and balsamic reduction, was just splendid. Such a great combination. Often these salads are overdone with the balsamic or too many greens, but this was the perfect amount. The pesto and green goddess dressing added a ton of flavor while creating a filling, balanced salad. We also appreciated the temperature of the burrata. Truthfully if it’s too cold it’s difficult to enjoy, and if it’s too warm it may as well be queso, right? I hate to sound like goldilocks here, but this temperature was just right.
One of Aaron’s favorite dishes was the Chile Relleno, made with chihuahua cheese stuffed chile relleno, guajillo salsa, ranchero beans, corn and poblano pico de gallo. It was so colorful and almost too pretty to eat, but once we dove in we were amazed by the entree. If you like chile relleno, you have to try it from Copper Rock. This was definitely highly rated at the table, and had so much well balanced flavor.
We also tried some of their entrees, including Copper Rock’s Signature Filet Mignon, which simply melted on the tongue. Cooked to a perfect medium rare, this 8 oz grilled filet mignon was doused in a mushroom cognac cream sauce, and paired with creamy mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Of course, I had to try the Sockeye Salmon, because I've been loving salmon even more lately. It’s seared fresh with roasted corn and poblano risotto, saffron carrot purée, grilled asparagus, crispy leeks, and fennel citrus sauce. This was one of my favorites, and I’ll definitely be back for this. Another hit at the table was the Shrimp Stuffed Flounder, which was also paired with the corn and poblano risotto, grilled lemons, grilled calabacitas, and citrus beurre blanc. We all loved the corn and poblano risotto!
This was the never-ending table of food but somehow, we managed to save some room for dessert. If you’ve ever stayed at a DoubleTree, you know how good the cookies are, and they have a vanilla ice cream cookie sandwich with a chocolate shell that had us all drooling. It was by far one of the best desserts I’ve ever tried! We also indulged a little more with the fried ice cream that was another hit at our table. Clearly we were all screaming for ice cream!
Happy Hour Specials
Copper Rock is a great place for happy hour since it’s offered daily from 2-6PM. You can enjoy $4 drafts, well drinks, and house wines. Plus, $2 off the menu (excluding the daily Copper Combos). The daily Copper Combos are a major deal offered Monday-Friday, where you can try a Copper Rock favorite served with your choice of a draft pint of well cocktail. We tried the Tuesday special, which includes the fish tacos and it’s definitely a large meal. The two fish tacos are packed with beer-battered black cod, baja sauce, guacamole, pico de gallo, pickled red onion, and cabbage slaw in a flour tortilla.
Everything was so fresh, delicious, and unique. The unique element is really what drew us in. We will definitely be heading back to Copper Rock Craft Eatery in the near future, and enjoying some of their other dishes and drinks. Next time, I’m planning to order the Watermelon-Champagne Cocktail, Ciabatta Chicken, and the Smoked Rocker Ribs. We love this southwestern spin on classic comfort food dishes and are excited to frequent Copper Rock this year! Be sure to check out the menu, and stop by their grand opening this Thursday, January 16th.