Admittedly, one should not have high expectations when dining in Pahoa. It is a traditional Hawaiian town with much to offer. Fine dining is not one of its strong points nor should it be. That said, Black Rock Cafe disappoints even with the expectations bar set at the lowest notch. For perspective, our family of four had lunch at Ning's Thai Cuisine down the street from the Black Rock and had a wonderful meal. Black Rock, however, can't figure out what it wants to be. Steak, burgers, Italian pasta, Asian dishes and Hawaiian fare are all present on the menu.This should serve as a red flag warning for microwaved pre-frozen entrees which is what we clearly got amongst our orders of chicken katsu, French dip sandwich, shrimp scampi and beef teriyaki. The shrimp was clearly the pre-cooked, frozen type and thrown into the melange of light pink tomato chunks and pre-sliced button mushrooms in a pool of garlic butter beneath a mound of tough fettuccine pasta. The shrimp had the tails on and had the consistency of a pencil eraser. The fact that my two teenage boys left food on their plates (a very rare event) and did not ask to taste the ample portions my wife and I had left on ours is a strong sign that our string of excellent meals on the Big Island was just broken by unanimous decision. I would recommend Black Rock as a candidate for "Kitchen Nightmares". Chef Ramsey might be able to whip them into shape. Wine? Forget about it. We asked if there was a corkage fee for a wine we bought at the grocery store and the waitress said "we don't do that because we have a full service bar". There was a selection of four reds and the "French Pinot" we selected - one of the "premium" choices - was spritzy and undrinkable. Stick with beer if you go. Our waitress was pleasant enough but missing in action for the last half of the meal and I had to walk to the register to request the check and the cashier had to go on a scavenger hunt to find and then tally our bill. The most telling yet brief review was when we got back to our B&B after the meal and our hostess asked where we had dinner. When I told her she rolled her eyes and said "i would have never sent you there". Lesson learned: ask Before you go.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.