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“Great neighborhood bar with wide range of food options”
Review of Rocket to Venus

Rocket to Venus
Ranked #349 of 2,419 Restaurants in Baltimore
Price range: USD 7 - USD 20
Cuisines: American, Pub, Fusion
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed 1 February 2017

Rocket to Venus is a good place to come for a drink with food. The menu has some pretty diverse options -- it goes way beyond burgers to include some international foods and has options for vegetarians, plus excellent pies for dessert. Prices are low, portions are substantial, the food is pretty good, and service is friendly. The place is unpretentious, but it has a lot of nicely spaced tables, including some outdoor tables for use in warmer weather.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Wanderlust777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 64 reviews

Reviewed 29 December 2016 via mobile

Fried dill pickles were a hit. Mussels were about perfect, and both the wine-and-garlic and the green curry versions were worth going out of one's way, and more than worth going back for seconds. Forest mushroom risotto was quite rich but still delicious. Beer selection left nothing to be desired. Service was personable and attentive.

Thank ct3inmd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 December 2016

Rocket to Venus.

I walked in from the cold December night to find a warm place full of noise and people. Right from the start, Rocket to Venus was full of energy and life. I was hungry and had great hopes. As is my custom, I shall provide a summary, bullet list of pros & cons and then a more detailed description.

SUMMARY: 
Vibrant, lively hangout with delicious food, knowledgeable serving staff and pleasant decor. I felt very comfortable there. I also ate and drank well. They don’t take reservations so assume that if it’s a popular hour, they’ll be packed. This is a place where people want to be. The vibrancy of Rocket to Venus (R2V) means it is VERY NOISY. As such, it was difficult to talk to my friends. Also, it was very busy and that might be why our food was delivered a bit too late to be hot. Despite the bumps, I would definitely visit again and I would recommend with caveats (listed below).

PROS:
Delicious food made from smartly cooking simple ingredients
Staff that knows drinks, has an eye for the thirsty and made us feel very welcome
Energetic venue without being frenetic
Lots of floor space around the bar to stand around and chat
Well laid-out booths for cozy dining.

CONS:
Noisy: Reflective ceiling and open plan makes the venue very noisy when there is more than 8 patrons in the place.
Service plan leaves one (one? why one?) table served by bar vs. wait staff. Patrons at that table might be forgotten when the bar is mobbed.

DETAILS:
My gang & I had spent a frigid hour viewing holiday lights nearby and had planned to visit R2V on a recommendation from another friend. As we walked in, we were immediately aware of two things: the place was packed (8pm on a Friday night in December) and we were welcome. There was room inside the door for us to stand around and warm up and the staff (who, at first, we thought were patrons) took our name and immediately directed us to the bar to warm up further.
Having a bit of time (we waited about 7-12 minutes) drinks were ordered, special requests were made and everything was understood and delivered by the bar staff without a hitch even though it was over the shoulders of patrons 3-deep at the very noisy bar. Kudos to those booze-slingers.

Tables were not freeing up as quickly as we had hoped (likely due to the warm atmosphere inside and the very cold weather outside) but a staff member alerted us that a high table in the back was free. He told us that there was no wait staff assigned to that table and we’d have to order from the bar. Once we determined that we could get the full menu (we were all hungry), we agreed.
Seated, ordered, drinks, all seemed to go well. After about 20-30 minutes, we began to worry about our food. I had ordered a dinner and my companions had ordered a collection of small bites as a variegated shared meal. However, we waited.

Finally, one of us got up, found the young man at the bar from whom we had ordered and asked him about it. He ran off to the kitchen and quickly returned with our food. Right away, it was clear that our food had been prepared and then sat, unclaimed, because my entree and sides were just warmer than cold and the fried samosas weren't as dangerously hot as they would have been if they had gone from fryer to plate to table. In retrospect, I think our biggest complaint was due to the fact we were sitting at the only table that was served by the busy bar staff versus the dedicated serving staff.

Even so, the food was EXCELLENT! Perhaps it was because we were cold and hungry. Perhaps it was because the food was intelligently planned and artfully prepared. I can’t say. All I can report is that the food was delicious, regardless of its temperature.

FOOD: 
Pork Tenderloin with Whipped Potatoes, Mint Chutney, Grilled Radicchio & Pan Gravy: An excellent blend of flavor that was put a bit off by the mint chutney. Of course, the tenderloin with the potatoes and gravy will satisfy any of the (non-muslim, non-kosher) meat-and-potato fans, they were made with such delicacy and simplicity that they were worth the wait. I’m not sure how to express my opinion of the mint chutney other than to say it was a sweetness that was unexpected with the dish. Despite the chutney, I salute the chef and would eat it again, without hesitation.

Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction & Olive Oil: I’ve always hated brussels sprouts. My mother forced them on me because my brothers (who, to this day, I still think are aliens) loved them. It wasn't until I was in my late 30s, visiting one of my alien brothers that he made brussels sprouts that were savory, rich and warmly delicious. Mind you, this experience did not sell me on brussels sprouts as a viable food source. I remained skeptical of any sprout that did not issue forth from my brother’s Calphalon pan. I don’t know who owned the pan that issued these sprouts or even if it was Calphalon but these brussels sprouts from R2V have gone a long way to renew my faith in them as a source of culinary pleasure. Would recommend. Would definitely eat again.

Mac & Cheese with Fried Chicken Strips (add-on). Ok, ok. 3-cheese mac & cheese is hard to mess up. It’s a cheesy, carb-y standard of deliciousness. It’s also something I’ve grown tired of. It seems that everyone is trying to prove themselves in North America by re-inventing the standard comfort food. R2Vs formula is to do this: make a solid, delicious 3-cheese mac & cheese dish and then add the most perfectly fried chicken tenders ever imagined. By themselves, the chicken tenders may not have been award worthy, nor would the mac & cheese but together, TOGETHER? (By our powers combined!). Amazing! Crispy breading and cheesy sauce. Rich, tender chicken and pliant but firm pasta. As a reviewer, I have no words. Order it. Eat it. Celebrate.

Root Vegetable Samosas: I can’t rate these because my companions refused to share them. (they were that good, I suppose) .

SUMMARY:
Rocket to Venus in Baltimore: Go there. Eat there. Drink there. Meet your friends there. This is the kind of restaurant, hangout and neighborhood bar that will convince you to abandon your suburban dreams and buy a house in a city like Baltimore just so you can make it your local pub.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Michael C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2016 via mobile

Brunch was memorable. The place is kitschy but friendly and attracts locals and others for the excellent food and well priced quality drinks. You aren't rushed and service is pleasant. The grilled cheese with tomato bisque was a unique take on the classic. The Caesar salad should not be missed. And the burger aficionado was most pleased with the blue cheese on brioche bun. Can't wait to go back....

Thank ggl12618
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 October 2016

First--the food was very good and so was the service. The mushrooms and grits (or was it called polenta--I can't remember) was delicious.

Thank Carrie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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