Sunday, September 09, 2007

Rocket to Venus

Before I start, I want to tell my smarty pants friend Eric: yep, I finally got around to writing about dinner Thursday night. and yes, I still stand by my original assessment of it. Oh, and thanks again for the grub :)

Now then, we went on Thursday to Rocket to Venus. I'd never heard of this place before, and it's only about a year old so I may not have had the chance. I remarked to him that the place looks like Diner meets Doctor Who, all in gray.

A little bit about the service: it's pretty attentive. I've been to somewhat more expensive places than this where the service is about as good. And of course, the food is cheaper here.

Eric started off with a nice white wine while I got a Guinness, as usual. We perused the menu and I noticed something that he had mentioned to me before: the menu here is, well, eclectic. It's very difficult to describe otherwise. What we ordered is a pretty good cross section of what R2V offers (apart from the sides, a choice of quinoa, grits, buttermilk biscuits or spicy French fries). We ordered to excess, shared everything, and could hardly finish it:

  • fried pickles ($3) - not the standard pickle slices, but three whole spears of pickles with a dipping sauce. And piping hot.
  • House of Venus salad ($6) - a big salad of red leaf lettuce, watercress, craisins and a yummy vinaigrette.
  • pierogies ($5) - little Polish empanadas (the best way to describe 'em if you're not familiar) with onion, red pepper and Gouda.
  • cornmeal-fried oysters ($8) - self-explanatory, with a beurre blanc sauce.
  • tempura shrimp on a ball of sesame and black sesame-encrusted sushi rice (a special, not sure what it cost) - the rice was tastier than I thought it would be, what with two types of sesame seeds on the outside. It had dollops of chili, wasabi and some type of sauce (hoisin sauce?), arranged artistically on the plate.
  • "wimpies" ($7) - four 2-oz burgers with gummy, not-so-worthy fries (these fries were the only downside to our otherwise delicious meal)
Eric was treating me (again, thanks, man), so I have little clue what the cost of the meal was. I do know, however, that we each got one more drink and no dessert - because we were, again, very stuffed. Goodness this was a good place to eat! I am too much looking forward to my next visit.

Rocket To Venus on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Wow .. the last time I went there (and yes, it is really the LAST time) - the service was HORRIBLE. None of the tables had food. We were pretty much ignored. Dreadful. We walked out.

John said...

How weird! They were pretty attentive to us. Maybe it was just an off night. Sounds just like my one and only experience at the Grill Art Cafe, whose door I will NEVER darken again (plus their food was horrible). It baffles my mind, but they still seem to attract a crowd every weekend. I also got poor service the last time I went to Akbar, which is a fave in Mt. Vernon. My God, you really have to go out of your way to be rude to your customers in a serve-yourself-buffet type situation! But they did it! But I'll go into that some other day.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have no idea what was happening that night, but I'm not willing to try again. Glad your visit was better.

I had actually gone there one other time before that - had the wimpies and the food was great. But even that night, the service was only so-so. And I'm really not very demanding when it comes to service in restaurants ... It takes quite a bit to annoy me.

r k said...

I agree with anonymous - we had pretty bad service when we went there in April. Seriously, those Hampden hipsters have the worst attitudes - service was on par with Golden West (which is not saying much - I think the service there is atrocious).

The food, however, was pretty good. My boyfriend got the jerk chicken which he said was pretty good, and I got the veggie wimpies, which were missing one of the listed ingredients - I didn't bother trying to get it fixed because of aforementioned poor service.

Also, another gripe of mine was the fact that they put out plain old olive oil with the bread. Um, it's supposed to be extra virgin so that it's flavorful. They may as well have put out canola oil!

I like the vibe there - particularly the awesome jukebox -, but if their service continues to suck and their food doesn't shine next time, I'm not going back. The jukebox alone is not powerful enough a draw.

John said...

Hmmm, that is so weird! You are right about Hampden: it suffers from a serious case of attitude. I do concur bout the Golden West - not only is the service ridiculously lax (they won't even allow you to make substitutions), that laxness is actually their whole shtick! I haven't bothered to go back despite the food, which was good, because I don't usually feel like waiting around for an extra hour to complete my meal. In fact, that's what kept me from ordering that delicious looking cake they had there - I wasn't sure how much longer I'd have to wait for them to slice it and bring it over to me! I mean, I didn't want to spend the whole night there!

danielle said...

Weighing in as a Hampden resident, I haven't made it to Rocket to Venus, yet. I'll still give them a try. I'm not easily deterred. I eat at Golden West all the time. I must be lucky because I've had completely fine service there lately. There's one waitress at Cafe Hon who's awesome. She also works/worked? at the New Wyman Park Restaurant in lower Charles Village at 25th & Howard. She's def not a hipster. I forget her name, though. And while Frazier's doesn't have the loveliest ambiance for eating (drinking is fine), I've had decent service.

Hampden + hipster = "Hampster" :)

John said...

Danielle: Not been to Frazier's or NWP yet. I have to look them up.

Dan said...

Glad to hear your thoughts on Rocket to Venus. This and Golden West are high on our list of places to try. I'm willing to overlook the service if the food is decent.

Frazier's isn't bad... I had a burger there that was pretty decent. My biggest complaint, though, is that the whole place smells like smoke that's been there since the 1960s, so you come out smelling like an ashtray.

John said...

Dan: Yep, a lot of people speak highly of the food at Golden West. I have to be in a certain mood to deal with bad service. If I'm having a bad day or am in a hurry, forget it!

As for the smoke thing: I'm very much looking forward to February 2008.