Saturday, August 16, 2014

Rum Runner's Saloon

Sometimes buildings are built quickly.  Sometimes buildings are built slowly.  And sometimes things are built at a glacial pace, like Rum Runner's Saloon on Babcock Boulevard.  The offshoot of the North Park Lounge Empire seemed to take forevvvverrrrr to renovate the old Sunseri's restaurant on Babcock Boulevard.  They did add a second floor to it, but it's hard to believe that this wasn't some significant, unforeseen problem, because this place took a long time to open.

In July, it did.  Was it worth it?

At this point, you know what you're going to get with a North Park restaurant.  Solid food, big portions, lot of TV's to give you sensory overload.  By and large, Rum Runner's is cut from the same cloth.

The interior goes with the rum barrel theme, with the one wall having a series of deconstructed barrels.  It would have been very easy to run with a pirate theme or a beachy theme, but Rum Runner's showed restraint.  The main dining is small, with a series of TV's all tuned to some sporting event, but tasteful.  There's cut stone around the fireplace.  The remaining part of the main room is kind of plain, but maybe it's just that we were expecting clutter and were pleasantly surprised.

The menu is also restrained.  There are a limited number of sandwiches, salads, and dinners, but it looks like they're concentrating on doing a core number of dishes very well.  There's some creativity in the ingredients and dishes that doesn't exist at the other North Park restaurants.

There's a little bit of a New Orleans theme, as there's a Shrimp Po' Boy and some BBQ Grilled Shrimp on the menu.  Is this a nod to pirates that used to frequent New Orleans like Lafitte?  Not sure, because it's never spelled out explicitly.

For dinner, I went with the Grilled Chicken Wrap on the strength of the menu's ingredient description.  There was a Granny Smith apple slaw and bacon jam on the wrap -- not your typical lettuce, tomato, cheese, chicken wrap.

The bacon jam was the star here.  It gave it some smoky flavor to go with the sweetness of the base jam.  Rum Runner's also makes a good, crispy group of fries.

DB~ went with an appetizer of Fish Tacos, after we heard that the appetizers are all big enough for a lunch portion or a small dinner portion.  Three large tacos came out stuffed solid with a breaded cod fish covered in a corn salsa with a roasted pepper sauce, a hint of cilantro, and some cabbage slaw.  Those are ingredients you won't find at the original North Park or the North Park Clubhouse.

I was impressed by the grill marks on the tortillas, but they were still soft and pliable.  We both agreed that it was a huge appetizer, as she could only eat two of them (and a handful of my fries).  I ate the third one, of course.

For an appetizer, we would have gone with three smaller shells for perhaps $7.99.  Or two of the large tacos plus a handful of nacho chips for $8.99, rather than the current $9.99.

The upstairs was completely open with all the large windows, so perhaps we should have sat up there to check out that scene.  Maybe next time.  And there will be a next time -- Rum Runner's is a solid place to get a solid meal when you don't feel like cooking that night.


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