May 29, 2009
You probably know Rum Bar as that classy lounge on 20th and Walnut. It’s true to its name Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it’s a bar first and foremost, with over 100 different kinds of rum, and an astoundingly creative list of cocktails. But don’t be fooled by the fact that the drink menu dwarfs the food menu; the Caribbean-inspired tapas and entrÃƒÂ©e offerings are so delicious and varied that although the list is short, it’s almost impossible to choose just a few of them.
I went in for dinner on a Thursday night, eager to try what I’d heard was their exciting re-vamped menu. Past the swanky bar the restaurant gets cozier, creating the perfect atmosphere for a date or for some low-key relaxing with friends.
After ordering a Summer Picnic Mojito (an amazing concoction made from cucumber-infused rum, fresh watermelon, basil, lime, and simple syrup Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I’ll never think of basil the same way again), I decided to start my meal with the chilled tomato and crab soup ($7), which was one of the best appetizers I’ve ever had. The huge chunks of crabmeat were succulent, the broth fresh and creamy, and the surprising flavor of Jamaican curry tied it all together, leaving a tingle on my tongue after every spoonful.
Next up was the Tropical Fruit Salad (combining lettuce with mango, strawberry, red onion, yellow peppers, and cilantro vinaigrette), which comes topped with your choice of jerk marinated chicken, grilled shrimp, or sliced filet tips. The flavors complement each other shockingly well, but if you’re a true steak lover, get those filet tips by themselves Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it’s almost a shame to adulterate them with anything other than the caramelized onions, cumin and coriander that make up the luscious sauce.
More, including delicious looking photos, after the jump!
Another stand-out entrÃƒÂ©e was the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes ($23), which have more crab meat in them than any others I’ve encountered. But the truly memorable bits of this dish were the sides: crispy salty yucca fries and a fabulous spicy pineapple dip to go with them (the waiter said the pineapple dip was supposed to act as a substitute for ketchup, but I’d gladly grab a spoon and eat a whole bowl of it!). All entrÃƒÂ©es are also accompanied by a piece of Rum Bar’s perfectly moist jalapeÃƒÂ±o cornbread.
I was so stuffed that I could barely touch dessert, which I didn’t really mind because rum cake has never really been my thing. But one bite quickly made it apparent that I’d been missing out Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the Chocolate Chip Rum Cake was warm and gooey, and so rich that just one bite was the perfect cap to the meal.
If you only think of Rum Bar for its drinks and not as a hot dining destination, it’s time to fix that. Stop in for dinner. I promise you’ll be glad you did.
2005 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103