The Rum House so effectively pulls off its tropical theme that my older daughter calls it “the beach.”
With rope swings, indoor-outdoor seating, boat seats for barstools and plenty of Bob Marley, you can excuse her for thinking we were in a more nautical locale than nestled in between strip malls on Perkins Road near Essen Lane.
The Capitol City location of the New Orleans-based Caribbean taqueria is plenty popular, as the lack of parking at a Saturday lunchtime showed. Those surrounding strip malls, as it turns out, are more than a little peeved, and have erected a variety of challenges to incoming Rum House clientele. Remember to mind the signage when you park.
For someone who hasn’t had a vacation yet this year, and who just navigated the mildly stressful parking obstacle course outside, the Rum House’s not-a-care vibe inside was most welcome.
We started with the Damn Good Nachos ($10.95), a heaping helping of crisp tortilla chips topped with a little bit of everything, including tender pulled pork, jalapenos, cilantro, black beans and a lime cream that cut through the melted cheese with a refreshing jolt of citrus acidity. It could easily make a lunch shared with an office pal or two on a weekday, and fed our family of four with plenty to spare.
For the main courses, we went with the obvious, tacos, and the not-so-obvious, a marinated brisket salad. The salad ($12.95) featured a pile of succulent brisket marinated in chimichurri and capers that sidled up to a pile of crisp greens doused in a light blue cheese dressing, and also came with crisp grilled onions, pearl red onions and fresh, juicy grape tomatoes. The deconstructed nature of this salad was the perfect presentation, allowing the diner to cut the fatty deliciousness of the meat with the salad greens, pearl red onions or to complement it with the crisp strings of roasted shallots.
A pair of two-bite tacos and two sides came with the Two Dat combo ($10.95). We recommend the fried oyster taco, which consisted of a plump pair of crispy oysters, tangy caper relish and a spicy remoulade for bite in a soft, warm corn tortilla. The Creole rib is also a winner, as is the savory pork molé. For sides, don’t miss the creamy roasted poblano and manchego polenta.
The only drawback to the Rum House’s laid-back atmosphere is that the service tends to be a little bit on island time. Leave your schedule open, grab a drink, and sit back and enjoy.