When you have to use a lighter to be able to read the menu, then you know that the place is too dark... That's what happened last night at Rocket to Venus, the newest addition to the Hampden eating scene. Someone was bound to yell "Freebird" at any second with the number of lighters lit at our table! I grew up in Roland Park, and I would never have thought that Hampden would become the trendiest part of the city! Saying that, I did witness a fight between two of the original locals when I was walking from my car to the restaurant.
R2V is a complete redo of the old Showalters that stood on the corner of 34th and Chestnut for many years. The menu features some interesting items, including deep-fried pickles and baby brussels sprouts in balsamic vinaigrette. Our group of five had burgers, gumbo, salad and a po'boy. All of the food was good, but there was way too much of it, and the only person who ate everything was the one who got the gumbo.
We had a couple of bottles of a Chilean red wine and I had a split of champagne. The service was good and friendly and the place is interestingly decorated with a lot of booths and small tables. There's a tile floor and acoustic tiles on the ceiling, so it's not hugely noisy, but if they'd had music, it would have been. R2V also has a small patio out front, so you can watch the neighbours fight!
As I said in the opening line, the place was too dim to even see your menu, so I didn't take any pix, because I didn't want to use my flash. The place was full of goth-chicks and boys, so our group of 40-somethings not entirely in black stood out.