Venture Kitchen and Bar Brings Big City Fare To Small Town Appetites
Every once in a while, your life takes a turn and you discover something that shifts your view on something. For as long as I can remember, my experience with restaurants and bars from my hometown has always been hit or miss and the hits we seen through rose colored glasses. Experiencing “big city living” and traveling the country has familiarized my palate with a vast array of culinary attempts and successes, so coming back home and finding new venues popping up is a welcomed adventure. Venture Kitchen & Bar has surprised me the most out of any of the recent spots I’ve tried over the past year or so in the Mid-Atlantic region, so it was only right that I obliged when they reached out via social media. More after the jump!
Venture is a tapas lounge and bar that specializes in risky fare and experimental preparation. You shouldn’t come expecting to “grab a burger” or stick to your guns and get the same old same old. Chef Sam Garrity and the rest of the kitchen staff (headed by John Person) have adopted the mission of getting the most out of cheap cuts of meat to offer a homestyle, worldly cuisine that is both inventive and envelope-pushing without the hefty price tag. Take a look at some of the dishes prepped for us and be sure to stop by if you’re ever in the area. Ask for Sam and tell them You Gotta Eat This! sent you!
The smoked pork tacos were my favorite dish of the night and one of the signature dishes of Chef Sam Garrity. The pork was taken from a nose to tail session which gave a strong “down south bbq” style flavor that contrasted with the fresh, bright vegetables that topped it all off. Red onions are my favorite vegetable and I’d never tried them pickled before; that vinegar fueled kick to your taste buds perfectly offsets the deep, smooth smokiness of the pork.
Fusion cooking can be dangerous waters if you’re not careful to pair the proper ingredients with the necessary technique for that specific style. Egg rolls are the perfect candidate for fusion experimentation considering the identifying ingredient is simply a fried egg roll or wonton wrapper. Chef Garrity packed these with a nice assortment of lentils, admittedly not my favorite veggie, however the added crunch of the wrapper and the added saltiness of the seasoned lentils reminded me of the consistency of a giant steak fry. Epic.
Yes, those are corn dogs. No they aren’t state fair food. The batter on these was an almost tempura style flash fry that gave a crunch but was fluffy underneath similar to a belgian waffle. When combined with large, fresh shrimp and an interestingly sweet and tangy blackberry ketchup, I could eat these every effing day!
Seafood on pizza is a hot-button topic. Prosciutto and pineapple however are not. The texture and flavor that Chesapeake bay blue crab lends to the prosciutto and pineapple combination is too delicious not to try though. Don’t be timid, it’s not as odd as you’d think.
Venture also has an extensive bar selection filled with craft beer and liquors. They have an ever-changing cocktail menu created by an awesome bar staff with plenty of experience and the willingness to break from the norm.