Defining “R” at R&R Bar and Grill
Setting the Table
Turning the former Angelo’s Steak and Pasta (Angelo’s moved two blocks south) into a large bar was a fine idea, but what kind of rest and/or relaxation you’ll get depends on the time of day you visit.
Angelo Antonucci of the steak and Italian restaurant is still a partner in this months-old business, R&R Bar & Grill, along with Bill Mattress. The layout has changed: To the right of the front door there’s still that big dining room with booths along the right-hand wall, but now there’s a big communal table down the middle of the room with a big bandstand to the left. That room also has darts, a foosball table and a ping-pong table.
The bar is still in the middle of the restaurant, but it’s no longer enclosed and has more seats. Beside the bar is another spot for a live musician to perform, and when we visited at 6:30 on a Thursday night a female was playing guitar and singing, and the speakers were turned up extremely loud.
To the left of the entrance, close to the bar, are several pool tables and more seats.
The music sounded fine, but it was so loud we would have had to shout to hear each other, so we turned right into the big room. About 50 people from the same subdivision were in there having a big happy noisy get-together, but we found an open booth, and a server and Bill Mattress came over right away to greet us.
Down the Hatch
We thought the food was exceptional. General manager Ross Boettner developed a menu full of crowd-pleasing standards and unique recipes that are well executed by his staff. As pool shooters, we like the billiards references on the menu.
Most of the appetizers, under the heading “Cue It Up” ($5-$10), were discounted by 25 percent since we arrived during happy hour, which is daily from 4-8 p.m. There are Wings (mild, hot, barbecue, teriyaki, habanero, Thai peanut and garlic Parmesan), Fried Green Tomatoes with feta and balsamic glaze, Hummus, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Nachos, and Mac and Cheese Bites with a choice of gouda or pepper jack cheeses.
We tried Pulled Pork Egg Rolls – the filling was all pork – that came with slaw and pepper jelly. The Beef Tip plate had a pile of tender and pleasantly seasoned steak chunks with a side of sautéed button mushrooms. They can be blackened, and you can order a side of blue cheese sauce for an extra $1.50.
Under the heading Pool Sharks are seven seafood choices for $7-$14 including Seared Tuna Nachos; Jumbo Scallops that can be grilled, fried or blackened and come with remoulade; Raw, Fried or Steamed Oysters (the hard-working server couldn’t tell us if they were Gulf or local, but from her description they sounded like Gulf); Fried Crab Claws; and R & R Oysters topped with crab stuffing, Parmesan, Old Bay Seasoning and crumbled bacon bits.
The Break menu section is all about burgers priced $9-$13, and they come with a side. My husband went for the Traditional Burger because it was specially priced for happy hour at $6, and he thought it was delicious. I had a Brisket Burger topped with three or four slices of smoked beef brisket with purple smoke rings, fried string onions, dill pickle slices and house-made tomato horseradish sauce. The burger part was juicy and fresh-tasting, and all the toppings worked well. The only suggestion I’d make is to add a little barbecue sauce on the side, for the brisket.
Other burgers include Black and Blue, Pimento Cheese, Mac & Cheese, Greek and the Southern Burger topped with pulled pork, mustard, slaw and pickles.
Corner Pockets has more sandwiches for $7-$11, from Tacos and Quesadillas to Philly Sub, Reuben and the Beef Brisket Sandwich served on jalapeno cornbread and topped with spinach, tomato and tomato horseradish.
The Felt offers three salads for $5-$17; and Side Pockets are side dishes that come with several meals but can also be ordered a la carte for $3 each: kettle chips, sweet potato fries, potato salad, onion rings, sautéed spinach, Spanish rice, black beans, fried pickles.
That leaves the 8 Ball, which is five $5 desserts: Key Lime Pie, Vanilla Ice Cream, New York Style Cheesecake, Honey-Nut Dessert Bar and S’Mores Baked Dessert Bar.
Martinis are a specialty of the house for $7-$9, with Appletini, Acai Blueberry, Chocolate and more.
If your idea of rest and relaxation includes peace and quiet, I suggest visiting early on weekdays, such as between 4 and 6 p.m., or for lunch on weekends when R and R opens at 11 a.m.