When you live in Annapolis, you know the name Rams Head.
The part I guess missed is that there is more than one. Driving out General’s Highway, I rode right past the Rams Head Roadhouse, and pulled in for a bite.
The place is spacious, with a nice row of patio seats out front, more in the back and a big bar right in the middle. Inside, and off to the side, is the dining room, where my family and I sat for a dinner. Glancing at the menu, I have to say that I didn’t expect too much. It seemed like a pretty normal American bar menu to me.
Ordering drinks, of course, meant Fordham and Dominion brewing company beer, as well as a whole bar menu and wines.
Of the Fordham brews, I really like the Gypsy Lager ($5.50), and my daughter Jessica ordered one too. The Gypsy is golden and light, with a little sweetness and some depth. My wife Chandra enjoyed the Grapefruit Pale Ale ($5.50), which was well balanced with a crisp grapefruit finish. My son Calvin delighted in the Old Dominion Root Beer ($3), a fresh-brewed, rich root beer that almost tasted like sweet molasses. It was every bit as good as the actual beers.
So the drinks were a big hit, but what about the food?
We each ordered from the sandwich menu (what the Roadhouse calls “Sammies”). Jessica ordered the Blackened Tuna Panini ($12.50) with fresh cut fries ($1). This was a seared tuna steak rubbed with spices and served with baby spinach, tomato, avocado, melted Swiss cheese and a chipotle mayonnaise.
The tuna steak was tender and a little spicy. The portion size was nice and big, with wonderfully melted cheese, and a toasted Ciabatta bun. It was like an adult tuna melt, and it was very good. The fresh cut fries were very good as well.
Calvin had the Hoffman’s Bacon Burger ($14.50). Bacon burgers are his favorite thing to order. But, when they told us that the Hoffman had the bacon blended right into the meat, Calvin sat up straight in his chair.
When the burger came out, it looked a little rare, but they warned us that because of the bacon, it always looks red. This burger was delicious and very tender. Cal did say that it was a little less bacony than he’s used to when the slices are on top, but despite this, he liked it very much. He also ordered the tater tots ($1), which were crunchy and tasty, and reminded me of being a kid again.
Chandra had the Fish Tacos ($12.95), which came with rice and black beans. The Fish Tacos can be ordered either beer batter fried or grilled. The tacos were fun and flavorful with nice pieces of flaky Alaskan Pollock, a chunky cilantro coleslaw and chipotle mayonnaise.
Chandra had chosen the grilled and blackened fish, which I much preferred over the fried version I usually get at other restaurants. You can really taste the fish when it’s grilled. That being said, I bet their beer batter is pretty good. I’m going to have to come back to do a taste comparison.
I chose the Tavern Pulled Pork ($10.50). Everyone has a pulled pork sandwich, but this one was special. The pork was tender and almost sweet, especially as they cooked it in that wonderful Dominion root beer.
This pork needed no sauce and was just full of flavor. As my side, I chose the perogies ($2), which were lightly fried. I personally prefer sauteed onions and sour cream with my perogies, but I enjoyed these anyway. Again, they were great comfort food.
Having had some excellent sammies, we order just a couple of the desserts on the menu. The Pineapple upside down cake looked great but was a little over baked. Also, the fluffy and flavorless ice cream and fake whipped cream made this just-ok dessert even worse.
Paula’s Peanut Butter Pie, on the other hand, had a great light texture, and a rich peanut butter flavor. I really liked that it wasn’t super sweet, and the kick of chocolate from the crust added the perfect balance to the dessert.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of peanut butter pies, but this one was nicely done. My one question is: why not use real whipped cream?
In the end, I was wrong about the Roadhouse. The food was really very well prepared and inventive. Everything we ate was enjoyable, and we all enjoyed sharing each other’s meals.
The Rams Head Roadhouse is a great place to kick back, enjoy a brew and have some really fun comfort food. Not only will I have to come back to conduct my fish taco experiment, but I’m also looking forward to trying Sunday brunch.
Rams Head Roadhouse
1773 Generals Highway, Annapolis / 410-849-8058 / ramsheadroadhouse.com
HOURS: Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m,, Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
EXECUTIVE CHEF: Scott Paska
LUNCH: $10 to $13 / DINNER: $12 to $22
RESERVATIONS: not required / CREDIT CARDS: All Major Cards
David R. Ludwig is the Assistant Director of the Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute of Anne Arundel Community College.