Restaurant Review – Mr. Rain’s Funhouse (Federal Hill, MD)

Mr. Rain’s Funhouse is an eclectic modern American restaurant located on the top floor of the American Visionary Art Museum. The location is fitting, since the Museum itself is abstract and a bit out there, similar to the restaurant. The name suggests you are lurking into a stripper paradise, but no, it actually is a restaurant. The décor features contrasting colors with paintings by local artists throughout. We opted for the outdoor patio, which overlooks Key Highway and part of the Inner-Harbor.

When we dined at Mr. Rain’s Funhouse, the staff recently unveiled their spring/summer menu, which featured several proteins including hanger steak, lamb, duck and pork. There were also a special section of seasonal cocktails, which featured many spring/summer ales as well as vodka infused drinks. One of the more noteworthy cocktails of the evening was the Tennessee Waltz. The combination almond infused rum was nicely complimented by the ginger liquor and fresh mint.

It’s only natural that you see Tuna Tartar or some raw tuna dish on every restaurant’s menu these days; however, Mr. Rain’s Funhouse does Tuna Poké justice. The sashimi-grade ahi-tuna was finely cubed and then tossed in a miso dressing. The tuna was remarkably fresh and had the perfect maroon color with a luscious yet meaty bite to it. Without question, the tuna used here is higher quality than most sushi restaurants. On top of the round pedestal of tuna was avocado ice cream, a perfect contrast in both flavor and texture to the spicy chunky tuna. The dish also included what seemed to be almost like candied tuna, which was a hard piece of tuna baked with sesame seeds on top. A forkful of the tuna, the candied tuna and the avocado ice cream was just bliss.

Unfortunately, the entrées were a little more “hit or miss”. The braised pork shank was one of the best dishes of the night. The gargantuan chunk of pork is liberally seasoned and slowly braised until the meet just falls off the bone – knife optional. The shank was served with sautéed Swiss chard and rice pilaf. The chard was pretty good, having minimal seasoning yet being a nice earthy contrast to the rich pork. The rice pilaf was just straight awful, having the texture and flavor of a wet mop. I also had a chance to sample the hanger steak, which is usually one of my favorite cuts of beef. While the steak had a nice blackened char on the exterior, the flavor could not have been funkier. The steak was aged way too heavily for a hanger steak, which created a very gamey and off-putting taste. Additionally, the steak was cooked to rare for hanger, which made it very difficult to cut. The side dish included with the steak was a cactus, prickly pear and strawberry salad, which oozed slime from the cactus. All in all, the hanger steak was a complete failure in every aspect. Something noteworthy though about the menu is the relatively inexpensive prices. Appetizers were right around $10, while entrees are no more than $24 with most being around $18.

The staff at Mr. Rain’s Funhouse was friendly and knowledgeable, although a tad unprofessional at times. At one point a few staff members walked out onto the balcony and started smoking and conversing, despite customer tables being in close proximity. Minor details like this left a bad taste in my mouth; however, my overall experience at Mr. Rain Funhouse was positive and uniquely intriguing. I definitely appreciated the restaurants attempt to think outside the box and infuse creativity with local ingredients. For that reason alone, I will return to Mr. Rain’s Funhouse.

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