It's not too often that I drive into the maze of streets dotted with inns, micro-hotels and restaurants in the area just west and south of 31st & Memorial. A great compact section of lodging facilities and eateries for travelers passing through on I-44 and HW 51, but for locals such as myself, I would probably not think of stopping in this section of town in search of a meal.
The most recent build in this area is Ruby Tuesday, a restaurant known to serve "Simple, Fresh American Dining." I've seen this chain many times in my travels through other states, but now I can sample the restaurant right here.
The dining atmosphere is comfortable and casual, a notch above other places in this area, and the specialties are the burgers and the salad bar. Their "handcrafted" burgers are 100 percent USDA choice ground beef, and the Triple Prime Burger is made with prime tenderloin, prime ribeye, and prime sirloin ground fresh for $9.49.
Customers at the Fresh Garden Bar are encouraged to be "an artiste," creating a "handcrafted salad" beginning with "garden greens," such as spring mix, iceberg and romaine, all for $7.99, or $2.89 with an entrée.
Different from many restaurants in this area, Ruby Tuesday has a full bar, and a few people were positioned there on this Monday early afternoon when my friend and I dined.
The greeting upon our arrival was very friendly, and our meal service was as friendly--very accommodating and very hospitable. Once seated, we reviewed the menu and the drink list, which we found pleasantly substantial. Many "handcrafted" (almost an overused word on the menu) cocktails are available, such as Long Island Tea, Mojito, Pomtini and Ruby Relaxer, and there are many beers by the bottle or draft, such as Blue Moon, Sam Adams, Yuengling, Stella Artois, Dogfish Head, 60 Minute IPA and Abita Turbo Dog. Teas and wines are also available.
We ordered a Mojito ($6.49), and I was in need of what the Ruby Relaxer ($5.99) seemed to offer. (It contained Skyy Vodka, Malibu Coconut Rum, DeKuyper Peach Schnapps, pineapple and cranberry juice, with a squeeze of fresh orange.) Both drinks were very good and refreshingly pleasant.
Besides what Ruby Tuesday is known for, a mix of many varieties of dishes are featured: Appetizers ranging from Thai Phoon Shrimp to Spicy Buffalo Wings to Bacon Cheese Fries; entrees include dishes with chicken, steak, ribs and seafood.
My dining companion had to try one of the burgers since they come so highly rated; he ordered the Alpine Swiss Burger, which is a peppercorn-seasoned burger topped with Swiss cheese and fresh sautéed Portobello mushroom slices ($8.69). Burgers are served on a lightly toasted bun with leaf lettuce, tomatoes and pickles and served with hot fries.
I ordered the Chicken Portobello ($12.99) which is grilled 10 oz. chicken breast with fresh sautéed Portobello mushroom slices, artichokes and Parmesan cream sauce. This was served with lots of freshly steamed broccoli and white cheddar mashed potatoes. I also tried the Fresh Garden Bar with my entrée.
All the items for my meal were as expected. The chicken, while a little dry, did have the added benefit of the mushroom slices and cream sauce to keep each bite moist. The broccoli was steamed well, not too soft, and the best part may have been the cheddar potatoes--thick, creamy and rich as a comfort food should be.
The Garden Bar was most impressive--I would come back here just for this. Very fresh veggies with many other items from salads to edamame (soybeans).
Unfortunately, my friend's burger was not as readily accepted as my meal. While the plate presentation was impressive, the burger itself a disappointment. My friend cut the burger in half, but when grabbing half of the sandwich for the first bite, the bottom bun was completely saturated with juices of some sort, more than likely the medium rare meat. In addition, the plentiful juices invaded the fries, many of which were also soggy.
Our server, Eddie, was excellent. He offered a new meal, but my friend did not want the wait, so he then offered to comp the meal for us, all the while being most apologetic. While it was an unfortunate experience, it has not tainted our impressions of Ruby Tuesday. We'll be back to give the burgers another try.
7806 E. Skelly Dr.
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