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Ruby Tuesday's: So Very So-So

Bob W Mar 25, 2008 10:58 AM

This past Saturday we needed something safe to satisfy my in-laws as well as the almost-four-year-old twins. We decided to try the nearby new Ruby Tuesday's (this is in South Riding, Loudoun County, VA). I figured I could at least just make a meal out of the salad bar.

Well, the salad bar is now a pale shadow of its former self and at $7.99 isn't worth it. For another buck you can get a couple of mini burgers or a cup of soup etc, but still not worth it. So I had to order from the menu. I got a turkey burger with bacon and avocado. The burger wasn't bad, but the avocado wasn't nearly ripe enough, so the slices just slid off the burger. The bacon, while tasty, wasn't crisp enough. B- for this thing.

Little Sophie's chicken tenders and fries came out cold. Boo hiss. So did MIL's chicken pot pie, but once they heated it up she enjoyed it. Mrs W.'s steak came with undercooked shrooms and instant mashers. FIL enjoyed his steak, and Little Cooper enjoyed his buttered pasta. (We didn't really challenge the kitchen on that one.)

For dessert, one molten chocolate cake. Mediocre at best.

Places like this have great ad agencies and great menu designers, because what comes out on the plate just doesn't live up to expectations. The service was also amateur hour quality. No desire to return anytime soon, but the place should do just fine, being within around five miles of thousands of families in an area that is still underserved by restaurants.

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    aelph RE: Bob W Mar 25, 2008 11:57 AM

    Not a fan. The one time I ate there it was with family taking a break from marathon mall Christmas shopping(just so you understand what the alternatives were...more mall chain food).

    They offer "famous" burgers...yeah, right

    Since I don't eat franchise food all that often I recall this was the first time I'd encountered a "health notice" regarding the cooking of ground beef to medium or well on a menu...mmm...appetizing...

    Since the "health warning" specified you could order your burger to your preference, I checked with the waitress to be sure and requested medium-rare.

    And, of course, received medium well. I wasn't going to make an issue of it with family there and all...and, really, in a place like Ruby Tuesday's what's the point?

    I silently chewed and chewed and chewed my "famous" sawdust burger.

    But the real kicker was the s/o's mom's "coconut shrimp" which is her favorite thing there, apparently(and, to each their own)...

    ...now...I know how popular these coconut shrimp preps have become over the years...I had no clue they make them with sweetened coconut...!

    ...the horror, the horror

    yes, please, I'd love a macaroon-encrusted shrimp and could I possibly get some more of that syrup to dip it in?

    blecch

    seems obvious to me that you'd coat a shrimp in unsweetened coconut to play off the natural sweetness of the shrimp...and serve it with a sauce more tangy than sweet

    to make matters worse, the "margaritas" ordered as an amelioration of existential shopping malaise were more mixer and water than tequila

    Ruby Tuesday's...feh

    3 Replies
    1. re: aelph
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      amandaqtpie RE: aelph Mar 25, 2008 01:39 PM

      Actually, in my area, Ruby Tuesday used to be the chain, sit-down, family-type place to go for a really good burger in the '80s. I think they're trying to stay up with all the other chains these days.

      1. re: aelph
        Ette1010 RE: aelph Jun 27, 2008 03:52 PM

        How did your mother in law get coconut shrimp? That was taken off the menu at least a year ago. FYI, at most corporate restaurants, particularly Ruby Tuesday and Applebee's, there are very strict alcohol policies. Bartenders must use their Bar KDS to ensure everything is "spec", and, yes, those drinks are mostly simple syrup and sour mix. Besides, if you were looking for a real margarita, I'm surprised you ordered one there.

        1. re: Ette1010
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          aelph RE: Ette1010 Jul 28, 2008 06:07 PM

          A miffed fan of Ruby Tuesday? I don't quite get the irritation in your post. We ordered margaritas because we felt like it and certainly didn't expect great ones...just drinks that tasted as if they had alcohol in them. BTW you are assuming the orderer of, yes indeed, coconut shrimp, is my mother-in-law when in fact she isn't...gay marriage being illegal in most of the country.

      2. d
        DeeCee RE: Bob W Mar 27, 2008 02:28 PM

        I ate there over the holidays with my parents. My father is on a very restricted low fat diet, and asked if he could have his steamed vegetables without the butter. Our server explained that they come "pre-buttered." Nice.

        The food wasn't actually that bad (I went into it with pretty low expectations), but I'm amazed that a restaurant that has a salad bar full of raw broccoli can't figure out a way to steam it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DeeCee
          Ette1010 RE: DeeCee Jun 27, 2008 03:53 PM

          That's true. That sort of prep is done in the morning. It's not butter either; it's hydrogenated cotton seed oil. 100 calories per tablespoon and found at every chain restaurant in America.

        2. ccbweb RE: Bob W Mar 28, 2008 08:22 PM

          My wife and I ate takeout from Ruby Tuesday in Charlottesville, VA last week and we were shocked to find that we both liked it quite a bit. She actually had the Turkey Burger with Avocado (sans bacon) and Swiss and she loved it. She declared herself full about 2/3rds of the way but kept nibbling on it because she said it tasted good. And she described the fries as "delightful." I had a ribeye, which they cooked a true rare (hard to get, actually...actually cooked but still nicely rare inside). They swapped the broccoli for green beans (that didn't have any butter on them, so I think some places have figured that out) and I had a baked potato. We were quite pleased with all of it. And the chocolate chip cookies were pretty good for dessert.

          1. s
            smartie RE: Bob W Apr 1, 2008 08:27 PM

            agree with the OP re the salad bar. A few years back it was a much better selection - last time I went the salad bar was dull and lifeless with many of the same dishes repeated down the line to make it look fuller.

            Fries came up cold, burger was nothing special.

            1. t
              trent_onion RE: Bob W Apr 3, 2008 04:12 PM

              Similar opinion re: the salad bar. Now, a full half of the bar consists of prepared foods that look like slop (or, to be more generous, aren't the sorts of things I look for in a salad bar). Also used to enjoy the chips and salsa.

              Think that the restaurant can't really figure out where it fits in the chain-restaurant world. Menu changes frequently; newest branding seems to be "Simple, fresh American dining." Unfortunately, don't think that's what they're delivering.

              1 Reply
              1. re: trent_onion
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                dream_of_giusti RE: trent_onion Apr 7, 2008 08:35 AM

                I actually have to add a vote of confidence for Ruby Tuesday's. It may just be the locations in my area (suburban philadelphia) are better. My husband loves their burgers so we ended up there Thursday, after a day of doctor appointments. I loved my meal, which is saying a lot. I got a Pomegranate Iced Tea which had everything I love about a good Iced Tea. Then I had two servings of salad from the salad bar, I usually only can be forced to eat a salad once a year. Then I had a smokehouse burger cooked perfectly medium with mashed potatoes instead of fries. My whole meal was surprisingly delicious. I was happy, the non-chow DH was happy, and picky chow-pup was ecstatic when Daddy bribed her with chocolate chip cookies.

              2. b
                bakeman RE: Bob W Apr 7, 2008 04:37 PM

                For me, it seems that since they remodeled our local one and introduced their new "Simple fresh American Dining" things have gone down hill, yes the restaurant looks less tacky, but the food seems to have lost something, they used to be my quick place for a decent burger since they are only 2 miles away but I have no desire to go back.

                I think that Ruby's is having an identity crisis.

                1. beelzebozo RE: Bob W Jun 27, 2008 04:26 PM

                  the salad bar in my area is still fantastic. bummer about yours.

                  1. d
                    Dee S RE: Bob W Jul 28, 2008 01:33 PM

                    We have a local Ruby Tuesday's that is one small step above average; we don't go there very often and the two visits were average. No big deal.

                    This weekend, while out shopping, we stopped at a different one. This was in a mall. I ordered the mushroom swiss burger plus bacon, medium well (I only do medium at home, where I can control the meat). My burger came out very rare and included lettuce, tomato, onion, some mayo-like spread; the outside was still pink in places! When the waitress came back (2 seconds after placing our food down), I said my burger was not cooked properly but wanted to cut into it. I cut the burger and half and it was very rare. She took the burger away on a small plate and said she'd take care of it. Can't-remember-how-much-later she brought my burger back, still cut in half with the bloody, drippy bun. Cooked medium well.

                    Now that's just wrong. There was no manager on duty (it was early afternoon, way after lunch rush) and I was too shocked to do anything more than just push it around.

                    That will make me not want to go back.....

                    1. beelzebozo RE: Bob W Jul 28, 2008 02:43 PM

                      it's still better than the outback or the olive garden.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: beelzebozo
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                        asiansensation007 RE: beelzebozo Jul 28, 2008 04:24 PM

                        actually, i just had the new bloomin burger at outback, and i must admit, it was awfully good. cooked just how i like it (medium) it was one of the better chain burger ive ever had. the advertised horsradish sauce wasnt very noticeable, but overall, it was solid. i left very happy.

                        1. re: beelzebozo
                          Firegoat RE: beelzebozo Jul 29, 2008 10:04 AM

                          I've never had a meal to complain about at Outback

                          1. re: Firegoat
                            beelzebozo RE: Firegoat Jul 29, 2008 10:34 AM

                            i guess i just find these two places sort of offensively inoffensive and safe. it's true that i've never been horrified by a disgusting meal at the outback or olive garden, but i've never had a meal at either that i would consider wholly satisfying.

                        2. Veggo RE: Bob W Jul 28, 2008 04:29 PM

                          I have been to one nearby on a C'hound reco for their crabcakes. They came with 3 sauces, and were very good.

                          1. j
                            jessicheese RE: Bob W Jul 29, 2008 09:53 AM

                            I hadn't been in a RT for quite some time and just went on Friday. We were left with the choice between that or a Crapplebees after a 7 hour trip to VA and we were focused more on the drinks than the food. There was a decent beer selection and I had a margarita that wasn't the best ever, but definitely good enough for me to order a second. DH ordered the ribs & steak "memphis style" and I ordered the ribs & shrimp "BBQ style". Everything was excellent! Even the salad bar was pretty good at the last hour on a Friday night. I was quite impressed.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jessicheese
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                              Ralphie_in_Boston RE: jessicheese Jul 31, 2008 06:40 AM

                              That is the one saving grace IMO about RT's. They do have a good beer selection for a chain place.

                            2. y
                              yankeefan RE: Bob W Jul 29, 2008 12:04 PM

                              Respect the opinions here, but have to disagree. This is my favorite among chains like this (Fridays, Cheesecake, Applebees) and am a HUGE fan of the salad bar.

                              Im looking forward to trying the crabcake sandwich and have always found something I like at this place. Oh well, to each their own.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: yankeefan
                                beelzebozo RE: yankeefan Jul 29, 2008 03:49 PM

                                i like it very much too, largely for the salad bar.

                                1. re: beelzebozo
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                                  yankeefan RE: beelzebozo Jul 30, 2008 11:47 AM

                                  On more than one occassion, Ive cleaned out the pumpernickel bread crumbs, water chestnuts, and honey mustard.

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