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Ruby's BBQ joint in East Meadow?

t
toby1355 Jan 17, 2009 06:05 AM

Just read about this on the Newsday Blog. (Thank you E. Marcus for the tip). As a East Meadowian, I'm embarrassed to say, I had no Idea. Thinking of trying tonite. But was hoping to get another opinion before hand. Thanks

  1. j
    jmax Jul 2, 2009 11:08 AM

    I was the only one there today at lunch 1:15 - place was empty. I asked the server if they were open - kinda felt an off vibe - I told him I'd come back some other time. Went to Zorn's - good chicken.

    1. byrd Jul 2, 2009 01:26 AM

      Was there yesterday for lunch, definitely a vast improvement.

      1. e
        eshjem May 1, 2009 05:31 PM

        this place is a total disgrace. first we had a house salad $9. 95 and to be honest a total ripoff no chicken in it. we ordered the 1/ 2 chicken and ribs. the chicken seemed liked it was 2 days old and the baby back ribs were like pulling teeth. sweet potato fries soggy. corn bread hard as a rock. thank god we split the two meals . still cost 60 bucks with tip. to tell you the truth the food came out so quick so there you knew it was prepaired and not fresh. place was empty as well, so that should tell you something. i say by this summer rubys will be history. do yourself a favor dont go to this place its a total disgrace.

        9 Replies
        1. re: eshjem
          b
          Beckster Jun 15, 2009 01:40 PM

          I heard that they worked out some of the problems and the food is greatly improved. Anybody have any firsthand knowledge of this?

          1. re: Beckster
            t
            toby1355 Jun 15, 2009 06:07 PM

            For what its worth, I started this post back in Jan. I've had the food several times. Here's my take on Ruby's.

            1. I went around back last time and did not see or smell anything being smoked. There was on the other hand, a small pile of cut wood logs.

            2 The waiter told be the smoker is in the kitchen. I have seen smokers both inside and outside at other BBQ places, so I don't know

            3. I've also read about BBQ places purchasing pre-smoked cryovac ribs that they merely reheat.

            4. Most recently we went on a Fri nite and the place was jumping.

            Finally, the place is owned by an Indian (I'm pretty sure) group that has other restaurants in Nassau and Queens, none of which are BBQ places. It is the Singh Group. So, is it fair to ask: Does BBQ has a long tradition in India? I don't think so. And does that matter?

            1. re: toby1355
              l
              linsue Jun 21, 2009 10:29 AM

              I went there last night and was pleasantly surprised. I had the baby back ribs and the brisket. While I am not a BBQ expert I found that both were delicious. The meat was very tasty and the meat on the ribs virtually fell off the bones . My husband had the popcorn chicken and enjoyed it( I would have preferred if the pieces of chicken were slightly larger. For sides we had cole slaw and baked beans and they were good. The service was friendly. I will be back.

              1. re: linsue
                m
                motoeric Jun 27, 2009 11:37 AM

                Ruby's has hired a new pitmaster, Greg Barry. Greg is a competition cook on the BBQ circuit. I was there two weeks ago and the food was much improved. As you can see from my comments above, I was NOT a fan. Actually, I believe that I said that I would never step foot in there again. So much for that.

                Greg had made a lot of improvements when I was there and he had only been working there a week. I look forward to seeing where they are at now.

                There are two other BBQ joints on Long Island opening soon. Let's hope we are seeing the start of a positive trend.

                Eric

                1. re: motoeric
                  s
                  Scott_R Jun 28, 2009 08:44 PM

                  Hi, Eric. What's opening soon where?

                  1. re: Scott_R
                    m
                    motoeric Jul 1, 2009 12:24 PM

                    Dixies Smokehouse in Kings Park and another place in Baldwin run by a competition team.

                    I'll post when they are open.

                    Eric

                    1. re: motoeric
                      s
                      Scott_R Jul 6, 2009 12:17 PM

                      Looks like Dixies has the start of a website up

                      http://mediabyclick.com/contacts.html

                      1. re: Scott_R
                        s
                        Scott_R Jul 17, 2009 11:31 AM

                        ... and Newsday says it's open
                        http://weblogs.newsday.com/features/f...

                      2. re: motoeric
                        j
                        jmax Aug 31, 2009 06:36 AM

                        Has anyone been to Dixies Smokehouse yet?

          2. byrd Mar 14, 2009 08:32 AM

            After finishing I turned around and told my friend "That wasn't barbeque we just ate."
            No smoke smell in the place and in the food whatsover.I had three water warmed slices of brisket and the sausage was from the Italian grocer. My friend had a thigh of thrice oven warmed chicken and a four slab piece of baked ribs. Beautiful place with good beer selection. The telltale sign that this isn't a barbeque joint is when the cook was wearing a lilly white starched chef's jacket with fancy embroidery on the pocket and sleeves.
            Put it this way Famous Daves blows this place away.

            6 Replies
            1. re: byrd
              m
              motoeric Mar 18, 2009 12:16 AM

              Wow. Not my experience at all. Sorry to hear it went downhill since I visited.

              Sort of sad. With the pitmaster leaving Swingbelly's and the closing of Willie B's, Long Island BBQ has taken a serious turn for the worse.

              Eric

              1. re: motoeric
                m
                motoeric Mar 30, 2009 12:08 PM

                Well, I was back at Ruby's on Saturday.

                It was horrible. Truly bad. Unless something serious happens to change my mind, I will never be back. Ever. It was a mess. The only redeeming aspect was the cornbread.

                I would rather get the new pulled pork sandwich at White Castle than eat this again.

                Eric

                1. re: motoeric
                  j
                  jpf1980 Mar 30, 2009 03:29 PM

                  hey eric,

                  i was at swingbelly's for the third time 2 saturdays ago. Was with a group of 8, and it was fantastic once again. Everyone loved it. 4 of us has been there before, 4 of us had not. One of the newbies is a big fan of the upstate Dinosaur BBQ locations and has been to R.U.B who pigtrip.net when he responded to an email of mine says is tied for best in our geographical area(i have not been there but I love upstate Dinosaur, but not NYC's). My friend liked swingbelly's just as much as he liked R.U.B. I suggest you try it again to see if you think it went downhill after the old pitmaster left. Also they have Sixpoint Craft ales on tap now at swingbellys!!!!!!!

                  This time because i was leaving for vermont the next day and didn't want leftovers, i had the Cuban sandwich where the meat is pulled pork and brisket. Split an appetizer ofwings with my wife, and finished off her half slab of ribs(she orders her ribs dry too) after she got full. Everything was great!

                  1. re: jpf1980
                    m
                    motoeric Mar 31, 2009 01:03 PM

                    I was at Swingbelly's Saturday. Definitely the highlight of my recent BBQ jaunts. The food was good, but not great. The ribs were burnt (carmelization of the sugar in the rub) and the empenadas were dry.

                    I'm helping to run a KCBS judging class on the 11th, so I know that I'll at least get some excellent que there.

                    Thanks for the update!

                    Eric

                    1. re: motoeric
                      j
                      jpf1980 Mar 31, 2009 03:29 PM

                      wow u were at swingbellys and ruby's on saturday. Empenadas? i dont rememeber seeing those on the menu??? I have not had burnt ribs there, i've had a a nice bark, but i like the bark.

                      1. re: jpf1980
                        m
                        motoeric Mar 31, 2009 09:00 PM

                        The empenadas were a special. The ribs were as black as midnight. It was from using the wrong sugar in the rub and then heating the ribs in the salamander.

                        Eric

            2. j
              jmax Jan 27, 2009 04:09 AM

              I went to Ruby's last night. Had the baby backs with fries and cole slaw. I thought it was ok - nothing to rave about, but nothing was bad. The ribs were tender and had a faint hint of smoke - they were a little on the small side. The cole slaw was just big shreds of white cabbage with a gloppy mayo sauce on them - not much flavor. Fries were hot and crispy. The bartender was very nice and helpful. Actually, some of the nonBBQ items on the menu looked and/or sounded good - I may go back to try them. The food is better at Smoking Al's, but I wasn't treated right by the management there - so I don't patronize them.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jmax
                j
                jmax Feb 4, 2009 10:31 AM

                Went back for lunch today. Had the pulled pork sandwich, sweet potato fries and coleslaw. The pork had no smoke flavor and was served wet in very fine shredded up pieces (no chunks or crispy bits). I didn't care for the texture of it and the bun is too soft - it fell apart before I was finished from all the liquid mixed into the pork. The coleslaw now has red cabbage and carrots in it, but was still laking flavor. Excellant sweet potato fries.

              2. b
                BrooklynQ Jan 22, 2009 07:23 PM

                Here's my take on Ruby's...

                My younger brother and I decide to check out Ruby's Famous BBQ on its opening night. We arrived around 7:00pm. The street sign was not lit and the place seems to be closed, but it wasn't. The place was more than half empty and we were immediately greeted by the hostess who escorted us to our table, but not before being offered our choice of a booth, table, or bar area seating. (We chose a table.)

                The restaurant is set up with a large bar area and divided dining area. There are large TV screens everywhere, and one is always in view. My brother asked if Ruby's used to be a sports bar with all the available TVs and mentioned that he could see himself coming there for various sporting events. The rest of the decor is fairly non-descript with light woods and touches of cowboy chic. It's not memorable, but comfortable none the less.

                After perusing the menu we decide that we will stick with BBQ only because I tell my brother that this visit will be reported on my blog. Ruby's offers up barbecue, burgers, "old school comfort food" like Chicken Pot Pie and Catfish, "fillers" and what it calls "wooden salad bowls." I guess that last one is for them crazy vegetarians. All of the non-Q food sounded good, but it wasn't what we were there for that night.

                I've already posted the pictures of what we ordered. I apologize for the poor quality, as they were taken with my cell phone, not color corrected, posted on the fly as I tried to take them on the sly. I'm still not comfortable taking pictures of restaurant food while seated in the place. I don't know how other folks do it so well.

                First up was the "Up In Smoke Wings" with Blue Cheese Dip $8.95. We were served 6 large whole wings that were smoked and lightly glazed. The color in the photograph does not do them justice, as they were golden, smokey and flavorful. The skin was rubbery, as smoked chicken tends to be, but not tough and it didn't stop us from enjoying the wings. My first thought as I put them in my mouth was that I was in the backyard eating wings off the grill. The glaze was nice and a bit sweet, a little hot and very unlike the three tomato based BBQ sauces that Ruby's provides. If you're looking for "Buffalo Wings" keep going, because you won't find them here.

                If I could improve this dish, I'd grill the wings slightly before serving to crisp the skin. I'd also lose the blue cheese dressing. It's served with Buffalo wings to cool down the heat and there's no major heat to be found here, so the dressing is superfluous. If they continue to serve the dressing, add celery or carrot sticks to the plate. But that all boils down to personal preference.

                Our main courses were "Ruby's Famous Pig Out Platter" ($24.95) which included Baby Back ribs, St. Louis ribs, 1/4 white meat BBQ Chicken, Carolina pulled pork and sliced Texas brisket and the "Big Boy Beef Rib" ($21.95). Ruby's doesn't really tell you what the beef rib is on the menu, only supplying the following, "This Bad Boy is Big and Beefy."

                Both platters came with a choice of two sides and corn bread. The corn bread was very good, more cake like than bread, and studded with jalapeno flakes that primarily added color and not heat.

                My brother chose the "Candied Carrots" and "Hand Cut French Fries" as his sides, and I chose "Sweet Potato Fries" and "Baked Beans" as mine. The French fries were tasty, albeit a bit cold and soggy. My brother tells me that that carrots were good, but I didn't try them. In contrast to the French fries, the sweet potato fries were hot, crispy and salty; just the way I like them.

                The baked beans were a disappointment; overly sweet and overly smoked. They arrived in a separate ramekin, as did the carrots, but seemed to have been sitting for a long while as a slightly dried crust had developed on the top. Now, I don't know if these beans would qualify as a vegetarian dish, or if this is the cook's intention, but they were devoid of any obvious pieces of meat.

                Our main courses arrived as we were almost done with our wings, and we were pleased to see how generous the portions were. You could easily share the "Pig Out" between two people, but alas Ruby's Famous charges a $5 plate sharing charge.

                The Texas style brisket was nothing like the brisket I had in Texas, but none the less, this was one of the best restaurant briskets I've ever tasted. This was a real surprise, because if you look at the picture, it looks boiled and bland. In actuality it was tender, smokey, salty and a bit sweet. I never found sweet brisket in Texas or in any of the BBQ joints I've visited before, but this sure was good eating.

                The pulled pork was indeed "Carolina style" with the hint of vinegar and pepper. I enjoyed it very much, but was looking for some additional sauce for the meat. I didn't want to ruin the Carolina connection by pouring a sweet Kansas City style sauce all over it. For all you bark lovers out there, there was no bark served on our plate; just the white interior meat of the shoulder.

                The "Big Boy Beef Rib" turned out to be a cross section of three very meaty short ribs. The crust or bark was beautiful, the rub flavorful and accentuated the flavor of the meat beautifully. Unfortunately, the ribs were undercooked; much more rare then they appear in the photograph. Much more of the fat should have been rendered out of the ribs, leaving them a bit on the tough and chewy side of the equation. These guys needed at least another hour in the smoker.

                The large white meat quarter of chicken was well cooked with a flavorful traditional barbecue sauce. Unlike the wings, this chicken skin was slightly crispy and much more enjoyable. The meat was flavorful and moist.

                We ordered the ribs "Memphis Style," which means dry rubbed with Ruby's "House Mix," as Ruby's provides three different "Kansas City" style sauces on the tables which would allow us to sauce the ribs as we pleased. The first sauce is their "Sweet Talkin'" which is overly sweet and smooth. It could pass for dessert syrup. Their "Original" sauce ups the flavor and the heat, and reminds me a of mix between Sweet Baby Ray's original sauce and Kraft BBQ sauce. I hear all you purists scream, but it was OK. It could pass for any average in-house BBQ sauce anywhere.

                Ruby's "Snake Bite" sauce was very good. They raised the heat, dumped the corn syrup for molasses and created a sauce that I'd buy in the bottle. Ruby's claims that this is their "hot" sauce, but by that definition it misses the mark considerably. I would give this to a baby. This is a good everyday BBQ sauce. This sauce would not be out of place in Austin.

                But back to the ribs, the baby back ribs were a bit over cooked and the meat stuck to the bone, as if they were cooked in too hot a smoker for not enough time. The "St. Louis Ribs" were not trimmed properly but cooked well. If they took them just a little longer, they would have had some very good ribs here. The flavors were there on both ribs, but the technique and presentation suffered. Was it just opening night jitters?

                Our server was very attentive and usually anticipated our needs just before we did. I didn't write down her name, but I did mention that fact on the comment card we left. She was something special and I hope that the management there realizes it.

                I like the fact that they owners didn't create a "legend" about "Ruby," even though they did make her "famous." I hate reading all that hoopla about fictional characters.

                But unfortunately the staff, from our waitress to the manager who greeted us later in the meal, know absolutely nothing about real barbecue or even how it was prepared in their restaurant. When asked about smokers and woods, both the waitress and the manager seemed stumped.

                The waitress told us she'd find out, which she did; Southern Pride Smokers and hickory wood, but the manager said he was "more concerned with the front of the house." I then asked the manager if they had a pit master and I could tell by the look on his face that I could have been speaking Greek. He had no idea what a pit master was. I explained and he told us he would find out and disappeared for at least 30 minutes.

                Just before we were leaving, the manager informed us that they used Southern Prides and that the pit master was a man by the name of John Latoosh (forgive me if I have it wrong, but that's what I heard) who earned his chops by working at Virgil's and had been trained by Paul Kirk.

                In conclusion, Ruby's Famous has some problems, but it was some of the best restaurant barbecue I've had in a long time. It's easily the best sit down Long Island Barbeque joint I've been to.

                You can read more about it and see some pics on my blog http://whitetrashbbq.blogspot.com/200...

                5 Replies
                1. re: BrooklynQ
                  j
                  jpf1980 Jan 25, 2009 08:20 AM

                  i went to Swingbelly's in Long Beach last night. Was there with someone who has gone to Ruby's(first time to Swingbelly's), after my 2nd awesome visit to Swingbelly's myself, this other person who has been to Ruby's said they liked Swingbelly's better. If people want to try Swingbelly's this is the time of year to do so. Got parking almost immediately which will be impossible once the weather starts to warm up.

                  1. re: jpf1980
                    m
                    motoeric Jan 25, 2009 07:58 PM

                    Really? I heard from some very knowledgeable BBQ people that Swingbelly's had gone down hill since their pitmaster left for Vegas.

                    Can you go into more detail? When was the first time that you had visited?

                    Eric

                    1. re: motoeric
                      j
                      jpf1980 Jan 26, 2009 03:18 PM

                      my first time going to Swingbellys was in the late fall. Not sure if it was before or after the guy went to vegas to work with his father. I have a feeling it was after since i read somewhere the menu changed a little and the menu seemed the same this past saturday night as in the late fall. Maybe it was better before he left, i can't comfirm that. All i know is everything except the pulled pork was amazing. The pulled pork was good, tasty, smokey but a little on the dry side. i order without sauce so its not being moistened by that. The mac and cheese was very good, maybe even perfect, i didn't really like the tomato cucumber salad that much though, i wouldnt order it again. My wife and i split the challenge, so we had st louis ribs, the brisket which is to die for, the pulled pork, the wings which are to die for, the rib tips and the two sides i said. If it has gone down hill i would have loved to taste it before, but i would still say its the best BBQ i've ever had. Everything was ordered dry with the smokey sauce on the side.

                      1. re: jpf1980
                        m
                        motoeric Jan 26, 2009 04:41 PM

                        Thanks! I'll give them another shot.

                        Eric

                    2. re: jpf1980
                      b
                      BrooklynQ Jan 27, 2009 09:44 AM

                      I've heard good things about Swingbelly's too, but I've never been. I tried to go a couple of weeks back, but they're not open during the day anymore, just in the evening. I'll get back there sooner or later.

                  2. m
                    motoeric Jan 22, 2009 11:29 AM

                    I'm a bit surprised to see the negativity about Ruby's. It's not great, but it certainly wasn't as bad on my visit as other people here have made it out to be.

                    The ribs were good. We ordered them dry. The beef, spares and babybacks were all enjoyed. The burnt ends were very good. The sides were decent. The brisket was tasty, but the appearance was 'off'.

                    They use a southern pride and hickory.

                    It's definitely worth another try.

                    Eric

                    1. d
                      dude Jan 20, 2009 02:03 PM

                      I'm SO SO sorry I didn't see & reply until now. I had the misfortune of going for lunch 2 Saturdays ago...

                      Bottom Line is that the meat doesn't see enough smoke. It mostly tastes like it sat in one of those gas jobs where they put in a chunk or two for "flavor." No smoke rings, and to top it off the brisket was chewy and the ribs dried-out and overdone. Pulled pork was moist, tender, Miss White, but tasted mostly of the vinegar sauce (which wasn't too bad.) Mrs Dude did go for fried chicken instead of BBQ- it had wonderful texture and absolutely no flavor.
                      Sides were meh for the most part. Portions were generous, if that matters to you. They also managed to "lose" our order for half an hour. When the clueless waitress realized it they did comp us an order of nachos, which turned out to be the high point of the meal.
                      I might stop in with guys for beer and nachos if I were local, but don't waste your time or money on a meal.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: dude
                        t
                        toby1355 Jan 20, 2009 06:44 PM

                        Well, we didn't have any advance notice but it probably wouldn't have mattered. We live a stnes throw away so we had to try it in any case. We got a combo with a sample of five items and a sandwich too boot. the Mt daughter had the Manwich which had three meats and cheese o a roll. It looked like a mangled mess and she said didn't taste much better than it looked. My wife and I shared the Pig-Out. Two kinds of ribs (which we liked the best), pulled pork ( which was watery but somehow dry to the taste) , Chicken (leg/thigh quarter) which I thought was pretty good; tasty and moist. The last was the brisket which was dry but somewhat tasty. The sides of slaw and sweet potato fries were basic at best.

                        Because it is so close, we may well try it again but with a wary eye.

                        1. re: toby1355
                          j
                          jpf1980 Jan 20, 2009 06:54 PM

                          havn't been to Ruby's but i suggest to you Toby is to get on the meadowbrook south and go into Long Beach. Swingbelly's is fantastic. Here is the review from pigtrip.

                          http://www.pigtrip.net/review-Swingbe...

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