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Jan 17, 2009 06:05 AM

Ruby's BBQ joint in East Meadow?

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

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  1. 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

      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

        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.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. 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.


        1. 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

          5 Replies
          1. re: BrooklynQ

            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

              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?


              1. re: motoeric

                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

                  Thanks! I'll give them another shot.


              2. re: jpf1980

                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. 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

                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.