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DTW: R.U.B. great underappreciated BBQ

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Last night we had dinner at R.U.B. in conjunction with our annual trip to the Great Lakes Invitational Hockey Tournament (GO HUSKIES!). We were staying at the Westin Book Cadillac and wanted a place to eat nearby on the DPM route. I have eaten at Roast before (restaurant in the hotel) and it is just okay, not great, and super expensive. We had 8 people, including 4 hungry teenagers, so we couldn't affort to eat there anyway. So we walked up a block to R.U.B. and it was really good. The standout was the ribs - the very best I have ever had, including beating out those at Slows and Union Woodshop. I had the brisket and it was good, but my fave is still Slows, I think. The only disappointment was the fried pickles - I love fried pickles but theirs were too salty. I will definitely be back at this place and recommend you try it too. They have an outpost in Warren as well as they are taking over the former "Packard Bar" location in Ann Arbor.

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  1. Wow. I don't quite know how to respond to this.

    I've been to R.U.B. twice, both dismal experiences-- mediocre food, horrid service, one of the table BBQ sauces exploded all over me (container stupidity) with no apology from management-- and the place is just so noisy (bad acoustics) and uncomfortable. After the first visit I swore I'd never go back, but was dragged by a friend who just had to try it. It was no better the second time.

    And it gets generally bad reviews elsewhere.

    I don't know, is it possible for a place to improve THAT much without a change in ownership? If so, how?

    2 Replies
    1. re: ak994

      ak994, have you posted about this before? I can't recall it, and I was contemplating giving RUB a shot based on an off-site mini-catered party that featured RUB food. I was pretty happy with their Carolina-style mustard sauce and the ribs (though the ribs were cold, and that sort of puts me out a bit).

      That bad, eh?

      1. re: ak994

        Not to pile on, but I have to second this with regards to the Warren location. I went there twice and had the second most miserable BBQ I've ever had (worst was at a place by Lakeside that is long gone). The meat had no flavor other than overwhelming saltiness from the rub. The pork was tough and the brisket was fatty, and the sides were pretty lousy. The sauces were nothing special.

        My mother-in-law loves their burnt ends, but her grading scale is pretty easy. I have a hard time believing that any of their other locations could be that much better.

      2. Maybe I just got lucky....based on your reviews. I checked on Yelp and the complaints are largely about the service, not the food. Detroit News Molly Abrams agrees with me on the ribs, too. I would agree with you on the atmosphere - its just painted cinderblock, but I don't frequent barbecue places for the atmosphere. If you want a beautiful atmosphere - you should go to Slows. I understand they are now going to expand into the place next door, which will be great. I love the look of the original space. Anyway, the new RUB just opened in Ann Arbor - their third location. They must be doing something right, however I do wish them luck in that spot (a notorious graveyard for bars and restaurants because it is practically on campus and has no parking).