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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ruby Tuesday

Updated 3-24-06
People looking for reviews and information on Doughboyz should head over to Lincolnite. Mr. Wilson has been there three times and has a review focused on the Chipotle Orange Shrimp pizza as well as a more comprehensive review of the restaurant.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Sunday night while I was falling asleep I heard a commercial for some chain restaurant, RubyBee's or TGI Tuesday or whatever, touting its selection of 36 burgers. I thought to myself, why do you need to have 36 burgers? I asked Sarah what restaurant needs 36 burgers on its menu. "Ruby Tuesday," she said.

It was then I realized I'd never been to the place. Fast forward to Monday evening. My seminar had run late and I wasn't up for cooking so I decided I might as well try the place before I start referring to it as TGI Apple Tuesday.

The first thing I realized was the 36 Burger claim was a little misleading. There are basic beef, bison and turkey burgers with optional toppings along with fish and chicken sandwiches. Fish and chicken are not burgers, OK? Some of them could be classified as separate burgers but the one I ordered, the Julius Cheezer (only because I'm a big fan of Rome on HBO and Rome: Total War, the PC strategy game), only differed from the regular cheeseburger in that it had jack and swiss along with cheddar. Why not give people the option of adding extra cheeses to the regular cheeseburger? Of course, who would think of adding two more cheeses to a cheeseburger were it not presented as an option on the menu?

Another thing about the burger. Downsize it! And cut the price by $.50 or so. When you go to these kinds of places you end up ordering an appetizer anyway, so by the time you get your burger you're just about full. Then the half-pound monstrosity shows up along with a pile of over-seasoned fries. I ended up bringing some of the appetizer and most of my fries home and ate them for breakfast (I've lately been eating lunch and dinner for breakfast for some reason).

The server seemed surprised when declined the salad bar for an additional $2.49. I agree the salad bar is nice but with all the food already challenging me, there was no way I was going to add to my tab by attempting to get my money's worth from the salad bar.

Admittedly, the salad bar is pretty good. Sarah got it along with a bowl of French Onion soup f0r $7.99 and when she returned from the salad bar I found myself wishing I'd opted for the soup & salad combo. Her salad plate was loaded with good salad greens, shelled edamame, bagel chips, sesame sticks, beets, and a ton of other stuff. It was dressed with a bleu cheese dressing with actual chunks of bleu cheese in it. I inspected the salad bar on the way out and noted the presense of walnuts and dried cranberries. It's a solid option on a Monday night but on busy nights I can't help but imagine a long queue for the salad, especially since it's only accessible on one side.

Sarah's soup fell into the category of foods I call too savory. A couple of other foods I've found to be too savory are the Freschetta Brick Oven smoked ham, portabello and onion sauce pizza and the Arby's pot roast sandwich. It was like Adam from Northern Exposure was in the kitchen demanding a herd of cattle so he could make one bowl of beef broth. It was too thick, too beefy, too salty and it covered up the taste of the cheese.

Drinkwise, I ended up ordering one of their Long Island Iced Teas which tasted pretty good but also allowed me to exit the place without staggering unlike the LIIT's found at Tam O'Shanter. By those standards, it didn't do its job. I had tried to order a blackberry lemonade with a shot of vodka in it but like most of the chain restaurants even the low-end liquor is overpriced. The very attentive, but not annoyingly so, server informed me a shot of Smirnoff was $4.50.

Overall, probably one of the better chain restaurant experiences I've had, though I still can't remember the last time I'd been to one before last night. It might be the time two years ago when the guys at Meineke couldn't find a part for my car so I wound up at TGI Fridays for three hours. If it hadn't been my mission to go to Ruby Tuesday last night I would have opted for either Scrumpy Jack's, about which I've heard good things, or Doughboys (anyone know what this place is all about?). All I've got to show for it is a Rolling Stones song repeating over and over in my head.


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