Sunday, July 29, 2012


We had Dinner Club at Ruxbin on Thursday. I loved this place.

I read about it a little online and of course studied the menu beforehand. I loved that they don't take reservations. I loved that it's BYOB. I loved their "house rules". I loved their rooftop garden. I was so excited to go.

Then I got there and one of the chefs was just hanging out outside. Totally nice. Totally approachable. I recognized him from the blog and felt awkward at first – but was quickly put at ease. So nice. I was glad I'd read about their seating policy and how our whole party was supposed to be there, but then I wasn't quite sure what to do/where to go – he was kinda blocking the door. It was nice out so I just decided to sit down on this – I don't know what to call it? – Structure? It was kind of a salvaged patio, kind of a train car, kind of an uncovered covered wagon? The seats were made out of plastic crate pallets, the end tables old elementary school desk tops, there was a "bar" with sliding glass medicine cabinet doors. The roof was simply a criss-crossed string of lights.

The other DC members started to arrive and we all sat out on the benches with the other people waiting for their complete parties to get there. It was a diverse group of people. The chef/greeter/"bouncer" went over the entire menu in extreme detail with one girl who was waiting. We listened. We drank cans of beer. At one point Jason let us know we could wait upstairs, inside, but we stayed put. (Upstairs on the landing there's a stainless steel industrial table and wooden bench on a balcony for waiting, a bathroom to the right, and an open doorway blocked with a deli-style refrigerator case and a view to the little kitchen with the chefs cooking behind it. Above the opening was a chalk board with the housemade sodas of the day: some kind of citrus passion fruit tea and a lavender lemonade (we had both, yum!)).

So before I talk about the food, I have to describe the bathroom. Remember those photography class dark room doors? That are more like a cylindrical can, and then the door spins around as you turn it and next thing you know, you're inside? That's the door to the bathroom. "VACANT --->" and "OCCUPIED <---" signs show you how to get in and if it's in use. Super cool and great. Then the walls were wallpapered with concert flyers and it was dark inside and lit by candles.

Ok, and the decor is all random and vintage and salvage and wood and metal and the overall effect is cozy and warm. Light streamed into the intimate tight dining room from the large picture window. All kinds of interesting lighting, shades, beams, bars, and colors filled the room. The ceiling is papered with pages from cookbooks.

There were five of us and we decided immediately we'd just order and share. We got four appetizers (tuna, beet salad, octopus, and garlic french fries). The octopus (grilled chickpeas, pickled green onions, radish, black soy bean, grapes and a ginger-scallion vinaigrette) – I think he said is marinated in wine for two days before it's prepared – was my favorite. But I don't think you can count the fries. Because the Fries. Were. Amazing.

For entrees we got the Tomato Tart, Sea Scallops, Amish Chicken, Pork Loin and Salmon. You can read the details here while the menu lasts. I loved it all. I think the consensus of the table, if we had to order them, went pork/chicken, tomato tart, scallops, then salmon. The dishes kind of rolled out staggered as they were prepared. Our server let us know/asked if that would be ok. We said yes.

Which leads me to, I thought the service was excellent. It was kind of service by everyone. Different people took our order, delivered plates, cleared empties, opened wine bottles. You could tell everyone there worked as a team and truly, they seemed to all genuinely love what they were describing, preparing, and serving. When we asked our waitress what her favorites are, she literally basically ended up listing everything on the menu!

I didn't get any shots of the actual food!
It was like the plates were cleaned the minute they were set down.

After dessert – we got both the berry shortcake and the pretzels & beer – we felt like we needed to beat it out of there to open up our table. So we took our leftover beer and wine and headed back to the "patio" out front for our after dinner cocktail. I have no idea if this was allowed or not, but nobody stopped us and nobody seemed to care.

Anyway, like I said originally, I loved this place. I can't wait to go back.

PS: The blog, which I kind of can't stop reading, is a thorough account of concept to creation to the opening of this restaurant. You can tell everyone involved loves it, which is probably why the people that go there love it too.

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