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Ruthie's All Day - Chef-Owner Matt Hill's and GM-Owner Todd Salvadore's Chef-Driven, Barbecue-Centric, Family Restaurant on S. Glebe Road just off Route 50


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I go through reservation websites all the time, hoping to find a new restaurant with outdoor dining.  That's how I found Ruthie's All-day on Opentable.  And then I read a piece on the restaurant by Eater.  They also have free parking - that clinched the deal.

So I ordered Wood Grilled Oysters with yuzu kosho butter.  I had no idea what yuzu kosho butter is but what the heck!  It turned out to be delicious - I only wish the oysters were bigger.  The Wood Grilled Striploin with chimichurri was less magnificent (not a great piece of meat compared to the ribeye I've been buying at Balducci's).  But a good selection of sides.  I chose broccolini and braised greens just to make sure I got enough fiber.

It's priced to be a neighborhood joint so there were families with babies and young children.  

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Went back last night with last minute reservation.  Business was not as brisk as my last visit, probably due to the temperature in the low 50s.  I ordered the oysters again, and some deviled eggs to start.  I'm noticing that lots of places are doing deviled eggs, why the resurgence?  Is it because more people want more protein in their diet?  I've had them recently at St. Anselm as well as Texas Jack BBQ.  I got the deviled eggs just in case the rest of the food I ordered wasn't enough to sate me (but they turned out pretty good).  So for my meat I got the wood grilled salmon, with 3 sides: garlic broccolini, grilled bok choy, and kim chi dirty rice.  I asked for my salmon medium and it was dutifully translucent in the middle.  It was a smallish piece of salmon (like half of the salmon collar from St. Anselm) that was pretty good - I would've preferred more aggressive seasoning as well as more sear on the surface.  The dirty rice had nice flavor although I'm not sure I detected much kim chi.  I also ate my greens and then went back and finished my deviled eggs.

They're now doing 3 meals a day 7 days a week.  No outside heating as of yesterday.

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4 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I'm noticing that lots of places are doing deviled eggs, why the resurgence?  Is it because more people want more protein in their diet?  I've had them recently at St. Anselm as well as Texas Jack BBQ. 

Deviled Eggs are generally a high-profit item.

We had linner (4 PM) at Ruthie's a week ago, and even though they were in between services (dinner starts at 5), their kindly GM, Todd Salvadore, went back to check, and then told us the kitchen would make anything on the dinner menu - nice!

Ruthie's is the best restaurant in South Arlington, and a legitimate case can be made for it being the best restaurant in all of Arlington. All the better, considering it's a true family restaurant, open all day for all meals (this can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on staffing) - also because it's right off the intersection of Glebe Road and Route 50 which means it's quickly accessible from the North (McLean), East (DC), South (Alexandria), and West (Falls Church). 

Before Ruthie's moved in, this building was a Sherwin-Williams paint store! Here are some pictures of the interior:

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And their menu which you scan onto your phone and read: IMG_6822.PNG

The RBG ($11), raspberry shrub, blanc vermouth, and gin was pleasant, maybe a touch simple (their cocktails look like they may be on the "easy side" of concocting - which is necessary if they're serving them 60+ hours a week).

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Skillet Cornbread ($5) with benne honey butter was enough for two (and then some) - a dry-ish, granular cornbread, piping hot from being baked in-skillet, and crowned with a floret of honey butter which we needed to readjust for the photo (it had started to melt, and had ridden down the side of the cornbread). Ruthie's is a barbecue-centric restaurant, and this would be an optimal side order with their barbecue.

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Wood-Grilled Octopus ($14) with black-eyed pea hummus, lacinato kale (aka cavolo nero), and smoked chili aioli was the consensus favorite dish of the meal, and I urge any lovers of octopus to try it - I was leery of the condiments, but they knit harmoniously with the two large, beautifully cooked legs - they really got the flavors and texture of this dish right.

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The two main dishes were Brobdingnagian, and diners here need to be careful not to over-order. Fried Chicken Cobb Salad ($16) with avocado, farm egg, apple-wood bacon, green beans, romaine, and smokey blue cheese was loaded down with thickly battered pieces of assertively fried chicken, making up in size for what it lacked in seasoning (a lot of people enjoy batter like this; I prefer a bit more spicing - we enjoyed the chicken (carried out in a separate box) more at home with a little added salt). With this dish, you get a sampling of their bacon, their deviled eggs, and their fried chicken tenders.

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I wish I'd been hungrier because my Wood-Fired Bacon-Wrapped Trout ($24) with shaved fennel and orange, Anson Mills grits, and braised greens was very good, and well-worth a repeat order. Leave it to a chef such as Matt Hill to have our two favorite dishes at a barbecue-oriented restaurant be octopus and trout. This was an exceedingly generous portion that wasn't at all shy with its use of bacon as a wrap. 

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My sense is that both Matt Hill and Todd Salvadore are hungry to succeed with Ruthie's - they committed to opening it in 2019, and are going full-throttle to make it the best it can be. This is a true neighborhood restaurant that's worth a trip from the next city over, and although I've only been here once, I suspect I'll be something of a regular here because even though there's something here for everyone, the standards are quite high. When I think of Ruthie's, two restaurants that come to mind are Unconventional Diner and Family Meal

Incidentally, a half-pound of brisket purchased as carryout made for some terrific sandwiches. I'm initiating coverage of Ruthie's in Italic, and as the #1 restaurant in South Arlington, replacing Thai Square for now (Thai Square's cooking is quite good, but the quality of their seafood is abysmal (Kabob Palace is in Crystal City which is its own category - I'm glad I don't have to compare these two *very* different restaurants)).

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On 11/2/2020 at 1:05 PM, zgast said:

Please tell me someone else had to google this.

I promise I wasn't being a douche with a thesarus; I actually suffered through Gulliver's Travels once (it's a very old (1726), very long (300 pages), slog-of-a-book with Gulliver visiting four lands - the land of Brobdingnag (giants) was the opposite of the land of Lilliput (teeny-tiny people)). I figured after thirty years, I could throw the word in one time (if I use it again, slap me).

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8 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

I promise I wasn't being a douche with a thesarus; I actually suffered through Gulliver's Travels once (it's a very old (1726), very long (300 pages), slog-of-a-book with Gulliver visiting four lands - the land of Brobdingnag (giants) was the opposite of the land of Lilliput (teeny-tiny people). I figured after thirty years, I could throw the word in one time (if I use it again, slap me).

It's a bit of a flight - mind if I deputize DishGo if you use it again?

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Highly recommended from the weekend brunch menu: Brisket Hash ($14), with roasted potatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts, peppers, poached egg, and mustard-seed cream (my tub of sauce was a mild picante). This has plenty of brisket chunks, and is a filling carryout meal for $14. More importantly, it maintains a degree of elegance and teeters on the verge of being semi-healthy - there’s nothing gratuitous about this. For me, this is a repeat order, and the runny egg puts it squarely in mid-day territory.
 

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(The moisture in the picture is because this was the second order, which had been sitting covered for awhile; I had just finished the first.)

PS - Their biscuits with jam are *really* good, but I wish they’d give twice as much jam. Be aware that the beef sausage is a wurst-like link; not a crumbly patty (in case you’re thinking of constructing sausage biscuits).

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6 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I go as far as to say I think their [McDonald's'] biscuits are pretty darn good.  I had a hard time finding good biscuits when I lived in NYC and when I first moved to DC (in the 90s).

Make sure and try the biscuits at Ruthie's All-Day.

(And just as I posted, I see I already said this up above.)

BTW, I got that Brisket Hash once again as carryout (this time with three (3!) poached eggs), and it's really a good meal. Biscuits and strawberry jam go perfectly with this.

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