Sunday, August 24, 2008

RUBY'S RESTAURANT IS THE GEM OF GAINESVILLE RESTAURANTS



























Ruby's Restaurant located at 308 NW 5th Avenue (378-0490)is flat out my favorite restaurant in Gainesville and I recommend that you rush over and support this local business. I guarantee you will love their food. The first time I visited Ruby's I felt like Columbus when he first eyeballed the New World through his hand telescope. I was on to something very important. I felt like I had struck gold.

Once in a very, very rare while, I taste a dish in a restaurant that is so good on return visits I am incapable of ordering anything else on the menu. That experience has happened not once, not twice, but three times at Ruby's. Three of Ruby's signature dishes (there are more I have not tried yet) are Dirty Rice w/ Shrimp, Blueberry De-Lite, and their Gator Burgers. "Mercy," and a shake of the head is always my reaction after the first bite of each.

The Dirty Rice with Shrimp is a Louisiana inspired plate of rice and meat with beautiful seared and seasoned shrimp on top. I may never get past this dish when presented the menu. It is tasty and no one else in town has undertaken it. I will go back again and again for this spicy rice dish.

I am not really a dessert person but a taste of the Blueberry De-Lite is as fine a dessert as there is on the planet. New Orleans' Commander's Palace's bread souffle with whisky sauce has a challenger. The De-Lite has a crunch crust on the bottom with layers of pudding, cream cheese, blueberries, whipped cream and nuts. I try not to lead you into sin, but dive in on this one.

The Gator Burger is a show stopper. I was expecting your basic good small restaurant burger. Instead I saw them put the one pound patty on the grill. It looked like a frisbee. The burger came out perfectly cooked on Texas toast. I immediately knew that it was beyond my capacity so I cut it in half and saved the other half for a buddy at the office who loves fine burgers. I can not even imagine what the Double Gator Burger must look like.

Ruby's is owned by Ruby and Johnny Moore. Both come from families of fine cooks. If I were to label Ruby's, I would call it progressive home cooking. The Moores have put together a menu that pulls from African-American cooking traditions (the motherlode of Southern foodways) and takes that cuisine to the next level with unique twists and turns that make their dishes always tasty and often intriguing. Imagination and love are clearly at work at Ruby's. Their son, Johnny Jr., works in the restaurant and charms each customer with his enthusiasm for his parent's cooking. Give Ruby's a try. You will not be disappointed.

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