For anyone who dines out frequently (raises hand, awkwardly avoids making eye contact with debit card) there are few things better than having the kind of dining experience where the only thing that goes wrong during the meal is that you didn’t open your last bottle of BYO wine before you started dessert and can no longer justify asking the waitress for a corkscrew.
Named one of the Top 5 Best Restaurants in the US by Bon Appetit Magazine in 2011, Ruxbin Kitchen is a tiny, 32-seat restaurant with a no-reservations policy and a restroom that looks like a cross between a photobooth, a porta-potty and a vortex into another dimension where I half-expected to step into the Hunger Games arena instead of, you know, a room with a toilet and sink.
I know, you aren’t here to find out what the bathroom looks like, but it’s all part of the restaurant’s rustic decor, with most of the wall art and fixtures made of repurposed materials (think: eclectic flea market finds that no one actually buys). While you might be momentarily distracted by the decor, you’ll refocus as soon as your first plate is set in front of you.
The food at Ruxbin is modern American, which might not sound impressive but the kitchen is about the size of a modest walk-in closet so how the chefs are able to make magic back there is unbeknownst to me. While I won’t tell you what you should order, I will suggest that you go with a group and each order a different dish so you can try more items.
For appetizers, you can’t go wrong with an order of garlic fries, that are served hot and crispy with a side of chipotle aioli (and when they say garlic, they mean garlic). A delicious beet salad offers roasted, pickled and shaved beets alongside house made ricotta, pistachios and white anchovies (the squeamish ask for anchovies on the side, but the server recommended against it).
Where main dishes are concerned, you literally can’t go wrong on this menu. Though the menu is meat-heavy, with steak, chicken, pork and seafood options, vegetarians will be pleased with the tomato tart, made with silken tofu, carmelized onions, balsamic reduction and seasonal vegetables. The trout is served atop a bed of warm spelt, cauliflower, kalamata olives and golden raisins while the Amish chicken is served with Brussels sprouts and ‘pain perdu’ – bread with apple and gouda fried in butter.
The pork loin with fava beans, heirloom baby carrots and pistou was also tender and flavorful and while most experimental restaurants leave a kit to be desired in the portion category, the main plates offered the perfect amount of food for four females with respectable appetites.
Now that I’ve raved about the food (and of course, the time-machine bathroom) I’ll get to the important part: the dessert. I’m never the first person to order dessert after a big dinner, but I’m also not one to say no to it. The chocolate pot de creme, which is a fancy word for chocolate pudding, was far and away one of the best things I’ve tasted. It’s served with bacon cotton candy (just humor me) and spicy chili sea salt but the chocolate flavor is outrageous and I would like to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.