Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
By Brian W. Fairbanks
From the moment I walked in the door of Ruby Tuesday in Beachwood, Ohio, I liked the ambience. Moderately lit, as any restaurant with a bar tends to be, it was still bright enough to see the movie posters and lobby cards decorating the walls.
Movie posters! Lobby cards! Oh my!
These were merely reproductions, the kind that can be purchased online for fifteen bucks or so, but as a movie buff, I was pleased. None of the movies represented are classics, but that turned out to be appropriate.
The poster for Support Your Local Gunfighter is pretty colorful, but the James Garner vehicle was a mediocre follow-up to Support Your Local Sheriff. The poster for The Sorcerers is rather eye catching, but the movie appeared at the less impressive tail end of Boris Karloff’s lengthy career. The poster for Tarzan and the Great River had the most impressive artwork of all, but it’s a Tarzan movie that even I hadn’t heard of. It starred Mike Henry who hasn’t even taken his place beside Gordon Scott, let alone Johnny Weismuller, as one of the most popular interpreters of Edgar Rice Burrough’s paperback icon. These are forgettable B flicks, and it’s appropriate because Ruby Tuesday is a forgettable B joint.
After my companion and I climbed into the booth, and we had to climb because there is a potentially hazardous step to maneuver, we were promptly greeted by our server. She seemed polite enough to me, but my companion would later describe her as “crude.” As usual, coffee was my beverage of choice. It arrived quickly, perhaps too quickly. It was lukewarm, and I downed it in one or two gulps to prevent it from cooling off further. The next cup was piping hot, however, and I nearly burned my tongue on the subsequent refills.
The menu was populated by the usual junk - hamburgers, etc, but only after several minutes of perusing did I find any trace of seafood. It was Friday night, after all. Even though it’s been years since the Catholic Church banned meat from the faithful’s diet, and it’s been almost as many years since I adhered to the rulings of Catholicism, I want fish on Friday. Heck, I want fish every day of the week.
With little to choose from, I ordered the Creole fish with rice and broccoli. My companion treated herself to the salad bar where return visits are encouraged. She was pleased with her salad, and also gave high marks to the margarita she ordered, but I was disappointed the minute my fish arrived. Where was the tartar sauce? It should be placed on the table when the dinner arrives. I had to wait for my server to reappear before putting in my request for this condiment, and by then, I had already started to dig in. When the sauce arrived, I spread it on the fish. Suddenly, the otherwise bland meal acquired some kind of taste.
“Taste” is not a word I associate with rice unless it’s topped with soy sauce, duck sauce, or some kind of sauce, but except for that tartar sauce, which I wouldn’t eat on rice, no sauce was provided. The rice had a predictably dry taste, and even before I started to scoop it up with my fork, I knew I wouldn’t finish it. The broccoli was good, but I found myself wishing the fish came with fries, mashed potatoes, or onion rings - more traditional accomplices for a Friday night fish dinner. My companion chastised me, insisting that french fries are cheap, and that rice was a better value for my money, as well as better for my health. I wasn’t swayed.
Except for her less than flattering characterization of our server, my companion had no complaints until she ordered a second margarita. The first time around, a server other than the one who waited on us came to the table, shook the contents in a tumbler, and poured it in a glass. But there was still enough left in the tumbler for a refill. The second time around, when our server did the honors, one glass is all she got. It reminded me of when I was a child, and my mother would take me to one of those now extinct drug store soda fountains where they'd mix the milk shakes I loved in one of those big metal containers. After pouring the shake into a Coke glass, they would leave the container. I could usually fill a second Coke glass with the remains. I remember one time when they tried to cheat me, and my mother gave them hell. My companion didn’t give them hell, but her disappointment was reflected in her tip. My disappointment was reflected in my decision not to eat at Ruby Tuesday again.
I may be wrong, but I always assumed Ruby Tuesday took its name from the song by The Rolling Stones, the one in which Mick Jagger sings "Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday," and follows his farewell with the following question:
"Who could hang a name on you?"
24325 CHAGRIN BOULEVARD
BEACHWOOD, OH 44122
Brian W. Fairbanks has no particular "policy" when it comes to reviewing a restaurant. He shows up and eats. If he isn't satisfied on his first visit to the establishment in question, he won't return.
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