Though I had the honor of dining at Ruxbin during their soft opening, it took me almost 2 years to finally go back after they officially opened for business. Shame on me. I know. Double shame since I know the owners via Queen G and we've all hung out multiple times.
Queen G knew that Ruxbin was on my Chicago bucket list, so when her friend was in town, she invited me to tag along. Which I did. Shamelessly.
Due to their popularity and no reservation policy, the wait at Ruxbin is known to get quite daunting at times. Luckily, we went on a night when it was relatively quiet:
It was my first time sitting in the actual dining room, so I had to take a minute (or three) to soak in all the creative details of the decor:
The four of us started with some garlic fries with chipotle aioli:
The fries were piled so high I was surprised the bowl didn't topple over. If you like shoestring fries, this is definitely for you.
We also got the beet salad, which came with roasted, pickled, then shaved beets, housemade ricotta, pistachio praline, pumpernickel (I love that word), white anchovy, orange, and greens. The plating and the colors were simply gorgeous:
The perfect bite had a little bit of everything.
We also got the octopus:
The octopus was grilled and it was served with fried chickpeas, pickled green onions, radish, black soybean, roasted grapes, and ginger-scallion vinaigrette.
For our entrees, we split the trout, which rested on a bed of spelt (a type of wheat) and decorated with cauliflower, kalamata olive, and golden raisins:
The trout was perfectly cooked with the perfect crust. Yum.
We also split the pork loin:
It came with fava beans, baby carrots, ramp pistou, and basil.
Because Queen G's friend was feeling sick, she got her own entree, Ruxbin's play on beef and broccoli:
She was kind enough to share her dish with the rest of us. And maybe it's my love of beef talking, but I think that was my favorite entree. The hanger steak was so very tender and went so well with the broccolini and miso butter. And get this...RICE TOTS. Holy moly.
We couldn't resist ordering both desserts. First was the chocolate pot de creme:
The chocolate was super decadent, but the surprise came in the cumin tuile, bacon cotton candy, and coffee-chili salt. Genius.
The big finale came in the form of fried hand pie:
Vicki was kind enough to come around to our table and introduce the dessert to us. Apparently, since Ruxbin is BYOB, a lot of people have asked them to add a fruit and cheese platter to the menu. The fried hand pie is Ruxbin's answer to that request. The fruit is found in the pie. The cheese in the gorgonzola ice cream. Yup, you read that correctly. Gorgonzola ice cream. All of us were awed by how the ice cream could taste like cheese and yet not overpoweringly so.
Ruxbin has certainly matured and grown into itself over the last two years. I really feel that I've been able to witness Ruxbin grow from its initial building stages (as documented on their blog) into the well-established and well-loved restaurant that it is today. Without a doubt, it deserves all the accolades it's received both locally and nationally.
Ruxbin is always evolving, so make sure to drop in every time the menu changes with the seasons!
851 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622