Ruby’s is a great neighborhood joint that’s been around for well over a decade. They started with one location in Soho and opened a second more recently in Murray Hill. They don’t take reservations and because the place is small (particularly the Soho location) you will wait a long time if you go during peak times. Brunch seems to be the most popular and you’ll be waiting a minimum of 30 minutes unless it happens to be a fluke day. We were a table of 5 and waited about 40 minutes, but the nice thing is that you can leave and do whatever you want (walk around, sit at a park, etc.) and they’ll call you when the table is ready.
What I love about this place is that it’s Australian owned and operated. Australians have their own unique style and have a very intense focus on good coffee and good breakfast foods, so it’s really the perfect breakfast/brunch spot. While they also serve sandwiches, burgers, and pasta for brunch, a big draw is their “Brekkie”, served until 1 pm on weekdays and 4 pm on weekends.
Because they are Australian, they serve vegemite toast, which I was so excited to see. It’s not something I generally love or crave, but I mean where on earth can you get vegemite toast in NYC? It’s so hard to find, so I couldn’t resist trying that. You have a choice of ciabatta or eight grain bread. I chose the eight grain and I got two large toasted pieces of it. They bring the vegemite in the tub, so you can put as much of it as you want. And there’s also a side of butter. Delicious. The quality of the bread was great and, well, vegemite is vegemite!
We also tried the Whaleys Burger and the Quinoa Bowl.
Whaleys Burger – ground beef burger, tomato, lettuce, beet, pineapple, fried egg & ketchup. What a seemingly weird combo, but boy did it work oddly well! Served on toasted bread rather than a bun. No sides. I’d recommend the burger for sure. It’s an interesting, unique take on it.
Quinoa Bowl – there are so many quinoa bowls around and they can be hit or miss. This one is a huge hit. Surprisingly good. It came with broccolini, cauliflower, green beans, avocado, sunflower seeds, a soft egg, and feta. There was a pickled taste to some of the veggies, but very lightly so and it added nice depth and flavor. The dressing was mild, and the dish was light and tasty. I would highly recommend it if you want something that isn’t heavy.
In true Australian form, the coffee was great.
Because it was jam packed, the service was a bit spottier, but all the servers were nice, just quite busy. It’s also incredibly loud because of both the talking noise and the music, so it’s not really a place you’d want to go to have a serious, in depth conversation. But it’s certainly bustling, casual (benches, so be aware that not all seats have backs), and has good food, so I’d recommend it for a quick stop with friends.