Category Archives: Written by Vicki

Hello again.

Rux Venison (1)

Venison. For the Table. Served with Ramen Risotto and Pomegranate Duck Jus.

Friends, it’s been years. Literally. The last entry was 3 years ago and we recently celebrated Ruxbin’s 5th anniversary! To bring you up to speed, we’ve grown immensely and with 5 years under our belt comes lessons learned and experience, which brings beautiful things like… change. Edward, Jen and I were discussing the best medium to share the news, in our very own words, and then it dawned on us – we need to bring back the blog! So here it is, from Chef Edward himself:

As a chef I spend a lot of time wrestling with the question of how can we do better, what challenges can we give ourselves so that we push ourselves and continue to grow.

Five years have passed since Ruxbin opened its doors and in that time we’ve been able to achieve more than we could have ever dreamed for, created amazing memories, and have been part of so many wonderful lives. It’s been a storybook ride. And through these past five years we’ve always had an a la carte menu; it’s a format that has served us well, but like a toddler with a security blanket, I feel that holding onto that same menu is now stifling our development, constricting us from growing up, and maturing. By changing our format from a la carte to one that is a hybrid of tasting and dinner party, where a minimum of five dishes is required, where guests must commune with one another from the onset, I feel we’ve created an exciting new path and goal for ourselves.

So much of a good dining experience is the communion people share when they eat with one another, and I feel that this new format will foster a greater sense of a shared experience. I feel that as a kitchen we will be given more flexibility to be more creative, and bolder in our flavors. How can we put out our best when a diner only has one entree and no appetizers, how can we create a cohesive narrative with only one or two dishes? On the a la carte menu, however small it was, I always felt that I had to have at least one option of beef, poultry, seafood, and that more than one vegetarian entree on a list of five was excessive. With this menu I no longer feel those limitations, and that I can properly fulfill one of my duties as a chef, feed people better, and at the same time indulge one of my not-so-shameful pleasures, subversively feeding people more veggies. I feel that within these five dishes our guests can walk away pleasantly filled, we won’t have to wrestle so much with the odd dynamic that the dollar value of a plate should be reflected by the quantity served, if one piece is enough, and two is too much, than one piece it is.

A classical symphony usually consists of four parts, with this new format I’m taking a little liberty and giving us five parts, and I’m excited, because I feel that with a set menu we will have room to compose our own story, it won’t show all we can do in a given night, and each party will be given some room to create their own narrative, but it will allow us a fair chance to properly showcase what we’ve got.

Come join us for dinner, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Our Sample Menu can be viewed HERE.

p.s. thanks for following us all these years. More to come 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Written by Vicki

Homefries

They say Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and flattered we were when we saw that Geekeats  “cloned” our fries.   We were very impressed with his method (score on the $2 fry cutter btw), and he even used a similar silver bowl!  Could’ve fooled us.

So I thought I’d follow suit and document our process so you and Geekeats can see how we make our fries, step by step, and perhaps try your hand at it at home:

Morning Potato Delivery arrives:

Potatoes go for a scrub and a peel:

Scrubbed

Peeled

Happily soaking (prevents oxidizing & softens potato) as they wait their turn to get cut....

Brute Strength or Methodical Finesse?

Methodical Finesse.

Cut fries soak to remove starch:

Quality Control

Starch water drained

Off to the fryer!

Fry Round 1 @ 325 degrees: Soft and cooked through

Fry Round 2: To order @ 350 degrees until GBD (Golden Brown & Delicious;)

Hot out of the fryer, the fries get tossed in a large bowl (larger surface area increases coating potential) with garlic confit, parsley, kosher salt and love. Toss well so as to get a coat of garlic confit goodness on each fry.

Parsley

Kosher Salt

Garlic Confit

Don't be timid, get in there

The fries are then served with our housemade Chipotle Aioli which consists of egg yolks, oil, lemon, garlic, and chipotle peppers.

Money

Ruxbin Garlic Fries

Enjoy:)

5 Comments

Filed under Written by Vicki

House Rules

Welcome to Ruxbin.

Thank you for joining us for dinner. We are excited to cook for you and have you as our guest. Ruxbin is our home. It houses our dreams and values. And while we invite you to be our guest, there are house rules.

House Rules:

Our food is labor intensive, our kitchen is tiny, your patience is appreciated.

No large groups: Parties up to 6 Sunday-Thursday, 4 Friday & Saturdays.

As this is a small restaurant, we may ask for your table after you’ve finished. 

We seat complete parties only.

Waitlist Courtesy: Let’s talk Commitment.  If you’re on the waitlist, you are committing to dine with us and we are committing to seat you. If your plans change, give us a courtesy call to allow other guests the opportunity to dine with us.

If you are in the Waiting area, please be patient while you wait to be waited on.

No grouchy pants allowed. You are responsible for agreeing to your wait time.  If you think the wait will ruin your evening, please do not leave your name on our wait list.

Please take phone calls outside. No laptops. No iPads.

It’s no secret that we are a tiny place. We max out at 32 seats, 10 tables for two and 3 booths. We have a kitchen probably smaller than the one you have at home, and no walk-in refrigeration which limits our storage space.  The other day we had a guest demand that we provide them with an extra chair- we don’t have extra chairs lying around, there is no storage for such thing. What you see is all that we have, and if your party is that large, then we simply are not able to accommodate you. We have limitations. Therefore, a set of House Rules are in order, to ensure an enjoyable experience for both our guests as well as the members of our Ruxbin Family.

Now what do I mean by “enjoyable experience”? Well, for one, by far the most popular question we receive here at Ruxbin is “how long is the wait”?  And this is where the experience begins… You see, the wait depends on you, the customer.  Every evening we typically fill the house by 6:30.  From there on we go on a wait and start allowing walk-ins to place their names on the waitlist.  And every evening there are several people that decide to not show up for their tables without cancellation notice.  This, my friends, screws both of us over, but mainly it screws you, the Diner.  It’s your fellow diners that do this to you.  Their place on the waitlist commits them a table for the night, meaning there is one less table to give out to you.  So either the previous customer that walked in equates to you having a longer wait or possibly them taking the last table for the night.

Take it from a fellow diner that came in the other night, visiting from LA:  “I love how you are walk in only, anyone can come in. Instead of having to wait 5 months to eat here, I only have to wait an hour and a half!”.  Here someone appreciates why we decided to stay walk in only in the first place – to be accessible. Given that we only have 32 seats, if we actually took reservations we would fill up so quickly that you’d have to plan your reservations far in advance.

So here’s a typical scenario: It’s Thursday night, the tables are full and the waitlist begins.  There are already several tables ahead of you waiting including Dan’s.  Now, you walk in at 6:45pm and ask for a table for 4, I typically have one of two answers:  A) There is a wait and the next table is estimated to be available around XX:XXpm  or   B) The wait list is full for the night and I am not able to take any more tables.  Now,  let’s say customer Dan haphazardly put his name on the waitlist thinking “well, I’m not going to wait that long, but just in case I will put my name down” (thinking no harm, no damage) and ends up eating elsewhere without giving us a call.  Well, if our buddy Dan gave me a simple courtesy call to cancel, that table could’ve been yours. But alas, you’ve already walked out the door 2 hours ago looking for another dinner option because you and I were both under the impression that Dan would be coming back for his table.

The above has been one of the toughest jobs I’ve had to do- turning away eager diners at the door, i.e. “But I just flew in from San Francisco”, “But I just took public transportation for 2 hours to get here”, “But I hired a babysitter for the night to eat here” , “But its my birthday”.  Trust me, all the heart wrenching pleas I hear at the door tug at my heart too, to the point that when I’m hosting, the kitchen braces themselves for critical mass and by night’s end are moments away from the breaking point, all because Vicki lets the crowds in. I can’t help but want to accommodate as many guests as I can.  But when we have a tiny restaurant that is able to only seat so many guests per night, and many are being turned away, all I can do is ask for a simple few rules to be followed so that people that want to eat here, can and enjoy themselves while doing so.

I’ve been learning a lot in the 1 year 4 months 11 days since we’ve opened.  I’ve experienced the spectrum from some really great guests to some that just tend to be plain, mean. But one thing I can certainly recognize, is that while we are in the hospitality industry with the intention to serve others, there is a fine line between being hospitable vs being a doormat.  Ruxbin is our home. We spend more time here than with our families.  It houses our dreams and values and we look forward to cooking for others. And while we invite you to be our guest, there are house rules.

 

5 Comments

Filed under Written by Vicki

5-Hour Energy

It's been busy. Fueling up the crew. This carbo load will get us to family meal:)

1 Comment

Filed under Written by Vicki

Patio Plans

Design:

Sketchbook

Team Consensus

Materials:

Pallet

Medicine Cabinet

Man with the plan:

Davide

Installation begins this week. Some may think we are nearing the end of “patio season” here in Chicago, but technically patio season runs until December 1st:) Exciting things to come.

3 Comments

Filed under Written by Vicki

Prototypes!

my face!

by Vicki 9:21am

What do all these things have in common? Or better yet, what are all these things?

Hint: Dining room.  Its a head-tilter, no?  Pics B & C were clues sent to us from the design team. Even im wondering how this will all piece together, but I’m excited to see what Mozart and crew will come up with!

They are all salvaged and reclaimed materials to be given new life.  Stories behind the pieces to come~

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Written by Vicki

DG

my face!

by Vicki, 1:28am

Time was of the essence, it was Thursday and Ed’s doppelgänger scheduled to drop off the deposit on Monday. We dropped it off on Saturday. Sheer stealth, in this case, won the game.

Here’s how it went down:

We get a call from a broker saying he can show us a space that we we’re interested in, and so we schedule a meeting. Here’s where it got strange in a Twilight Zone kind-of-way. When we get there it’s double-booked, with another prospective tenant, which isn’t that odd in itself, except that the other team was us. I mean this literally, not figuratively.

I get there early with my brother, Ed, and being the first there we spend several minutes by ourselves poking around and admiring the character and potential in the space when Ed’s doppelgänger shows up.

Now when I say doppelgänger (DG), let me give you the rundown: Mister 20-something, with his 2 partners oh-so conveniently viewing the space at the same scheduled time, hailing from a respectable culinary pedigree from Nor Cal, donning gray New Balance sneaks, fitted dark denim, print hoodie zip up, black waist jacket, tilted paperboy cap, and plastic black hipster frames, this was Ed’s DG to the T, minus the fact that he was caucasian. Then here’s Ed:  20-something, with his 2 partners viewing the space at the same scheduled time, hailing from a respectable culinary pedigree from So Cal, donning gray New Balance sneaks, fitted dark denim, print hoodie zip up, black waist jacket, tilted paperboy cap, and plastic black hipster frames. Catch my drift? I stood there, head tilted, shocked and amused – it was like looking in the mirror, it was…bizarro world.

But i digress. The point is, that we were on point. This is what I knew: Here is a space that not only we see potential in, but our twinsies did also and they were ready to go in for the kill. However, after courting many a space, we were tired and hungry and therefore better prepared to pounce on our prey.  Coming upon the dead of winter, timing was perfect as this would be our last chance to get our fill and hibernate (restaurant translation: work our butts off) to be ready to join in on the parade of springtime openings, before the summer rush.

Now, with location locked down, time to move.

3 Comments

Filed under Written by Vicki