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48-M, Outer Circle, Connaught Palace, New Delhi 110001, DL

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Saturday Afternoon at Ruby Tuesday
Sep 28, 2006 04:31 PM 8097 Views
(Updated Sep 28, 2006 04:38 PM)

Food and Presentation:


Customer Service:

Value for Money:

I didn't plan to eat at Ruby Tuesday (RT) on Saturday. In fact, I didn't plan to eat at RT on any day. However, thanks to an INOX voucher I won----not the Mouthshut one---, I got to watch Pyar Ke Side Effects for free. Given that all multiplex food sucks, I don't normally eat it, except if it's a branded outlet. At INOX, Nariman Point, RT looked like a good option. Even if it was a Saturday.

So how good is it?

Well, this is a classic American diner: comfortable and diverse types of seating, walls covered with faux sports memorabilia, huge menu cards (another example of All-American bigness), trained-to-be-extra-cheerful attendants, computerized billing and order processing, and loyalty programs. If McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC are truly transnational brands with homogenous cuisines, RT belongs to the classic American diner category along with Applebee's, Max-n-Erma's, Longhorn Steak House, and PF Chang's. I haven’t seen any of them here, so I guess RT’s first off the block.

The former category has had varied success, depending on how Indianized their menus are. None of them of course offer Indians the diversity of cuisines that the American south boasts of. RT offers several of these: Cajun, Georgian, Mexican, and Caribbean. And of course they have regular WASP food. (I am calling everything they have, apart from the ones mentioned above, WASP food--let me know if you know something more apt)

I love the menu cards at these places, and on my trip to Atlanta in May-June this year, I made it a point to get some menu cards as souvenirs. Believe me, they are works of art in themselves. I spent nearly 15 minutes just browsing through the cards. As can be expected on a lazy Saturday afternoon, there weren't too many customers so I guess the staff wasn't impatient or intrusive. These chains really do train their people well--something Indian chains would do well to emulate.

The range of cuisines on offer made it difficult for me to choose, and I must confess the descriptions make every dish sound very inviting. I was tempted to order a Quesadilla, something I had favored in that Atlanta trip. But that is a heavy meal on its own, and I simply wanted something that would last me until the afternoon.

I ordered the RT Spicy Chicken Salad and a lemonade (:-P). The lemonade came st away. While I was waiting for the salad, I read some more of the menu. I didn't expect to spend more than 10 minutes because any salad at an American diner is really not a special dish and it was a Saturday afternoon with few people. Yet, 10 minutes later, I found myself whipping out my Sudoku book. That's when the attendant realized it was a bit late and hastened to find out what had happened to my order. Not funny given the amount of time he spent afterwards putting the spiel on me about their loyalty program.

What abt the salad? It is, frankly, very good. The chicken was well-cooked, the spice, which was for once not bell peppers or jalapeno, was well balanced, and the fried flat noodle in sauce was a beautiful balance of spice and sour. The portions are sufficient for one person: remember that in the US, they do not share their dishes like we do, so American portions tend to be large. This one wasn't as large as an American portion might be, but it was filling. Incidentally, although the menus ask people to avoid sharing dishes, I saw every group doing it, and the staff wasn't really bothered. Well, I guess RT's and everyone else in that category will soon learn their lesson. There were people of diverse kinds there: a yuppie family of four, a group of teenage girls, a pucca Gujju businesspeople group, and several couples. So the sharing was rather obvious.

The lemonade was the usual American style with the sharpness of mint in it and lots of ice. Be sure to tell them if you don’t want ice. Unfortunately, unlike in the US, I don’t know if there are free refills. I didn’t remember to ask so if you do go to one of the three RTs in Mumbai, do ask for the drink refill.

The prices took me by surprise. I wasn't planning on a big meal, but RT is expensive even for an international brand. All dishes start from Rs 200—the salad was Rs 215. That translates to $ 5 and up— that’s regular in Atlanta and Dallas, the cities I visited,but not here surely. The non-alcoholic beverages are Rs 75 and up as are the side orders such as wings, French fries, potato, and garlic breads. If you are a party of one and not looking to have a heavy meal, this is not for you. However, the paradoxical part is that the portions of even the appetizers are big enough to fill you up.

The cutlery is wrapped, and they quickly replace it if they or you drop it. The place really is squeaky clean.

I was curious about their loyalty program, and the attendant was too eager to get me to sign up, even pulling his manager into the negotiation. The program is totally VFM. No doubt about it. For Rs 4,000 a year, you get Rs 3,000 worth of vouchers. And you get substantial discounts every time you eat or drink at any RT outlet across the world. They are valid for a year, so that's the only catch. The only reason I haven't signed up was that none of the RTs in Mumbai are anywhere on my regular routes to and from work or friend's places. So I am not about to return frequently, unless I keep winning more INOX vouchers.

Another thing: RT includes a service charge in every bill (around 10 % of the total amount, I think). I checked with the manager and the attendant that the staff gets that money. So you need not tip. Of course, if the service sucks for some reason, you might not like the mandatory service charge. I doubt that though. If there's one thing American restaurants do better than any other, it's the service. My outgo was Rs 367 for just two items so now you know why I say it’s not for a single person.

Ruby Tuesday

Branches: Nariman Point, Mulund, Malad, and opening soon at Bandra (acc to the NP manager)

Cuisines: Cajun, Mexican, Caribbean, and others.

Alcoholic beverages: Yes, good range

Seating: couple tables, group tables, couches, bar stools

Prices: Most food items: Rs 200 onwards; alcoholic beverages: Rs 150 onwards; non-alcoholic beverages: Rs 75 onwards

  • Service charge added on total bill

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Ruby Tuesday - Connaught Place - Delhi