One the side: Ruby's B-B-Q

By Dale Rice
Austin American-Statesman
Thursday, October 5, 2000

Ruby's B-B-Q
512 W. 29th St.

It's a different type of barbecue joint.

Of course, there's plenty of good smoked meat and enough vinegar in the spicy sauce to pucker your tastebuds. And there's Elgin hot sausage and chopped beef sandwiches. All the traditional marks of a good Central Texas barbecue joint.

But when was the last time you saw a barbecue joint post a note so patrons will know that all of its salad dressings (five, including Gorgonzola and ginger-soy) are homemade?

Or offer two varieties of beans (black and barbecue), potato salad (chunky mayonnaise and creamy mustard) and coleslaw (vinaigrette and creamy with poppy seeds)?

Or tout a smoked chicken salad sandwich?

If you haven't dined at the family-owned Ruby's B-B-Q at 29th and Guadalupe streets, your answer may be "never."

If you have eaten there, then you know why you're likely to go back.

One good way to get a sense of Ruby's is to order the half-pound mixed combo plate ($9.25), which features two meats and two sides.

The brisket, smoked chicken and sausage were moist, lean and tender, while the pork ribs were on the dry side (often a problem if you take a late lunch). They were served on butcher paper with onions, pickles, sauce and bread.

The chunky mayonnaise potato salad was spiked with lots of chopped red onion, the creamy mustard potato salad was exactly that, the barbecue beans had a spicy kick and the vinaigrette coleslaw was crisp and fresh.

Finally, there was dessert: a creamy sweet potato pie ($2.50) and fresh peach cobbler ($3.25) that were too good to pass up. (Even filled with barbecue we found room for those.)

And in what may be anathema to a typical meat joint, Ruby's even has a vegetarian selection -- a jambalaya that is made with zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, corn and carrots and served with black beans.

Like I said, this is a different barbecue joint.