Ruby Slipper Cafe
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
From opening day, The Ruby Slipper (it sounds like a bar, but doesn’t really have one) has proven (not for the first time) that our city could use some more clever breakfast places. Here the meal is rendered in a range that goes from standard to unheard-of. Either way, it’s a pleasure, and the almost giddy attitude of the staff gets the day off to a bright start, if somewhat slowed by the size of the meal.
The menu is as creative as any this side of Brennan’s, and uses excellent fresh ingredients carrying pedigrees you’d find in a gourmet bistro (applewood-smoked bacon, stone-ground grits, and fresh local shrimp, to name three). Particularly good is the restaurant’s use of local flavors not often seen at breakfast. Like pork or duck debris, or bananas Foster. Fresh-squeezed orange juice!
The Ruby Slipper opened in 2008 and instantly caught on with the residents of Mid-City. That’s a younger crowd than it was before the hurricane, and one that recovered faster and better than most other deeply-flooded neighborhoods. The Slipper gained a cult quality, with regular customers willing to wait out on the sidewalk for long periods of time to eat there.
A well-done conversion of from an old store, the place is bigger than it looks upon entering. Small rooms are filled with tables, but not to the point that you’re in the faces of people at the next table. The restaurant is at the other end of the block from Mandina’s; there’s a small parking lot behind it, but don’t count on finding a space. The sidewalk is furnished with a couple of tables (only for waiting) and some stoops for sitting.
Eggs Blackstone (poached, tomato, bacon, hollandaise).
Migas (scrambled, Mexican style, with chorizo).
BBQ shrimp and grits.
Crabcake with hollandaise and eggs.
Eggs cochon (with pork debris and hollandaise).
Creole eggs (boudin, Creole sauce, hollandaise, eggs poached in crab boil).
Duck debris and sweet potatoes with eggs.
Eggs or oysters Sardou.
Variations on Central American breakfasts, with black beans.
Basic breakfast combinations.
Bananas Foster lost bread.
Caesar salad or spinach salad.
Chicken salad sandwich.
Ruby Slipper club sandwich (ham, turkey, guacamole, Swiss, arugula).
FOR BEST RESULTS
Show up about a half-hour before the time you want to eat, and enter your name on the list attached to the inside of the front door. Grab a cup of coffee and read the newspaper or hang with your fellow diners on the sidewalk in front. It almost doesn’t matter what you eat; it’s good across the spectrum.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The biscuits are too heavy and dry, and the grits too loose.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Consistency +1
- Value +1
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +2
- Local Color +2
- Outdoor tables, drinks only
- Open Sunday lunch
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- No reservations