After a Sunday morning hike on Theodore Roosevelt Island, I was looking for a place nearby to eat brunch. A quick search turned up Ruthie’s All-Day in nearby Arlington Heights, Virginia. The name made it sound like a good, local, hole in the wall. So that is where I went. Ruthie’s is certainly local, but hole in the wall it is not.
Ruthie’s (named after the chef’s grandmother) was opened by DC restaurant veterans Chef Matt Hill and his business partner Todd Salvadore in the Fall of 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic. But that does not seem to have hampered it much as the place was packed when I got there, about mid-morning. Fortunately, they were able to find me a seat. It seems most people make reservations.
The Sunday brunch menu has all the classics your would expect — eggs with sausage, biscuits and gravy, omelettes, hash, pancakes, and Eggs Benedict — but with a twist. The restaurant features a southern combination called “Meat and 3” where the customer gets to pick one meat along with three sides. While “Meat and 3” is not on the brunch menu, the emphasis on barbecue is reflected in the accompanying meats. You can get the eggs with a hanger steak; the hash has brisket with it; and the grits come with pulled port.
I decided on the “Brisket Bennie”, an Eggs Benedict with Brisket instead of bacon and biscuits instead of English muffins.. It is a pretty good Benedict. The brisket is very good. So is the hollandaise sauce. However, only one of my two eggs was runny. The other was over cooked. The biscuit could have been more flaky, but otherwise was tasty. The Benedict was served with a side of arugula salad and it was amazing! The salad had fresh greens with pickled red onions and a tangy vinaigrette sauce. Delicious!
Ruthie’s brunch menu has two choices for dessert: Warm Campfire Cookies or Butterscotch Pudding. Both sounded delicious. But as I had recently done the Maryland Ice Cream Trail and the cookies were served with ice cream, I decided I wanted a dessert where it was not a major player. So Butterscotch Pudding it was. The pudding is decadent! It has a rich and strong butterscotch taste and is topped with a Chantilly cream that provides good contrast. A nice touch is crumbled heath bars on top, giving it a bit of a crunch. Just excellent!
As I mentioned above, Ruthie’s was very crowded. But that did not affect the serviced at all. I was promptly seated and served. My tea (English Breakfast) came out right way, and the food came out quickly as well. More importantly, the wait staff was friendly and courteous and did make me feel rushed at all. The restaurant feels a bit upscale, more like fine dining and not at all like a roadside diner. Ruthie’s has a large indoor space and a good sized outdoor deck as well.
With good food and a pleasant dining experience, I will definitely eat at Ruthie’s All-Day the next time I am in the area.