There have been so many new restaurants opening in Ann Arbor over the past few weeks! I am excited to try them all. Lena (not brand new; I’ve only had drinks in the basement Habana, but not eaten there yet), Isalita (dying to go here), Kuroshio, Vellum, and R.U.B. BBQ.
Thursday at the office we were trying to decide where to go for happy hour when Five Star SexiMexy received a FlockTag text coupon for a free appetizer with the purchase of two drinks at R.U.B. BBQ. Decision made!
R.U.B. now has three locations, including restaurants in Detroit, Warren, and now, Ann Arbor – on the corner of State and Packard.
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Upon entering, we were seated by friendly staff immediately. Before we even sat down our eager server came to take our drink orders, and pointed out the large selection of beers on draft, including lots of Michigan beers. Soon they will be expanding to having a HUGE selection – 50 drafts. There is also an illuminated fully-stocked bar. Unfortunately, despite the well-stocked bar, there is not yet a cocktail menu at R.U.B. – perhaps this is something that will be eventually added. I decided to go with a Bell’s Double Cream Stout to drink. Since the specials card at our hightop table indicated that one of the Thursday happy hour specials was 1/2 off mixed drinks, Five Star had a vodka and juice concoction. (We later learned the discount wasn’t valid on top shelf liquors – hopefully soon the signage will be changed to reflect this and leave no room for confusion!)
We informed our server that we had a FlockTag coupon for a free appetizer, and ordered the “Catfish Nips,” which the menu describes as “fresh water catfish nips dusted with our light cornmeal breading and fried golden crisp served over a piece of Texas toast.” These were really tasty and I loved the cornmeal batter. The “nips” (where did that name come from!?) certainly did NOT taste as though they were from a frozen bag – they tasted fresh. I was a big fan of the homemade remoulade as well. The presentation, with a piece of Texas toast and cole slaw, was really nice, but we didn’t eat the “garnishes.” Our only complaint was that we wanted more!
I ordered a pulled pork sandwich (The Nugent!) on Texas toast. The Texas toast was fine but I would have liked to have seen it buttered and grilled! I left much of the bread behind to make room for other carbs – my side dish: mac & cheese! This was some very tasty mac & cheese. The top was browned with a little crisp and chew – the best part! The interior was creamy, cheesy, and rich. Good stuff.
As for the pulled pork, I liked it. It was good. R.U.B.’s meats are “smoked on premises daily,” per their website. I might have liked to have seen more meat and less slaw on my sandwich. Definitely a tasty, quality product here but there might be a couple other local places that have the edge, at least in terms of pulled pork. I would like to try more of their smoked meats in the future (pulled chicken, brisket, rib tips, burnt ends, smoked salmon, etc.) before I form a full opinion on their BBQ. So far so good.
And the sauces! I was pretty impressed by the sauces. I can’t help but compare local restaurants to each other when they are similar in style. In this case I was mentally comparing R.U.B.’s sauces to Satchel’s sauces and I must say that I personally highly prefer R.U.B.’s sauces to Satchel’s! We had a choice of five homemade BBQ sauces at our table, including a Michigan Apple, Carolina mustard sauce, Kansas City, Detroit, and Texas. The favorite of both Five Star and I was the hot and spicy, with a hint of sweet, Texas sauce! My second favorite was the Carolina sauce. Yum! I slathered my pork sandwich in these thick, tangy sauces.
Five Star ordered a breadless sandwich – The Yzerman. I came very close to ordering this sandwich as well, which consist of R.U.B.’s house-smoked pulled pork covered in mac & cheese sauce. What a clever idea – I’ve never seen this before! Five Star shared a bite and it was indeed tasty! She had sweet potato fries on the side.
All in all we really enjoyed our food at R.U.B. We had a couple snafus with regards to figuring out the pricing rules on some of their promotions. I trust that with time R.U.B. will iron out these kinks – all that would be needed would be to clarify the store signage and make sure all staff are informed of all the rules associated with their daily promotions. The manager was very friendly and eager to address any confusion we had, and we appreciated that. I definitely would like to return for more happy hour specials and to try more of R.U.B.’s tasty BBQ.
Also while we were eating, someone from Lagunitas Brewing Company stopped by our table and treated us to a complimentary beer tasting during dinner, which we happily accepted.
After hanging out at R.U.B. for quite a while (it was rather lively by the time we left!), we headed to The Bar at 327 Braun Court (my new fave) for a whiskey drank.
Love the view of Aut Bar and Braun Court view from upstairs at The Bar.
I decided to be super swank and order the priciest cocktail on the menu. I liked the Jim Beam Rye-containing cocktail I ordered last time so much, it made sense to try another. This one was “Remember the Maine,” with Jim Bean Rye, Carpano Antica Vermouth, Cherry Heering, and Pernod. (Basically four liquors and/or liqueurs – yup, I had to Google some of them.) Super smooth, but I liked the Royal Pain I had last time better.
Creepy, yet endearing art work in The Bar. That’s why I love this place.
I can neither confirm nor deny if pizza was later consumed this evening.
On a side note, I somehow managed to avoid catching the huz’s illness! Four nights of tossing and turning on the creaky guest bed in quarantine was worth it. Also he’s feeling much better these days – hooray.