Restaurant: Ruby BBQ Food
Location: 9561 Garvey Ave Ste 1&2, South El Monte, CA 91733. (626) 279-6854
Date: September 20, 2019
Cuisine: Southern Chinese
Rating: Tasty, if a little “downscale”
Lately, because Yarom and I are diehard Chinese Food fanatics and it’s hard to find others willing to drive all the way to the SGV during the week for lunch, the two of us — with occasional extras — have been sampling some of the more casual eateries on our list of new places to try.
Enter Ruby BBQ Food — yes they actually include the word food in their name — just in case BBQ wasn’t clear enough. This is a very casual Southern Chinese place in a more Vietnamese section of the SGV.
It’s real casual, with a takeout counter and menu on the wall.
But it was crowded. We had to wait 15-20 minutes for a table.
They have roast ducks and the like to go too.
Now just to give you a bit of the flavor of the place, and these downscale SGV joints, ignoring Yarom’s protests I include this photo. This particular lady was at the counter ordering/waiting right in the middle of the lobby. This did not, however, stop her from clipping her nails and leaving them on the floor of the restaurant. Very local crowd. Still, bear in mind, I ate here right after and I’d happy eat here again. They actually have an “A” too.
Besides the soup, Yarom and I ordered 10 dishes for just the two of us — that’s just how we roll.
Eggplant Szechuan Style. Delicious. Soft eggplant dripping in tasty garlic sauce. Not particularly spicy.
Dry sautéed string beans. Also good. Nice crunchy beans.
Ruby BBQ Rib. Cold with great piggy flavor.
Golden pork. This and the next dish were pretty similar, both not too different than a panda express type dish. This one had less bone, I think, but the sauce was sweeter and a bit more overwhelming.
Pork chop. This one was more chew it off the bone and was very slightly better. But both were good.
Bamboo duck. Unusual heavy brown gravy with those rolled bean curds. The duck meat itself was dark and boney but the overall flavor was excellent.
Egg with shrimp. Surprisingly delicious shrimp omelet.
The owner of the restaurant just could not believe that we ordered so much so she gave us the last few dishes “to go.” She insisted. We opened them and ate them at our table anyway.
Ruby steamed chicken. My least favorite dish. Basically Hainan chicken. Fine for what it was, but it’s steamed chicken.
With a bit of garlic sauce.
Mapo tofu. Not spicy, but nice texture.
BBQ Duck. Quite good, particularly juicy and delicious dunked in the sauce below.
The duck sauce.
Apparently everything comes from “dept 01” but as you can see, it’s not an expensive department. Even the signature meaty BBQ dishes like the duck were barely $11!
Yarom with the owner and his leftovers.
Overall, while the atmosphere is “amusing” the food (particularly for the money) is pretty tasty. This is like working class real Cantonese/Chiuchow and while the Chinese equivalent of a greasy spoon, like many American greasy spoons, it’s also delicious. Service was gracious.
Now just to continue to paint the complete picture of this colorful little corner of Los Angeles — and part of what I think makes our great city great — I did photo the classic “old school Monterey Park bathroom.” It’s quite a looker. Again, not bashing Ruby BBQ. I like it and find it’s “unrefined” quality genuinely charming. Just painting the full unvarnished picture.