Ruby Jean’s Diner at Spanky Van Dykes

Ruby Jeans Diner Menu cover

You can find “Ruby Jeans’s Diner” in Nottingham City Centre within the four walls of  ‘Spanky Van Dykes’. It is located alongside the tram line close to the Royal Centre tram stop and a few minutes walk from the Nottingham Trent University stop. This is one of about 8 other “Ruby Jean’s Diners” spread across the UK, all touting to be ‘purveyors of home-cooked Americana’ – whatever that is. So I thought that perhaps I should investigate. I was hoping for some old school American Diner Fare.

Spanky Van Dykes sign

Over the last couple of weeks I have popped in to sample the food and considering that I often don’t have the time to go back to the same places again that tells you something to start off with. On the first occasion I tried one of their ‘Handmade boutique burgers’, (not sure that description would appear on any US diner menu but lets put that to one side). The menu indicates that the burger is ‘handmade with British beef’, the basic offering is accompanied with tomato, lettuce, red onion and ‘homemade double cooked chips’. I jazzed my burger up a little by opting for the ‘Ruby Jean’s burger’ which is ‘smoked bacon, emmental, mushroom and some onion rings’ for £7.95. The burger itself was a pretty decent effort. It was a big solid affair, perhaps a little dry, the only minor downside was not being asked how I want it cooking (which is not uncommon in the UK), I like my burgers done medium with some pinkness left in the patty. I did like the fillings of the sandwich and I was happy to see the absence of any accompanying pickle, although any diner worth its salt would have slid one onto the plate. I am so glad that they didn’t! They do seem to have a good 2-4-1 deal on the burgers if you come in on a Tuesday.

.New York Deli style sandwich

I came back again to try one of their sandwiches there were a few I had liked the look of the “American Swiss Sandwich” described on the menu as ‘chicken breast, emmental, smoked bacon, tomato and lettuce’ for £5.50, also the “Crispy Sticky Pork Flatbread” with ‘crisp slaw, spring onions, and smoky pimento glaze’ for £5.95 which I still quite fancy trying. In the end though I went for the “NY Deli Sandwich” this was described on the menu as ‘pastrami, sauerkraut, emmental and secret dressing’. I was guessing that the ‘secret’ dressing was probably going to be ‘thousand island dressing’. I was wrong it wasn’t and as I couldn’t work out what it was I suppose the secret is safe.

This was a good diner sandwich, I thought it seemed to be a bit of a hybrid deli sandwich. In the end it was almost a Reuben sandwich which typically is ‘corned beef, Swiss cheese, with Russian or Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut’. Swap the corned beef for pastrami and adding in the lettuce and you were not far off. The NY Deli sandwich was well constructed, with the meat added as a layer between the lettuce and sauerkraut. There was a nice crisp crunch from the toast and the fresh lettuce. There was a sweetness from the secret sauce and this contrasted well with the slightly sour sauerkraut. There was also a nice peppery edge to the pastrami. At first I though that there was too much lettuce in the sandwich and so I pulled some of it out, but I was wrong! it had to be in there to make the sandwich work so I put it back. Overall despite my misgivings at this not being  what I think of as a typical NY deli sandwich, I did enjoy it, all of its components worked really well together and it was priced really well.

I am not sure that I would have this particular sandwich again but I am tempted to return for one of those others I described. There is one other item on the menu that is also tempting me, and that is the “Mac and Cheese” more specifically “The Matador” with chorizo, the only thing is that I am not sure that I want to pay £6.50 for it as a main meal, it would be nice if you could get it as a side so I could have the best of both worlds. If I do and it is worth it then I will let you know.

As UK based US style diners go, the menu at Ruby Jeans Diner is pretty authentic, it would be nice to see it served in a old school diner.

Ruby Jeans Diner can be found in Spanky Van Dykes ‘eaterie and funhouse’ at 17 Goldsmith Street, Nottingham, NG1 5JT as I noted at he top it is located alongside the tram line close to the Royal Centre tram stop and a few minutes walk from the Nottingham Trent University stop you could even walk up from the Old Market Square stop if you were so inclined. You can also follow them on Twitter or on Facebook

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