Ruby’s Restaurant & Courtyard
123 S. 2nd St, Eunice
TWO STARS (out of four)
Our ongoing road trip survey of Acadiana restaurants today takes us to Eunice. This small town is one of the great regional hubs for Cajun music, with the Savoy Music Shop nearby, a host of festivals and celebrations throughout the year and the Liberty Center in hosting its Cajun variety show downtown each Saturday. It’s also home to good Cajun food, and one of the latest additions is Ruby’s.
Some travelers will remember this address as the long-time home of the tavern Nick’s on Second. It turned into Ruby’s more recently as an expansion of the nearby Ruby’s Diner. This Ruby’s is much bigger and somewhat more ambitious, but it’s still a down-home, family-friendly Cajun restaurant. There’s a big, ornate, mirror-backed bar up front, leading to the main dining room, a long, narrow space with no windows. The approach is friendly and easy-going.
This menu starts in traditional enough turf with a choice of gumbos, including separate seafood and chicken and sausage versions. But then there’s seafood chowder, which is an unusual find in these parts. This one mixes oysters and shrimp in a thick, creamy white base. Another standout is the almond shrimp dish, which gives an Asian spin to fat, fried Gulf shrimp over crunchy cabbage, silvered almonds and a sweet-spicy glaze. There’s fried gator and catfish but also New Orleans-style appetizers like char-broiled oysters and BBQ shrimp.
Fried shrimp and catfish platters, a few pastas, entrée salads and steaks and po-boys are the bulk of the main courses, though the most exciting dishes are big, indulgent, filling creations of seafood, cheese and sauce. For instance, both the seafood enchilada and the seafood crepes are packed with of plump shrimp and sweet crab. The seafood Dot brings big fried shrimp curled over a casserole dish of creamy shrimp and crab au gratin. A slab of grilled red snapper gets the au gratin treatment too. Daytime specials move into more plate lunch traditions, like fried pork chops, smothered liver and beef tips.
Saving room for dessert here can be a serious challenge, but if you’re up for it the bread pudding is the go-to finale.
There’s a full bar with a pretty basic beer and wine selection. Cocktails are simple but good and potent.
Eunice is moderate, with most entrees in the teens to low-twenties. A couple should be able to have a full meal here with drinks for about $60.
Ruby’s is a family-style Cajun restaurant where people tend to leave with leftovers and where it’s hard to imagine anyone leaving less than stuffed. On a pilgrimage to the musical draws of Eunice it makes a good stop for a casual, easy-going dinner in tune with local tastes.