Ruby Jack's Steakhouse & Bar, a slick steakhouse hailing from Tokyo, recently opened in Manila. Located at City of Dreams Manila, the new restaurant gives serious carnivores a mouthwatering taste of refined dining where luscious seafood and meats take center stage.
Ruby Jack's is one of the food and beverage projects of ECN Holdings, which also has Tokyo establishments Two Rooms Grill & Bar and R2 Supperclub under their belt. Managing Director Eddie Baffoe was recently in the country to oversee the opening of the first Ruby Jack's outside of Japan, and shares that the experience of stepping inside this newly opened steakhouse is just like the dining experience when visiting their restaurant in Roppongi.
The Manila outlet mirrors the original Tokyo establishment down to the little details: a customized glass meat locker displaying the imported beef, a wide open kitchen, high ceilings, glass windows, a private room where a painting entitled 'Angus' is showcased. Aside from the dining space, Ruby Jack's Manila also has a cigar room, and dividing its bar area from the dining area is a wine cellar.
Same can be said with the menu -- most of the items you can order here are what you can sink your teeth on in Tokyo. Popular among the Japanese is Ruby's Caesar Salad (P550), amping on presentation with lettuce blanketed with a generous shaving of cheese, with bacon dust replacing the usual bacon bits. The simple Boutique Tomatoes (P650) with shaved red onion and gorgonzola may not catch your attention when you read it on their menu, but do order this appetizer because you will definitely taste the 'boutique' in its name. Plump, thick, and rich, the fresh tomatoes are imported from Japan and have a unique sweetness that you cannot ever achieve with our local counterparts--hence, making this appetizer uniquely theirs, and leaving you wishing we could grow these red beauties right on our soil. Another best-selling starter is the Teppan Grilled Foie Gras (P950); it comes with a piece of caramelized pineapple and black sesame dust, a delightful combination of textures that play on your palate when you have a little of each component in a forkful.
Ruby Jack's isn't just about their premium steaks--they put the premium in their seafood selection, too. Try their Sizzling Scallops (P800) and you'll end up finishing this in no time, its plump local scallops sizzling with black garlic butter and made even more lipsmacking with a squeeze of lemon. If you want to go lavish, bring your date here and get the Seafood on Ice for Two (P6,000) for a premium selection of lobster, tiger prawns (4 pieces), oysters (4 pieces), house-smoked salmon, and clams.
In the business of steaks, this restaurant is definitely the top destination for high rollers, serious meat lovers who are particular about their beef -- from origin, aging, and grading. And as geeking over the best steak goes, it comes with a price, and diners who order big-ticket beef will be rewarded with fantastic service and an exquisitely juicy steak experience.
Before preparing your steaks to your desired doneness, a server will first present the carcass for your approval, so you can inspect the meat's marbling and quality. And afterward, a feast awaits your carnivorous appetite.
The restaurant carries John Dee beef from Queensland, Australia. Particularly, they offer John Dee Super Gold 160 Day Grain-Fed Black Angus, high quality Angus beef which you can order in Prime Rib (P5,000/1kg), T-Bone (P4,500/ 800grams), Fillet (P2,800/250grams), or the massive Tomahawk (P5,000/1kg). The Australian beef, served perfectly pink on the inside with its bloody juices dripping on the pristine serving plate, was a sight to behold. The true test of steaks is to appreciate them without fancy sauces or gravy--there's sauce on the side, but put it on hold for your first bite. Have a thick and perfectly medium (or medium raw) naked slice, the succulent meat straight to your mouth. The rich flavors of the prime rib were marvelous, as was the t-bone that was modestly seasoned with salt and pepper -- no need to add anything else. Just pure carnivorous bliss, bite upon juicy bite.
Want a beef experience with an unforgettable depth--robust and earthy, truly stunning? Then bust out your wallet for a beautiful slab of beef that gets the highest grade in Japan's grading scale: Japanese Ohmi A5 Wagyu Striploin (P6,500/300grams). While it significantly lacks the knee-weakening chunky fatty parts that I happily chewed on with the prime rib and t-bone, the striploin was incredibly buttery, smooth in texture, bursting with flavor that just wraps around your palate. Every bite is ultimately rewarding--order this when you are celebrating something special, or have the urge to feast like a high-roller.
To accompany your choice of top-notch steaks, there are different sides to choose from: velvety smooth Mashed Potatoes with Garlic Chips (P250), crunchy Spicy Onion Rings (P250), and Torched Asparagus & Lemon (P500) for requisite crisp greens. There's also a lusciously cheesy Lobster Mac & Cheese (P500) as side, that can be enjoyed on its own because it's just that comforting and gooey-good.
Dessert lovers like myself will go giddy with the selection of sweets at Ruby Jack's. Don't skip this part of your meal because they put a lot of thought into their desserts as much as their seafood and steaks -- they are as photogenic as they are delicious. Lighter meal-enders include Assorted Handmade Chocolates (P400) which are a handful of bonbons, a chocolate bark, and chocolate-dipped dried mangoes. They also have ice cream by the scoop (P150), and a more indulgent frozen treat with Cookies & Cherry Ice Cream Indulgence (P400), which combines cherry ice cream and milk sorbet with a topping of hot chocolate fudge. Gelatinous desserts aren't the most popular (maybe because they seem too 'simple'), but perhaps the restaurant's Strawberry Pomegranate Agar (P400) will do the trick to convert one into a jelly lover. The flavored Japanese jelly is topped with coconut lychee sorbet and passion fruit cream, a combination of fruity flavors and contrasting textures that translate into playful, bright, and summery hues on your palate.
More blissful endings await, so leave some space for more dessert: their compact and moist Banana Cake (P400), generous with the fruit's flavors, is served with a scoop of maple ice cream topped with caramelized pecan; a slice of banana mascarpone sits in between. The Mango Cajeta Pavlova (P400) is the dessert to choose if you want mangoes served with a delicate meringue crust, coated with a Mexican dulce de leche sauce.
The clear winner, though, in their dessert lineup, is the devil called Baked (to order) Cheescake (P400), and order that takes fifteen minutes to make but worth every second of waiting --if you're extra impatient, order while midway through your mains.
A plate arrives and it seems as if they've served a small slice of cheese; on one side, the lemon yellow blob of dayap curd and on the other, a small scoop of earl grey ice cream topped with lavender petal. Slicing the cheesecake with a fork reveals it is smooth, close to the soft and delicate texture of Japanese cheesecakes. The cheesecake is warm, moist; vibrant and unforgiving with flavors. A mouthful of this is made utterly divine when chased with the sweet and tart curd that I whimper with delight. The ice cream, pleasantly light, acts as my palate cleanser. One teaspoon full of the earl grey ice cream deceives my tastebuds by temporarily wiping my memories of a steak-stuffed dinner, to replace it with sweeter moments shared with a very special cheesecake.
Visit Ruby Jack's Steakhouse & Bar at the Upper Ground level of City of Dreams Manila, Aseana cor. Roxas Boulevard. Open for lunch (Mon-Fri 11am to 2:30pm), brunch (Sat-Sun 10am-3:30pm) and dinner (Mon-Sun 6pm to 10pm). Bar Bites menu available Mon-Thurs and Sunday from 11am to 10:30pm, and Friday-Saturday from 10am to 1am. Visit www.rubyjacks.ph, follow on Instagram and Twitter (@rubyjacksmanila).