Date of visit: it’s all a blur to me
Frankly I don’t “get” the Ruggles craze here in Houston. Perhaps that’s because I’ve never been to the Ruggles Grill on Westheimer, only Ruggles Cafe & Bakery in Rice Village, where I found the desserts cloyingly sweet and overpriced. I hated the crowds, screaming kids, and general stress of dining in a popular village location. When Ruggles Green opened next to one of my favorite study spots the parking lot quickly filled with BMWs and Land Rovers jockeying for spaces in the tiny parking lot. It seemed like more of the same.
I rapidly exhausted my brief go-to list of less than $20 restaurants in Houston, though, and before the CFA was craving something on the healthy side. We decided to give them a shot.
The Ruggles menu has an overwhelming number of choices and the layout inside is slightly chaotic. Though ordering takes time there isn’t quite enough room for a line between the tables by the registers. Choose carefully from the many sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and pastas, and you are happily rewarded. I had a spectacular, huge plate of multi-grain pasta topped with a hefty chunk of grilled salmon, layered over a delicious pesto cream sauce. Sandwich platters are your usual fare, but the sweet potato fries are curiously addictive – thin and very, very, crispy.
A bowl of the tomato basil soup comes with a WHOLE DOME OF PUFF PASTRY over the top, mmmm! I am seriously intrigued by the hempenadas, bruschetta, fish tacos and goat cheese salad. I’m sad that the fries only come with sandwiches, as I would (and have) ordered a sandwich to only get the fries and ended up exchanging said sandwich for the hunny’s pasta. (he didn’t really know what gnocci was…). Desserts are, as at the other Ruggles locations, overwhelmingly sweet.
Overall: Satisfying, good for price, and hey, it’s “green”!
Bonus: Beautiful patio (if you can snag a seat) from which you can see the veggies and herbs they grow out back.
Minus: Don’t even try to park in front.