Sometimes a meal just hits the spot. Doesn't have to be fancy, just has to be right. Dinner last Wednesday at Rudy's was just that kind of meal. It was just a simple cheeseburger and fries, washed down with a beer, but that doesn't begin to describe why it was so good.
First, I had been at an ultimate practice earlier that evening. Ran hard for 2 hours in 50 degree temps. Drove an hour back to New Haven. Showered. And now, was starving. Didn't have the energy to cook, so I strolled round the corner to Rudy's. Placed my order at the kitchen corner of the bar, with the glorious fry machine (imported from Belgium) in full view, golden potatoes being lifted out of the hot oil. A deluxe cheeseburger with everything (lettuce, tomato, pickle on the side), and samurai sauce (spicy aioli) with my fries (really, more properly, frites, given their Belgian pedigree).
Took a seat at the bar, saw that the special beer on tap was Leinie's Sunset Wheat. Nostalgic for the midwest, how could I resist. And I didn't regret it, the light, flavorful beer refreshing me with every sip. The burger and the fries arrived a short while later, and were devoured. The burger isn't the most spectacular around, but it's more than competent, and the bun, meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato were exactly what I needed. The dill spear was just how I like it, not too briny, so you could taste some of the cucumber that it had once been.
Oh, and those fries. Crisp, hot, and impossibly delicious. I'm salivating just writing about them. The variety of sauces to go with them is also wonderful. Everything from Curry Ketchup, to Andalouse sauce, to many varities of aioli.
Warm, full, and still humming the Band's "Cripple Creek" which had been blasting on the jukebox, I walked back into the cool New England evening...
In summary: Rudy's is a dive, no doubt about it. For Hyde Park readers, think something like Jimmy's with better food and better prices, and a better jukebox. The TV's usually have the game on. It's everything you want from your neighborhood bar.
Rudy's New Haven
370 Elm Street
New Haven, CT 06511