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Published August 22, 2012, 10:29 PM

The EatBeat: Sunday brunch at Ruby Tuesday sure beats cheese on toast

GRAND FORKS - There was the fly, the extra charge for coffee, some competition with others in the buffet area. But I went away from the Sunday brunch at Ruby Tuesday feeling quite satisfied for $16.46 plus tip.

By: Marilyn Hagerty, Forum Communications, INFORUM

GRAND FORKS - There was the fly, the extra charge for coffee, some competition with others in the buffet area. But I went away from the Sunday brunch at Ruby Tuesday feeling quite satisfied for $16.46 plus tip.

We arrived at noon on and found there would be a 20-minute wait to be seated, which isn’t too bad. I was with a friend, Sue Huus (SH), and we asked for a menu and studied it.

What we saw looked inviting. Besides the Sunday brunch, there was a shrimp fondue featured as a shareable item. There was blackened tilapia, salmon Florentine and a crab cake dinner — all in the $13.99 to $14.99 range.

But this was Sunday, right after church. Somehow, I had the brunch on my mind. By going through a buffet area, a person can make several choices and still be happy. All too often I order something and wish it had been something else.

We were seated, as promised, within 20 minutes. It was one of the pretty small booths for two at Ruby Tuesday. I guess that’s all two people really need,

We found our way to the buffet area, which started off with fruit. We were impressed as we explored the expansive brunch area that included gleaming pans, sparkling white linens and inviting displays of food.

There were chefs on hand to prepare waffles or omelets to order, and I waited around until one of them finished up with another customer. My omelet with mushrooms, cheese and ham was excellent.

There were so many choices. The food was appealing. Much of it was displayed in sensibly small amounts so that you could taste and not waste.

I was especially impressed with the fresh, crisp appearance of edamame, peas and tomato slices on the salad bar. Also interesting were the only slightly sweet, sensibly sized dinner rolls near the omelet station. There were indeed several items that would beckon me back for brunch or another meal.

I liked the choices of healthful fresh fruits and vegetables. Then, there were chocolate-coated strawberries and little bites of brownies and other tempting desserts.

Ruby Tuesday is a popular place, a little upscale but not out of line for prices in these times. And there are some quality items that make a difference. SH enjoyed the real cream that comes for those who want it in coffee, for instance.

We chatted with Janice Korynta of Warren, Minn., who came to the restaurant with her daughter, Dawn Korynta, because they had never been there before. We fell into a discussion of blackened catfish they had eaten in Danbury, Va.

As we talked to them in the next booth, one small but nimble fly kept flitting around my plate. It’s hard to keep them out of restaurants this time of year. But it was a distraction.

Our server was around to clear plates. We told him we wanted to sample and savor the various foods. I complained a little because the coffee is extra — another $2.39. But I had to concede this is a common occurrence. The check said “1 water $0.00.” Well, we had to ask for water, but it was not extra.

Our server was Nick, and he was trying hard to do a good job. He did come around to ask if we still were working on things … and I always feel it isn’t work for me to eat. It should be pure pleasure — especially when you go out.

All in all, the brunch was delightful. It makes up for the many mornings when I deal with a piece of cheese on toasted brown bread. …

It is a Sunday sort of thing.

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