Ruby’s has been on the Coney Island boardwalk since 1934. The boardwalk used to be lined with bars and restaurants like this but Ruby’s is the last man standing. We were worried that when the gentrification of Coney Island started a few years back Ruby’s long run would end but, lucky for us it’s still there and going strong.
They have a full bar with great beer on tap including Ruby’s Amber. Their menu speaks for itself – typical, traditional Coney Island food.
My family’s been regulars at Coney Island for a long time. Here’s a shot of my uncle, aunt and mother in 1932.
A simple recipe my mother made often as a first dish. Standard home cooking that I’ve never seen on a restaurant menu. Some of the peas nestle into the conchigliette all by themselves – a nice touch.
7 or 8 peeled, cored & sliced cipollini (or substitute ½ onion, chopped)
½ tspn salt
½ tspn black pepper
¼ tspn red pepper flakes
1 oz prosciutto, (2 or 3 slices cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
14 oz. fresh, frozen or canned small peas
1 lb conchigliette (small shells)
Pasta – Boil water in a 3 quart pot. When the water boils add the pasta and cook until aldente (approximately 7-8 minutes).
Sauce – Sweat the cipollini in oil with salt and black and red pepper in a pot on low to medium heat. Add the prosciutto and fry for a few minutes. Add the tomato and cook until it breaks down, about 8 minutes. Add 1 cup of the pasta water and the peas – fresh or frozen, cook for 5 minutes.
When pasta is cooked, toss with sauce. Add more pasta water to make it wet but not too soupy.
Lots of people think they don’t like anchovies. Maybe they really don’t, at least not straight from the can or jar. But they are commonly used as a flavoring and the anchovy haters don’t even know it’s there. You can dissolve 2 or 3 in some heated olive oil as the base of a sauce. It’s Italian umami.
Another way to get the flavor of anchovies (alici in Italian) is to use Colatura di Alici. It’s essence of anchovy and made by layering anchovies with sea salt in a barrel and then putting weights on top. After a time a hole is opened on the bottom of the barrel and this liquid is drained and bottled.
You might compare it to Vietnamese Nước mắm pha but it’s more complex than that. It’s closely related to garum, a fish sauce used by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
A sprinkle of it on some cooked greens or vegetables or a salad adds a bright note. Try a little on Summer Tomato Salad.
How I like it best is as a simple, uncooked pasta sauce.
Spaghetti con Colatura di Alici
2 oz (4 tbsps) Colatura di Alici
4 oz (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chopped parsley,
Crushed red pepper to taste
1 pound spaghetti (no additional salt in pasta water)
While the pasta water is coming to a boil mix all ingredients except spaghetti in a serving dish. When pasta is done, add to serving dish and coat well with the sauce. No cheese on this dish.
If you can’t find Colatura di Alici in stores just Googleit – lots of places to get it on line.
The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant is still there and still a great American seafood restaurant.
When is opened in 1913 on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal Woodrow Wilson was President It’s been around for a while. A beautiful restaurant and historic too, with its Guastavinotile ceiling.
The menu changes daily depending on what’s fresh and available at the fish market. Complete Menu
The restaurant is divided into roughly three sections – the main dining room, the bar and the oyster bar and counter. If I’m anywhere near Grand Central at lunch time I can’t resist stopping at the counter for my usual – a beer, a half dozen of something on the half-shell and an old-fashioned oyster pan roast. If you sit at the counter you can watch the chefs opening the shellfish and making the pan roast – some ingredients; chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, butter and cream. For dessert, either Key Lime Pie or Cheese Cake.