December 29, 2013 by gossiportsmouth2
20 High Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801
603.430.7834 | Open 11:30 AM – Close; Sun Jazz Brunch 10 AM – 2 PM
No plates? Rude. No, not rude. Rudi’s.
Rudi’s is a classy joint, which is not a euphemism for weed, catering to the stable professional class of Portsmouth’s business district. The setting is something out of a mob movie, and, like Nuovo Vesuvio’s in the Soprano’s, can either be a safe harbor or target for the connected. So, when walking through the doors of Rudi’s, you feel like a made man. Just don’t expect to be treated like one.
Most mob bosses would receive plates, like the tables around them, to place their scrumptious dinner rolls. But not us. For some reason our waiter, who we went back and forth on if he liked us, decided that we were not worthy of such a luxury item. An item the tables around us all received. Also, strangely, all the tables around us received dinner rolls upon sitting down. We did not, until one in our group (the mob boss, obvi) inquired. Even without plates, we managed well.
As we dined on these lovely rolls, we were treated to some jazzy tunes. The duo in the corner entertained us throughout the evening. The low humming vibrations of the bass and the mellow chords seeping from the piano caressed us. As we looked up from our plateless table, and caught the punch line to a friend’s joke, we laughed heartily knowing, as members of the mafia, we ruled this town.
The bartenders at Rudi’s, and and the relatively new Rudi’s Bistro, are the cream of the crop in terms of bartenders in Portsmouth. No, they’re not your gritty Portsmouth bartenders to remind you of the days when the Red Light District shined brightly over much of downtown; nor are they the hearty lasses that dish out pints of bud light at State Street or the Hammer. Rudi’s bartenders are, in our humble opinion, for real. They know drinks, they know how to make them. They know how to make you tipsy. If we didn’t know any better, we’d think they were trying to seduce us. (If they were, hmmm… undecided on what we’d do.)
The only problem we ran into in terms of the bar resulted from our lack of knowledge. When we go out we like to try new things, just as you are surely apt to do. So, at Rudi’s we ordered drinks we’ve never tried before. And all was well. The drinks were amazing. It’s just that we’re pretty sure the drinks we got were not the drinks we ordered. But… we couldn’t really determine that. Maybe one of us ordered a tequila based drink and it tasted more like gin, and the person across the table had the opposite thought. So, we all took sips from each other’s glasses and then sorted out what we ordered. In the end, we’re still not sure if what we drank was what we ordered (but we drank it anyways and liked it).
Now, obviously we didn’t just drink our livers away. We also dined one some truly mesmerizing food. Mushroom raviolis made us weak in the knees. We swooned over the creamy sauce so delicately embracing the pasta on our plates (we got plates this time). But, maybe what made our night the best: the french fries. Call us crazy — or not your typical Rudi’s patrons — but those fries were, in a rather pedestrian word: delicious. We all vied for the remaining fries and the heavenly aioli. We’re quite certain that we’ve never expressed so much adoration for aioli before that fateful night. We’re fortunate now to never have concerns over vampires.
We’d be remiss if we talked about Rudi’s without mentioning its predecessor: the Metro. We remember the days when the Metro’s sign proudly stated on the corner of High Street and Congress: Like Paris, Portsmouth has many fine restaurants, but only one Metro. And that’s where everyone would go for their prom night dinners before heading over to the Sheraton. So Rudi’s, we’d go there again (and we do). Try the drinks, but maybe order something you know. Or don’t. Going someplace cool like Rudi’s gives you the opportunity to try something new — like eating without a plate.
Random decor shot:
Please note that while writing this post we listened to the soundtrack of Ratatouille, which not only adds meaningful context to this post, but also gravitas.