Though there’s no sign on the building, no Google Maps pin, and an incomplete website, Vashon Island’s highly anticipated butcher shop and restaurant, The Ruby Brink, officially opened for business. On Friday, customers packed the space, hovering over steaming bowls of the signature Meat and Noodle dish, sipping cocktails from glasses once belonging to co-owner Lauren Garaventa’s grandmother, and ogling slabs of pancetta and bacon in a display case near the entrance.
If the restaurant’s first few days in operation are any indication, this one has the potential to become a dining destination, perhaps drawing visitors from around the region in the vein of Bainbridge Island’s Hitchcock and Port Townsend’s Finistère.
The menu incorporates seasonal produce and whole-animal butchery, preservation, and pickling. Produce, dairy, and meat comes from Vashon farms and the wider region. That translates into dishes like the plate of house bacon; beef jerky made with soy, garlic, and mirin; apple cider vinegar-pickled eggs; bacon jam toast topped with a soft egg; a salad of island-grown greens; Vashon lamb merguez sausage on a challah roll with yogurt sauce; plates of cheeses, charcuterie, and pickles; a braised pork sandwich; and oyster mushroom polenta.
The signature “Meat & Noodle” dish, with from-scratch noodles, braised pork, a soft egg, and seasonal vegetables floating in bone broth, is front and center — it’s a holdover from Garaventa and head chef Rustle Biehn’s popular soup pop-up of the same name. There’s also a vegetarian “Hold the Meat” version that substitutes the pork for roasted shiitake mushrooms.
While the restaurant is officially open, diners should keep an eye out for temporary closures as Garaventa, Biehn, and company catch their breath between busy dinner services. The restaurant is keeping fans abreast of those changes via its Facebook page.