|Doner platter at Rudy's|
When I eat meat, I want something special on the plate, and Rudy's Mediterranean Grill in Columbia roasts doner kebab that made my cut with its crisp edges and rich flavor. HowChow reader Rob stopped by recently to enjoy a meal and chatted with Rudy himself. Rob learned that Rudy has a Turkish brunch on Sundays. He also got another lesson for eaters that discount sites are a complex issue for restaurants -- and some news about falafel:
I stopped in after having purchased a Groupon ($15 for $30 in food). By the way, something to remember that I keep forgetting is that Groupons are usually for dine-in only. I spoke with Rudy for a few minutes. He is a little distressed about the Groupon deal. He wanted Groupon to sell perhaps 50 per week, not the approximately 600 they sold for Rudy's all at once. According to Rudy, he can only recoup his food cost on the $30 Groupons, but he actually loses on the $60 Groupons, so he is concerned about the number sold.
Rudy is a very energetic, engaging guy. He was very happy to talk about how the place is developing. He brought me a bowl of red lentil soup while we sat at the bar and talked. On tI tried the spanakopita (spinach pie on the menu), the doner kebab, and the izgara kofte.
Next time, I'll probably skip the spanakopita. The filo was soggy and a tad burnt on top. But the the doner kebab was probably as good as you are going to find in this state. The lamb was moist and had the taste you expect in a doner or gyro. Rudy pays a special chef who prepares his doner for the spit and also serves as a line cook. He does not allow his other cooks to do anything other than slice the lamb for serving. The izgara kofte is a little different than kofte I have tried before, but is very good. He puts peppers in the meat, so the kofte has a kick. Other places put the meat on a skewer so it comes out elongated when pulled off. Rudy's kofte are like small hamburger patties. I recommend it.
I also talked to Rudy about the menu. Seems I am not the only one who wants to see only Turkish dishes on it. Rudy has American fare on the menu in order to capture as much of the lunch crowd as possible from the surrounding businesses. I think he believes a Turkish-only menu would not do that for him. However, as a result of comments from many customers, especially those who have visited Turkey or lived there, Rudy is going to split the menu. In the mornings, the usual American breakfast dishes will be there. At lunch, American and Turkish will be represented. And Rudy will have a Turkish menu in the evening. Rudy also plans to bring falafel to the menu in June due to numerous requests.Rudy's is a place worth trying, but check out comments and Yelp to see what you think you would like. Kevin wrote a comment this morning that discussed which dishes his family enjoyed and which dishes disappointed them. Kevin's wife actually thought the doner was bland.