above: The quintessential summer meal—a New England lobster roll with fresh greens and perfectly seasoned fries
Photography by Venera Alexandrova
Ruby & Bella’s at SaksWorks Greenwich offers a stylish spot to dine and take in the scene
If there was ever an elegant place to park your laptop for the afternoon or meet with colleagues for coffee, SaksWorks on the Avenue is it. Saks transformed the Beaux Arts building that previously housed the Ralph Lauren store into a stylish gathering place, a haven for the new hybrid workforce. In fact, we passed several millennials hunched over their laptops at a counter as we walked in for an early Thursday night dinner. But what’s the SaksWorks restaurant, Ruby & Bella’s, like for an evening out with friends? We found the American eatery was buzzing with activity—a dinner destination totally unrelated to work—and we were drawn in by both the décor and the menu.
We were seated next to a long rustic wooden table topped with so much greenery and flowering plants, it felt as though we were in a garden shop. The spacious dining room evokes nature with its soothing sage green walls, and the doors were opened to the sidewalk on this warm evening with several parties eating outside.
While the setting was charming, our table, originally set for four, was too small for even three people, the oversized white serving bowls sticking out over the edges of the tabletop.
Ruby & Bella’s versatile menu includes good vegetarian options and salads, plus heartier dishes like the Black Label bacon burger and fun, locally labeled cocktails (Tod’s Breeze with rum, passionfruit, lemon and mint) as well as mocktails such as the Garden & Tonic with cucumber and Seedlip, a light refresher for those returning to work.
We enjoyed glasses of rosé along with several starters before our main meal. Creamy tasting burrata was a firmer style of the cheese (not the runny, ooze-out-onto-the plate variety) that was tasty spread onto the charred country bread with roasted peppers, prosciutto and greens as add-ons. A butter lettuce salad, which includes romaine, frisee and endive, is tossed in a sherry dressing with a hint of mustard, very French. An earthy version of tuna tartare pairs the chopped raw fish with avocado—all topped with radish rounds and garnished with cilantro and microgreens, a pretty presentation that’s also fresh tasting.
The mains were equally good, especially the Faroe Island salmon, which is plated under a bird’s nest of pomme pailles, micro-thin shoestring potatoes that were a crispy counterpoint to the tender fish.
A risotto special tasted (and looked) like spring on a plate—the Italian rice bright green from fresh herbs with asparagus and fava beans stirred into the garlicky sauce all topped with edible flowers. A skirt steak entrée was one of those quirky dishes you didn’t know you were craving until you tried it: slices of perfectly cooked steak with Asian mayo hidden beneath them and a smattering of pesto on the side and a mound of fried rice that’s capped with fried quail eggs.
While the food was even better than anticipated, the service during our meal was a bit uneven—possibly the restaurant was short- staffed that night? There was one larger party celebrating a birthday, which may have added to the busyness. For dessert we enjoyed a berries and cream dish, strawberries and a piece of lemon cake in a panna cotta served in a glass goblet. The coffees and tea we ordered did not turn up until about fifteen minutes after our dessert when we really no longer wanted them. Provided that the service issue was a one-off, the setting and food make this place well worth a return visit, a lovely spot for a post-shopping (or working) lunch or dinner.
RUBY & BELLA’S
265 Greenwich Avenue 475-272-8680;
Tuesday to Saturday
Lunch, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Dinner, 5:30 –10 p.m.