The legend of some places transcends reality in many cases. The Ruck (104 3rd St in Troy, NY) is a place where the legend is enormous. It’s known as a place where the wings are among the best in the area and where the beer served puts most any place to shame.
They have various events featuring different breweries including my personal favorite, Dogfish Head, but, oddly enough I’ve never made it in. My good buddy, Hockey Joe, has also been recommending that I try their “Wing Burger,” and he will be happy to see that I finally have.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
One Monday evening, we were invited to attend trivia night at the Ruck. The plan was to join Cassie’s mom’s trivia team and, hopefully, add some brainpower to the team. The problem is that I stink at trivia.
When I arrived, I went to the bar and ordered a beer by Southern Tier called Iniquity. A 10 oz portion was $6 that night, and it was served in something shaped kind of like a brandy snifter at a good temperature for a black ale (i.e. not ice cold). I was very pleased with this beer, and actually managed to nurse it for a good amount of time while the amazing smells of Buffalo wings and fries attacked my psyche.
I had to order some food.
Their menu is pretty basic for a bar; some fried appetizer, burgers, sandwiches, and wings. I really wanted to try the wings that I hear so much about ($8 for 10) and the Wing burger ($5) that Hockey Joe has wanted me to try. I threw some onion rings ($4) onto the order as well. Why the hell not?
I know the picture is super blurry, but the wings were great. I ordered them as hot as they come, and they were nice and spicy, but not overboard. These wings have a crispness that you don’t find everywhere, and they have the sauce dosing down to a science thanks to some cool pumps on their bottles. The blue cheese is very creamy and breaks up the heat nicely.
The onion rings were battered and fried to just the right crispness. These weren’t outstanding by any means, but they’d serve as a good vehicle to soak up some great microbrew.
The wing burger is pretty much that. A hamburger with Buffalo wing sauce. But they add the wing sauce a few seconds before the burger is ready to come off the grill, so everything picks up a little smokiness from the grill. It’s served on a fairly substantial hard roll that doesn’t meddle with the taste of grilled beef and Buffalo sauce. The blue cheese on the side was awesome for dipping. This burger was awesome, but I think it would actually benefit from the standard lettuce, tomato, and onion; it would also be nice if the blue cheese were added to the burger.
But the beauty of the setup is the simplicity.
They’re set up with a bunch of deep fryers in a row next to a grill, so they can do up pretty much everything on the menu simultaneously a la minute. It’s pretty simple for them to just set the burger up on a bun and add a tub of blue cheese on the side. I can also appreciate that people could want to add their own. It works.
As far as the scene, it was trivia night, so there were people there across many demographics, but some regulars who weren’t participating in trivia stood out, and they were either much older or of the RPI college male variety.
All of that said, for some good, inexpensive eats and some seriously great beer, The Ruck does a nice job.