Arlington / Modern Southern / $$$
Where can you get chicken fingers or Long Island duck for dinner, both prepared with equal finesse and care? There aren’t many answers to that question, and even if there are other restaurants that magically fall into that category, I’m confident you won’t love them as much as Ruthie’s All-Day.
The brainchild of chef Matthew Hill and co-owner and general manager Todd Salvadore, Ruthie’s truly is all things to all people. Want to pick up a streusel-topped muffin and coffee in the morning? They’ve got you. Those aforementioned chicken fingers? They’re plump and juicy in the middle, crisp and well-seasoned outside. More refined dinners, including wood-grilled strip loin or branzino, carry diners through all the way to date night.
The restaurant’s meat-and-three concept allows for guests to have fun mixing and matching. Get that steak with al dente pinto beans entangled with smoky pulled pork, charred Brussels sprouts in fish-sauce vinaigrette, and flaky buttermilk biscuits ready to be dunked into housemade raspberry jam. Or order the braised greens with smoked tomato, Anson Mill grits, and hand-punched fries instead. Ruthie’s is one restaurant where you can choose your own adventure anew every time.
See this: Expect a crowd that crosses ages, genders, and classes to congregate in the white-and-green dining rooms and on the patio.
Eat this: Yellowfin tuna tartare, smoked Crescent Farms duck, apple doughnuts
Service: Speedy. Your server is pleased to deliver the treasures the kitchen quickly churns out.
When to dine here: Any time of day that big flavor takes precedence over potentially requiring a postprandial nap.