A good restaurant usually has a some key components, including convenient location, the right price point for the product, good service and food customers find themselves craving.
If you’ve sat at the bar of Ruins, you know this arrangement. Especially if in front of you is a plate with a tinga taco. While other tacos come on a soft corn tortilla with cilantro, onion and salsa, this one comes with a super-crispy tortilla that holds up even as the juice from the shredded chicken simmered in adobo-tomato sauce tries to make its way through the taco and down your hand as you hold it. The avocado crema rounds out the bite to be just barely spicy and good enough to make you want it again and again.
The wall behind the bar is filled to the ceiling with bottles, with plenty of options including an array of mezcal. Try any spirit on on its own (there are a ton, including an impressive list of rums) — or try a cocktail. You can’t go wrong with a balanced margarita or the spicier tanga de playa with habanero Espolon reposado, banana, tamarind and lemon.
You can enjoy it all in an intimate setting — it feels quite dark when you walk in, but your eyes adjust — and with friendly but not over-attentive service.
“The name Ruins was basically from these European bars in Hungary, in Budapest, and they’re just like old bombed-out, dilapidated places that have bullet holes, and they turn them into beer gardens,” co-owner Peter Novotny told the Observer in 2018 when Ruins was opening.
And years later, that look is still executed today at Ruins — it feels like it’s been there, settled into the neighborhood serving food suited for late nights or late mornings.
The breakfast menu is also worth digging into: Try the huevos con chorizo, which comes with three scrambled eggs mixed with chorizo, three flour or corn tortillas, potatoes, guacamole, pico de gallo and salsa. Order the corn tortillas and add a side of refried beans (frijoles refritos). Tear off a piece of tortilla, swipe it through the beans, then pinch up the egg and chorizo before adding some heat from the salsa, and you’ll create an ideal picture for a Saturday morning.
The rest of Ruins’ menu includes elotes, fideo (a must-get on a cold night), giant tortas, nopalitos fritos (fried cactus with three awesome house moles) and larger plates, such as asado de puerco (slow-simmered pork in a pepper stew).
Ruins is open for dine-in, takeout and delivery from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and serves breakfast 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. 2653 Commerce St. 972-707-0607.