Where You Should Go Tonight: Ruffian Wine Bar and Chef’s Table

Photo Cred: Dana deLaski

Whatever you’re doing you can sigh in relief, because, yes, you made it to Friday. It’s important to reward yourself for these small accomplishments, so before we get to our recommended dinner spot for tonight, we thought we’d congratulate you. Now, onto business. Seeing as it’s Friday, there are a few ways you might be feeling. You might be feeling exhausted from the week with no interest in anything besides sleep, or you might be ready to go out, needing to blow off some steam. However you feel, you still need to eat, so allow us to introduce Ruffian Wine Bar & Chefs Table – your new favorite East Village small plates/wine bar/casual vibe destination.

We know you’re wondering how you’ve never heard of this place, and frankly we were too when we first discovered it. Because sitting at a bar sharing cheese plates while drinking wine is a thing we do fairly often, and Ruffian is the ideal spot for it. Because unlike other places where you might engage in said activities, Ruffian is somehow never too crowded and located in the East Village. So yes, you guessed it, it’s a unicorn.

So whether you’re looking to party, looking to relax, or just looking for a cheese plate and a bottle of wine in a not-too-packed East Village establishment (why is this so much to ask?), you should probably go to Ruffian Wine Bar & Chef’s Table tonight. Here’s what you need to know:


  1. While we love how discreet Ruffian is (it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it), we’re warning you now that the allure of the rainbow soft serve sign at Big Gay Ice Cream next door might lead you astray. Do not fall for the rainbow soft serve. You’ll miss out on a glorious meal.
  2. Ruffian is bar seating only, so come with someone you actually want to have a conversation with. We really love eating at bars – hopefully you do too. 
  3. Other than being served at a bar, the food here bears zero resemblance to typical bar food. This is serious food that just happens to be cooked behind a bar. We’re still not sure how they do most of it, but we’re glad they do.
  4. The food is Southern French (if we had to label it) with some twists. This is really cool, we think, because usually when we eat French food it’s in a stuffy dining room with white table cloths. We’re not always up for that on Fridays, so this is more our speed.
  5. Feel free to come to Ruffian with vegetarians. Most of the menu is veggie friendly, but you should probably still order the steak tartare and short ribs for yourself. Because to deny yourself the pleasure of watching the egg yolk melt into the steak tartare would be completely ridiculous.
  6. Luckily for the vegetarians, there’s cauliflower miso soup with lemon oil (we’re less and less sure that this is French food…). Even though it’s getting warm and you might not want soup, you want this one. Might’ve been the best thing we ate.
  7. You may have noticed that “wine bar” is in the name of the restaurant, so yeah, order some wine. As far as which wine to order, just ask owner/sommelier Patrick Cournot. He definitely knows more than you do about it, so trust a little and let him do this thing.

Ruffian Wine Bar and Chef’s Table is located at 125 E 7th Street (It’s right next to Big Gay, remember?). They’re only open in the evenings, so pop in for a glass of vino or a full on French meal.



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