Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rutt's Hut

I had the pleasure of visiting Rutt's Hut in exotic Clifton, NJ not too long ago to once more experience their famed hot dogs.

For the uninitiated Rutt's Hut serves a hot dog called the "ripper" which is a Thurman's hot dog deep fried to the point were the skin literally rips open revealing the tender, succulent flesh inside. The dog itself is comprised of a 60% beef, 35% pork and 5% cereal mix which makes for a perfect sausage in my opinion. The relative sweetness of the pork lightens the palate compared to a pure beef frank. While I enjoy the latter grilled and boiled I think that for deep fat frying beef is too dark in character and would produce a rather bitter product.

Rutt's Hut has two dining areas, a bar room and a family friendly dining room with a walk up counter which is standing room only. An extensive menu features a plethora of comfort foods such as hamburgers, "barbecued" beef sandwich, fries and of course hot dogs. Be sure to try Rutt's secret mustard relish on the latter, it is simply delicious although I find that the dogs make for good eating naked, the grease from the cooking moistening the simple white bun.

The "barbecue" beef sandwich, presumably named for the cooking method, not the sour gravy that accompanies it, is best avoided. Aside from the slightly stale bun the gravy just did not seem right. The beef itself was also cooked a bit too much for my taste. There is a real timeless element to Rutt's Hut, the decor does not look like it has been changed in several decades and the menu makes zero concessions to any health fad or evidence of the implications of consuming trans fats and cholesterol laden food. This is pure unabashed comfort food.

The decor and the menu are not the only thing that hearken back to a by gone era, the price for a Miller High Life in a very frosted mug is only a $1.40! The tax alone would be more in NYC. Now I am an admitted snob when it comes to beer, having grown up in England but I have to concede that this Miller was so cold and refreshing that its relative lack of flavor and body was not an issue.

Rutts Hut is well worth the visit, it really is a piece of timeless Americana that you won't find replicated in a food court at a shopping mall.

Rutt's Hut
417 River Road, Clifton NJ
(973) 779-8615


DocChuck said...

A man that can (and does) eat at Smith and Wollensky, writes about the "fare" at Rutt's Hut?


I thought we had an up-scale BLOG here where we . . . never mind.

Rutt's Hut? Geez.

Nick said...

I can appreciate the low brow as much the high end, although I naturally prefer the latter. There is something that is pure Americana about places like Rutts Hut and White Manna etc.

Gekisen said...

Why does it matter as long as it's tasty?

danny said...

I like that you mixed it up with something like this. Even though this is totally unreachable for me w/o a car, it looks like a homey type of joint.

Anonymous said...

I prefer rippers with both mustard and the Rutts special mustard based relish. Very accurate description of a New Jersey classic.

Jersey Boy said...

Mustard and mustard relish? Thats is ridiculous. You must not be from around here

neil said...

docchuck's snobbery is horrible. This guy just seems to troll whatever foodblog he pops up on.

I enjoy the mixture of low and high end places that Nick reviews. Clearly he is a guy that just enjoys food in its various forms.

Nick, I am an English beer snob too and I have to admit that Miller High Life really does hit a spot. I actually find it better than the other "premium" Miller products.

rubber band man said...


Your food blog isn't legit until it's trolled by the poisonous DocChuck, though. LOL!

I grew up in Bergen County and lost more brain cells at Rutt's Hut than I want to admit. You haven't lived until you've snarfed a couple of loaded rippers washed down with more than a couple of cold ones.

Haven't been there for years but I smell a road trip coming on.

Tim said...

I live 5 minutes from Rutt's, and was there about 3 days ago. The dogs are great (especially with the relish), but you must get the fries with gravy too! It is a classic there (and for NJ in general).

Jack4888 said...

I lived in NY for years but NEVER had a great hot dog until I came to NJ and got a great dog, cooked the right way. Rutt's Hutt is a survivor as many dog joints went under when greedy landlords overprice rental property. Never had a meal I wasn't satisfied with.