Photo by Serena Maria Daniels
The dining area of Rubbed.
Starting just in time for the New Year, Rubbed will soon offer dinner and a more upscale, sit-down dining experience. Signs of changes to come are already apparent, with the place is closed, its windows covered in paper. The sandwich and charcuterie shop will remain closed until Dec. 29.
Chef and co-owner Jason Frenkel tells us that once Rubbed reopens, gone will be the paper and plastic serving utensils, the 20-plus variety of sandwiches and higher prices for lunch, and in its place will be a more sit-down dining experience, where servers wait on customers, bring food to tables on proper plates and silverware, and the menu is expanded to include dinner three nights a week.
Frenkel says he wants to capitalize on Corktown's buzzing dining scene by giving customers more options. To achieve this, he plans to narrow down the sandwich selection to about eight of the most popular, offer more hot sandwiches, and on Thursdays through Saturdays, extend the hours for dinner, which he describes as more of a classic steakhouse concept.
"(Corktown) is a little bit more spread out, there's a lot of room for more restaurants," Frenkel said. "There's very little competition in some sense and I think it would be better if there was more."
Indeed, the narrative in talking about Detroit's growing restaurant scene has Corktown (and more specifically Slows Bar-B-Q) as the epicenter of all the growth. A barbeque joint, an Italian spot, and a handful of burger places shouldn't be all that's available in the neighborhood, Frenkel says.
Aside from classing up the spot, Frenkel says that because he has what is considered a "cold kitchen," he intends of prepping many of the dinner entrees using the sous-vide method, in which food is sealed in an air-tight plastic bag, and then placed in warm water for an extended period, thus ensuring the inside is properly cooked and moisture is locked in.
This shift in the menu and aesthetic, Frenkel hopes, will result in a lower price point for lunch service (from about $16 total, down to $10 or $12) and will help him build on the successes of the place's existing "Rubbed After Dark" popup dinner series. New hours will be 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, and closed Sunday and Monday. The one thing the revamped Rubbed will not have is a liquor license. But with Motor City Wine just down the street, customers may be forgiving.