First Look: Ruby Chow’s brings a bit of Miso Izakaya back to Old Fourth Ward

Top two from left: Shoyu Tomago, Panna Cota. Bottom row from left: "Cacio Pepe", Roasted Bone Marrow, Vegetarian General Tso's Chicken. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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Top two from left: Shoyu Tomago, Panna Cota. Bottom row from left: "Cacio Pepe", Roasted Bone Marrow, Vegetarian General Tso's Chicken. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Ruby Chow’s, the new Old Fourth Ward restaurant from Atlanta chef Guy Wong (Miso Izakaya; Le Fat; Ton Ton; Miso Ko), was named for the Chinese American restaurateur, activist and politician, who opened a restaurant of the same name in Seattle in 1948. Adding to the mystique, legendary kung fu master Bruce Lee is said to have worked at Ruby Chow’s in the day.

Wong’s team includes his longtime business partners Mike Blum and Hong Vu, plus co-chef Adam Waller, and veteran beverage director T. Fable Jeon.

Located on the corner of Glen Iris Drive and North Avenue, in the space that was once occupied by Repast, and more recently Gekko Sushi, the eye-popping design by Elizabeth Ingram Studio evokes a Chinatown restaurant of the imagination. It’s a place where floral patterns, bamboo furniture, dragons and lucky cats emerge amid a red glow. And it seems as if big fun or big trouble might ensue at any moment.

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Ruby Chow's, 620 Glen Iris Drive NE Suite C-1. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Ruby Chow's, 620 Glen Iris Drive NE Suite C-1.
CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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Ruby Chow's, 620 Glen Iris Drive NE Suite C-1. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

The food and drink pay homage to Miso Izakaya, the pioneering and much beloved Japanese yakitori, sushi and ramen restaurant in the Old Fourth Ward that was forced to close in 2018, when Wong wasn’t able to negotiate a new lease. But along with favorites like Shoyu Tomago, a soft-boiled soy sauce egg, there are other, more eclectic dishes all over the mostly small plates menu, too.

“We’re really excited that Guy had the opportunity to secure a great location in the Old Fourth Ward, again, after operating Miso Izakaya for so many years,” Blum said. “We couldn’t actually negotiate a new lease at Miso, so the old landlords approached us about this location, and we felt like we had a good relationship with them in the past. This is really a better location, with more visibility, and we have a patio that seats up to 30 outside.

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The upstairs lounge at Ruby Chow's. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

The upstairs lounge at Ruby Chow's.
CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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The upstairs lounge at Ruby Chow's. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

“Elizabeth Ingram has done great work with Marcel and BeetleCat and Golden Eagle, and we wanted her to transform this space into an old Chinatown feel, but really kind of out there, as far as aesthetics go. She designed a very warm, inviting space that people seem to enjoy so far. It really feels grand at night. The upstairs is its own unique little area. We’re interested in doing some late-night things up there, and we’ll have a separate bar upstairs, as well.”

“Obviously, we couldn’t replace it, but we wanted to have a kind of extension of Miso Izakaya, as close to it as we could,” Vu added. “The neighborhood loved coming to Miso Izakaya, and we wanted to give them the same food, because everyone was asking for the same dishes. The only difference here is that we took the same dishes, but we elevated them a little bit, with some twists here and there. And presentation-wise, they’ll be a little different.

“We still wanted to keep it affordable, and very approachable to anybody who just wanted to just come in and dine with us. We really loved the guests that we had over there. They’d dine with us three or four times a week sometimes. So those are the kinds of guests that we want to keep coming to Ruby Chow’s.”

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Ruby Chow's. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Ruby Chow's. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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Ruby Chow's. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Waller, who was formerly the chef at Bocado, Bar Americano, Empire State South, and several other Atlanta restaurants, is working with Wong to put his own spin on the menu, with dishes like roasted bone marrow with onion jam.

“I’ve known Guy for a long time, and I was super excited about this project,” he said. “But this was my first time doing Asian food. It’s been either Italian pasta or American, so doing strictly Asian was pretty exciting. I jumped on board as soon as I could. And it’s a great team with Mike and Hong and Fable.

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The Ruby Chow’s team includes T. Fable Jeon (beverage director; from left), Adam Waller (co-chef), Hong Vu (partner) and Mike Blum (partner). CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

The Ruby Chow’s team includes T. Fable Jeon (beverage director; from left), Adam Waller (co-chef), Hong Vu (partner) and Mike Blum (partner). CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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The Ruby Chow’s team includes T. Fable Jeon (beverage director; from left), Adam Waller (co-chef), Hong Vu (partner) and Mike Blum (partner). CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

“We’re not locked into a category of Chinese or Japanese or Korean. We’re kind of doing whatever we want to, as long as it has that Asian element. There are Miso favorites. There might be a couple of things from Le Fat. If it tastes good, and we like it, we’ll put it on.”

As might be expected, Jeon, whose resume includes stints at Sound Table, the Lawrence, Pinewood Tippling Room, Miso Izakaya, Le Fat, and Himitsu, is taking both a very professional and somewhat whimsical approach to the cocktail menu.

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The bar at Ruby Chow’s. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

The bar at Ruby Chow’s. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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The bar at Ruby Chow’s. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

“The drinks here are meant to be expressions of the greater fiction of Ruby Chow’s, as I understand it,” Jeon said. “It’s very visually simple drinks that are revisiting Asian and American standards. So you have Ping’s Old Fashioned. You have the Soapberry, which is my statement that the best Lychee Martini ever can be had here. But what I would really like to point this toward is that every drink is thoughtfully made, and consistently executed, but it is presented under the cloak of that fiction.”

620 Glen Iris Drive NE, Suite C-1, Atlanta. 404-585-7829, rubychows.com.

Scroll down for more images from a First Look at Ruby Chow’s

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Shoyu Tomago, soft-boiled soy sauce egg, crispy rice cake, sweet soy vinaigrette. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Shoyu Tomago, soft-boiled soy sauce egg, crispy rice cake, sweet soy vinaigrette. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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Shoyu Tomago, soft-boiled soy sauce egg, crispy rice cake, sweet soy vinaigrette. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Shumai, shrimp and pork dumplings, dried fresno chili, sweet soy vinaigrette. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Shumai, shrimp and pork dumplings, dried fresno chili, sweet soy vinaigrette. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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Shumai, shrimp and pork dumplings, dried fresno chili, sweet soy vinaigrette. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Roasted Bone Marrow, onion jam, gremolata, panko, radish salad, served with baguette. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Roasted Bone Marrow, onion jam, gremolata, panko, radish salad, served with baguette. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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Roasted Bone Marrow, onion jam, gremolata, panko, radish salad, served with baguette. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Vegetarian General Tso's Chicken, plant-based chicken, spicy sweet soy. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Vegetarian General Tso's Chicken, plant-based chicken, spicy sweet soy. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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Vegetarian General Tso's Chicken, plant-based chicken, spicy sweet soy. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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"Cacio Pepe", Pecorino Romano, Szechuan pepper, garlic cream. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

"Cacio Pepe", Pecorino Romano, Szechuan pepper, garlic cream. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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"Cacio Pepe", Pecorino Romano, Szechuan pepper, garlic cream. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Soapberry, Imo Shochu, Lychee, Thai Basil, Genepy, Elderflower, Lime, Honey. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Soapberry, Imo Shochu, Lychee, Thai Basil, Genepy, Elderflower, Lime, Honey. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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Soapberry, Imo Shochu, Lychee, Thai Basil, Genepy, Elderflower, Lime, Honey. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Ping's O.F., Small Batch Bourbon (Spiced), Muscovado, Bitters, Citrus Expression. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Ping's O.F., Small Batch Bourbon (Spiced), Muscovado, Bitters, Citrus Expression. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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Ping's O.F., Small Batch Bourbon (Spiced), Muscovado, Bitters, Citrus Expression. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Panna Cotta, matcha & Earl Grey tea, cream, seasonal berries. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Panna Cotta, matcha & Earl Grey tea, cream, seasonal berries. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
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Panna Cotta, matcha & Earl Grey tea, cream, seasonal berries. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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