RUDY'S CAN'T FAIL CAFE IN EMERYVILLE....WELL THAT'S MOSTLY TRUE
Over there, that's that place on the other side of the Bay Bridge. For those of us who live in the city, over there can sometimes be difficult to muster up the energy to get to. From trying to rustle up a car to battling bridge traffic to wading through the BART crowds to finding out BART doesn't even stop in Emeryville--it feels tiring and a bit of a hassle. But every now and then the SO and I, usually on a Sunday, feel the need for a visit to an overly large Target and maybe a swing through IKEA, just because. Food choices in that little area can be uninspiring. From the cafeteria at IKEA to the chain places at that strip mall cum main street thing next door, they are not exactly the off the beaten track eats I like to look for. However, there is a small outpost nestled somewhere between the super furniture store and the I need to pick up some household supplies stores, it's called Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe and we usually end up there since we don't want to drive around Oakland looking for another place to eat. Yep, those are our standards, plus it is a diner and you know I'm totally into those.
Inside Rudy's on a semi-cloudy Sunday
With checkered board floors, vinyl booths and other funky design elements, Rudy's hits all the marks of a diner. The menu is pretty big and standard with all the omelets, burgers, salads, sandwiches hot and cold and ice cream shakes. One thing they offer different is a liquor license so you can make that ice cream float into a cocktail if that is your thing. When we go here though, me and the SO stick to the basics--something breakfasty or a burger--of which they have several choices or combos. This day was no different. I decided to go the egg route and ended up getting that days special.
The Yolo Omelet--filled with bacon, roasted green peppers, fried chicken and cheddar Jack cheese with a side of sour cream, hash browns and buttered English muffin (though you get your choice of bread). Reading the description on the menu, it hit all the high spots for me--deep fried and bacon. In execution though, it was just okay. It was like they cooked the egg part by itself then rolled the fillings into it like an egg burrito. While the egg may have been warm, the rest was not, thus the cheese wasn't even melted in here, the chicken pieces were rather room temp and the bacon wasn't exactly crispy. Kind of hard to eat it all together. Separately the pieces were decent, just together it didn't work for me. I think if this had been a scramble instead of an omelet it might have come together and at least been served hot out of the fry pan. The hash browns, while plentiful square share, were also luke warm at best. I think the ketchup on the table I poured over them was warmer. The English muffin was served straight from the toaster or wherever as you can see the butter is melted and bonus, they gave me plenty of butter on it. Kudos and thumbs up for that. Overall, there was nothing wrong with how it tasted, just wish it could have a little more made to order hot. At $14, this is pretty much in line with what you'd get in San Francisco. While they are diner like, the prices are more SF brunch like.
This is the classic burger with fries on a toasted sesame seed bun with lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion. This is something Rudy's does well. The burger is a nice thick patty that is cooked to order. We asked for medium rare and got exactly that. Very juicy with a touch of flame char around the edges. (You have to ask for mayo if you want a side of it) I also like the fries they do. It is like they are double crunchy on the outside and soft inside. With a nice little seasoning and not overly salted. Tasty enough you probably won't want to share. At $11.50, again not really diner prices, but the burger is a handful and the fries portion is plenty. Though for a burger and a side, it is probably a buck or two less than you'd get in SF, so there is that.
This time around at Rudy's, it was a bit hit or miss, but I've found when we stop in, you can never go wrong with one of their burgers and a side of fries. While they are serving up diner food, it's not totally diner prices and lunch/brunch for two with a couple of ice teas, tax and tip can run you $40 or so. Which is why I'd recommend going burger route here, they are good and it will shave some off the bill. The service here can also be sporadic, not sassy like Flo (cultural reference!), but more "is someone waiting on this table?" kind of thing. But don't let that be a deterrent as it only happens occasionally. If you are ever in this part of Oakland Emeryville, skip the CPK, PF Changs and IKEA meatballs and head over to Rudy's for fresh grilled burgers and crispy fries--you really can't fail if you go with those.