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Rubbed Sandwiches, charcuterie and deliciousness in the heart of Corktown

Rubbed

2015 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI
  • Neighborhood: Corktown & Southwest
  • Price Level:   
  • Vegetarian Options
  • Cards Accepted
  • Free Parking Available

Tags: brunch, dinner, eat, lunch, sandwiches, Corktown, charcuterie, rubbed, rubbed-after-dark

There’s a giant sloth attacking the Empire State Building. Biplanes – some of them on fire and in distress – buzz around his head. It’s chaos, but the sloth doesn’t seem to know. He just continues hugging the skyscraper with a sleepy smile on his face. That’s because he’s several feet tall and painted in that position. The playful composition hangs on a wall in the snug dining room of Rubbed in Corktown.

After dining at Rubbed, you’ll kinda feel like that sloth. The whole world could be falling down around you, but you’ll just go about your business, happy and full.

You may already be familiar with Rubbed’s sandwich and charcuterie menu – otherwise known as the greatest thing to happen to lunch since sliced bread – featuring allstars like the Purple Kid, Little Italy and the Cuban.

There’s another side to Rubbed’s personality that you might not have met yet. In the evenings, on Thursday through Saturday, the sandwich joint transforms into an intimate table service bistro offering a mix of small plates and entrees. The bill of fare for Rubbed After Dark changes weekly.

Reservations are strongly recommended, given the size of the dining room which seats just under 30 guests. You should also know that, because dinner is only served Thursday through Saturday, by Saturday night they may have run out of a few things and won’t be re-ordering until the following week. This doesn’t mean you should avoid Saturdays; on the contrary. Give the chef free reign to whip up whatever he’s got in the kitchen, and you will be delightfully satisfied with the results. Plus, you’ll get the brag to all your friends about the off-menu impromptu chef’s tasting you enjoyed.

Start off with a few small plates to share with your table. One of our favorites is a cucumber salad, dressed with lemon and dill. It’s one of the sleeper hits of the menu, easily overlooked because it sounds so simple. But it’s really tasty: fresh, crisp and slightly tart. The cukes are shaved thin but hold their crunchiness.

The cucumber salad is nice all by itself, but it’s especially wonderful when paired with a salumi tray and relish tray. The cured meats – made in house – have a mild, smoky and savory depth, and the mix of freshly pickled veg provides a nice crunch and tanginess. Rubbed serves them with soft little triangles of warm bread, dusted with parmesan, that are the perfect vessel for holding all that deliciousness.

Don’t fill up so much on small plates that you forget to save room for your entree. You wouldn’t want to miss out on Rubbed’s perfectly cooked lamb rack that you can eat like little meat lollipops, served alongside a smooth goat cheese and olive tapenade. We also adore their seared swordfish which hits the pan just long enough to get a light crust on the outside, but the middle stays tender and pink.

Rubbed also offers an eight-ounce, dry aged Wagyu New York strip, which we tasted as part of an impromptu combo plate with their cast iron calamari. This is a dish they should make all the time. The steak was beautifully tender, as was the calamari. Both were dressed in a lovely mix of olive oil, garlic, green olives, herbs and lemon.

You may think by this point that you don’t have room for dessert, but once your server lays down a plate with crispy, flaky philo dough that’s been drizzled with honey and layered on top of a heaping scoop of Bavarian cream, your stomach will magically make way for all that eye-rolling, toe-curling creaminess.


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