Ruby Foo's is now a good neighborhood restaurant.

I know no one is going to believe me, but the Ruby Foo's on 77th and Broadway has become what is desperately needed in any neighborhood, a good, reasonably priced restaurant that you can walk into and get a table without waiting. Immediately upon opening ten? years ago, Ruby Foo's became an unpleasant "scene" restaurant that neighborhood residents had almost no shot of walking in and being seated in under an hour.

But I've had three meals there in the last week that were spontaneous evenings out with family and friends, and we were able to walk in each time between seven and eight o clock and be seated immediately.

We sampled twenty dishes during those three meals. The food ranged from excellent to more than acceptable, with only two dishes that I wouldn't order again, an overbreaded fried calamari and a flavorless Asian slaw.

The highlights:

Great Malaysian chicken potstickers, some of the best I've had.

Sesame Crusted Tuna with wok seared spinach and shitake mushrooms

Wok-seared sizzling filet of beef with asparagus, spinach and spicy ponzu sauce

Meaty spare ribs served with the awful Asian slaw noted above

Shockingly tasty Kung Pao Chicken with Cilantro and Peanuts

A solid tuna, smoked salmon and avocado hand roll.

Crispy yellowtail roll

Spicy tuna roll

Ruby Foo's is a huge multi-level restaurant (I believe it has 300 seats), so that may be the reason we were able to walk in and get a table each time at a prime hour. The Rockwell-designed restaurant still looks great and now you can get a good meal there without a reservation. That's big news. Ruby Foo's uptown is at 2182 Broadway (between 77th and 78th Streets). The phone number is 212-724-6700, but I don't think you'll need it.

Has anyone ever eaten at the Ruby Foo's in Times Square? Better yet, has anyone eaten there recently?