Cienna Madrid

How'd you wind up on staff?

I used to come in here all the time and drink when I was a student. I think a lot of the servers here started out that way—drinking here or down the street at Flowers (same owner).

How does the atmosphere here compare to Flowers?

People come to Ruby more for dates and quiet dinners; we get less of the rowdy student crowd. Flowers is more for socializing and drinking. You're not going to see frat boys yelling in here. It's pretty low-key.

So you never have to step up and regulate?

There's always a little regulating to be done, but I'm going back to school next week to become a teacher, so it's good practice.

Customers are like children, and you should be commended for electing to work with both.

Yeah, I'm learning patience. Working in food, you deal with customers who don't know what they want, and you deal with the crazies—yesterday there was a customer who claimed there were "dangerous" people monitoring her receipts so everything she ordered had to be coded—but it's entertaining. That said, I think my passion lies more with kids.

There are quite a few rice bowls on the menu—are rice bowls optimal date food?

We serve great Thai food, Indian food, dishes from the Pacific Northwest, Lebanese-inspired food—but the rice bowls are absolutely delicious. They're kinda funky, with rice and potatoes, but they're pretty cheap and tasty. My favorite is the Indonesian lamb bumbu bowl with cardamom, anise, nutmeg, and cumin. It's kinda sweet, kinda spicy, but definitely unique.