I am not a member of the Cult of Ruth that seems to be around, but I did enjoy this interview with her (editor, Gourmet; ex-NY Times restaurant critc, etc.) on Media Bistro.
Favorite "no-star" restaurants:
The Lulling Barbecue place, in Texas,
Yuca's taco hut on Hillhurst in Los Angeles
Fried Dumpling on Allen Street in New York
El Rey de las Fritas in Miami.
Cho Dang Gol, on 35th Street in New York, where they make their own tofu.