At 9pm, on a Tuesday night, three burly men in business shirts and pants walked into the brisk restaurant. In fact, most diners were men, big-sized business men. Not surprising—men like meat. A lot of meat. And they came to the right place. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse’s portions are huge.
Founded in 1965 in New Orleans by a single mother who wanted a better life for her sons, Ruth’s Chris has now more than 140 outlets around the world. A 3-course set meal costs $120+, but it seems a la carte gets you more delicious food. Besides steaks, Ruth’s Chris serves great appetizers. You hear the sizzling blue crab cakes (2 pc/ $35) before you see them. They were packed full of chunky crab meat, intensely and naturally sweet, in a lemon butter, with a tingling aftertaste of spice. William said this was the best crab cakes he had. I replied, “You’ve expensive taste.”
I couldn’t decide to recommend the soup or salad. The tomato soup with crab meat and sundried tomato was so bright and sweet that the sunshine reached the back of my tongue, filling my mouth, as if the liquid is a huge chunk of solid.
The Ruth’s chop salad ($23, pictured above) was my favorite dish because it was refreshing and well-balanced. Each bite tasted slightly different, never monotonous, because there were so many ingredients at work, and it was amazing they could make so many ingredients work together. Let me list the ingredients: iceberg lettuce, baby spinach, radicchio, red onions, green olives, bleu cheese, mushrooms, bacon, eggs, hearts of palm, croutons, crispy onions, in lemon basil dressing.
Now, the piece de resistance; now, the star. Ruth’s Chris uses Midwestern, corn-fed USDA prime beef, that is, less than top 2% of beef produced in USA is certified as USDA prime. The steaks are broiled at 980 degrees Celsius, and served sizzling on a 260-degree plate so they remain hot throughout the meal.
William and I had a disagreement over the better steak. He preferred ribeye (340g $85/ 450g $110), super succulent, juicy, tender, and fat. But I liked New York strip (340g $85/ 450 $110) better. It was tough, too tough for William that his jaw was tired from chewing, but he said tough, I said lean. I loved its leanness. As you masticate, the juices flow, and you can taste the true essence of beef. The New York strip is also smokier, more charred, and more flavorful than the ribeye.
My two gripes are (1) the poor ventilation means you may smell like butter when you leave the restaurant, and (2) the wines are expensive. I haven’t seen such an expensive wine list since Saint Pierre in 2010; I wish Ruth had more affordable wines.
But you’ll notice my gripes have nothing to do with the quality and quantity of the food. In general, the flavors hit you strongly, like how Chris Brown hit Rihanna; the food is bold, and masculine, and has no modesty. For instance, the steak was salted so much that it was almost too much, but it didn’t cross the line; it was still so delectable. The soup was so intensely sweet, etc. I liked this audacity, this spunk, this self-assuredness of the food very much. I liked the boldness as if I had worked an entire day on the ranch, and returned to a hearty meal. Howdy, cowboy, let’s ride a rodeo!
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
This is an invited tasting.