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Ruth’s Chris Steak House

February 3, 2014

A couple of months before Christmas, while my boss and I were going over year-end schedules, he decided to generously revise our holiday schedule and close down the office starting Christmas day through the end of the week.  If you combine that with the weekend, it meant we have 5 whole days off of work!  When I told my husband we’d be getting Christmas Day and the 2 days after it off, my husband decided we couldn’t let the time pass by without going on a trip.  So, he asked for the day after Christmas and the Friday after off of work as well and we began to plan for a Christmas getaway.  My family doesn’t normally celebrate Christmas and we see them all the time anyways.  My husband’s family lives out-of-state and traveling there would be too difficult, so we always try to take advantage of these types of holidays to take a weekend getaway.  Last year, our destination was sunny Phoenix.  This year, we chose Seattle!

Flying out of town on Christmas Day means that you end up in a new city on Christmas night, and sometimes trying to find dinner can be a tricky proposition because it’s hard to know what may, or may not, be open.  So, after we booked our plane tickets, the next thing we looked into was trying to find a place for Christmas dinner.  Truth be told, our original dinner choice was to be the Capital Grill as we discovered that there was a location just across the street from our hotel.  As Christmas approached, I suddenly discovered while trying to make reservations that the restaurant was actually closed on Christmas Day!  No!!!  What would we do now?  Since we were set on dining at a steak house, we decided to stick to the same type of cuisine and discovered that there was a Ruth’s Chris Steak House open on Christmas Day located not too far from our hotel.  Whew!  At least we’d have something to eat.

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Ruth’s Chris Steak House is a chain restaurant focused on upscale dining and providing the highest quality food and drinks in a warm and inviting atmosphere.  The first restaurant opened more than 40 years ago when founder Ruth Fertel mortgaged her own home to purchase “Chris Steak House” in New Orleans.  Now you see where the unusual name of Ruth’s Chris comes from.  Now Ruth’s Chris can be found in 33 States and the District of Columbia as well as several international locations.

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By the time we made it to dinner, we were starving!  Good thing we made reservations for an earlier dinner since we missed breakfast traveling, and didn’t have lunch as we couldn’t find anything open for lunch around our hotel by the time we arrived.  Luckily, shortly after we sat down, sourdough bread and whipped butter spread showed up at our table.  Thank goodness!

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As a starter, we decided that we’d try the sizzling blue crab cakes.  After all, crab cakes are a favorite of both me and my husband.  Each order comes with two jumbo lump crab cakes served with sizzling lemon butter.  What I loved about these crab cakes is that they were pure crab cakes with very little, to almost no filling at all.  The crab meat was sweet, exactly what blue crab is known for.  The outside of the crab cake was browned and crisped just enough to keep the cake itself together, and the inside was bubbling hot and full of big lumps of crab meat.  Perfect!

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Since we were both so hungry, we also decided to order Caesar salads.  Described as fresh, crisp romaine hearts tossed with romano cheese and a creamy Caesar dressing topped with shaved parmesan and fresh ground black pepper.  What my husband loved about this salad was the amount of shaved parmesan topping on the salad.  My husband’s philosophy is that the more cheese in a dish, the better it is.  I loved the Caesar dressing, nice and creamy with a tangy lemon undertone and I loved the fact that there was enough Caesar dressing that it really coated the romaine lettuce.  Our Christmas dinner meal was just getting started.

One thing that makes Ruth’s Chris stand out from most other steak houses is the fact that the serve your steak on sizzling hot plates that keep the meat hot throughout your meal.  All of the beef served at Ruth’s Chris is custom-aged Midwestern beef.  The steaks are broiled at 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, which locks in the corn-fed flavor of the beef.  The plates are also heated up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and the cooked beef is transferred to your sizzling hot plate.  Both my husband and I are of the philosophy that good steak should always be enjoyed medium rare, seared on the outside with red, warm center.

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My husband ordered the surf & turf which came with a prime ribeye and two lobster tails served with lemon butter.  It was the chef’s recommendation for the night.  The prime ribeye was huge!  I know we were hungry, but just looking at the dish made me full because there was just so much food.  My husband isn’t the biggest fan of lobster (though, knowing this I’m not sure why he ordered the surf and turf to begin with), but after having one bite of this lobster, my husband immediately told me I had to try some of his lobster.  Ok, I admit it, after one bite of the lobster, I was also in love.  It was so flavorful and buttery and sweet and absolutely delicious.  My husband was nice enough to give me half of a lobster tail for myself.  And then he proceeded to devour the rest of the lobster.  The prime ribeye itself was also delicious.  My husband thought it was tender and full of flavor with not too much fat on it.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he actually finished his whole dish.

To go with our entrees, we each chose a side dish.  This is probably where we went a little overboard and got a bit overzealous with food as we would have done well to just get one side dish, not two.  But hey, it’s Christmas and we can treat ourselves.

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My choice for a side dish was the potatoes au gratin.  This was sliced Idaho potatoes baked with a three cheese sauce.  Potatoes and cheese, yes please!  It was warm and bubbly and cheesy when it was brought to the table.  Those slices of Idaho potato were enormously large!  I regret to say that I was only able to finish one slice of potato before I was full.

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Mac & cheese was my husband’s choice for a side dish.  This surprised me a bit as I thought he would go for the lobster mac & cheese.  However, he reminded me that since he already was getting lobster with his entrée, he didn’t need to have it in his side dish as well.  The mac & cheese at Ruth’s Chris was unique in the fact that it was served a bit differently than at most places because it had a bit of a flavor kick to it.  At Ruth’s Chris, the elbow macaroni is stirred into a cheese sauce mixed with mild green chiles.  Though green chiles really are mild in flavor, I was surprised at how much of a flavor kick they added to something as simple as mac & cheese.  One bite into the mac & cheese and you definitely got an undertone of the green chiles.  It really helped to boost the flavor profile of the mac & cheese and we loved it.

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I had a feeling that my eyes would probably be bigger than my stomach, as it always seems to be, so I ended up choosing the very reasonable petite filet mignon for my entrée.  The filet is always described as the most tender cut of beef, even if it may not be the most flavorful.  Like all of Ruth’s Chris beef, this is Midwestern corn-fed beef.  Cooked a perfect medium-rare, this filet was so tender that I literally felt like I could cut it with a fork.  The flavor of the beef was wonderful and the meat was so delicious and juicy.  And I was right to have ordered the petite filet as my eyes were larger than my stomach and I barely finished my petite filet!

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For dessert, my husband and I couldn’t agree on one dessert, and since it was Christmas day, we decided to treat ourselves to our own desserts.  My husband ordered Ruth’s Chris’ favorite bread pudding with whisky sauce.  Ruth’s Chris describes this as their definitive version of a New Orleans favorite.  At first, my husband tasted the bread pudding and couldn’t taste the whisky, but once he dipped a forkful of bread pudding into the vanilla sauce on the plate, he really got a hit of the whisky.  My husband loved the nutmeg and cinnamon flavors he tasted in the bread pudding.  But, to no surprise to me, he didn’t actually end up finishing the bread pudding as it was quite filling and much larger than he expected it to be.

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I ended up going in the chocolate direction by ordering the chocolate sin cake with vanilla sauce and fresh berries.  While the cake was small, it actually was very rich and it was definitely sinful.  But, surprisingly, it wasn’t over-the-top.  I expected the cake to be so sweet and so rich and thick that it kind of stuck to the roof of my mouth.  But it wasn’t at all, it was a bit lighter and not as disgustingly sweet as I thought, which I loved.  The vanilla sauce really add a nice touch of vanilla and sweetness to the cake and the fresh berries add tang and it was just nice to have something fresh on a plate that was so heavy.

By the time we walked out of the restaurant, you probably could have rolled my husband and I back to our hotel room.  We were stuffed, and ultimately, grateful for the one mile walk from the restaurant back to our hotel in the cold, brisk Seattle air.  This was my husband’s first time trying Ruth’s Chris, though I’d eaten at a Ruth’s Chris before.  I think that while my husband enjoyed Ruth’s Chris, he wasn’t as big of a fan of this steak house as he has been of Fleming’s or Capital Grille.  However, while I probably do enjoy the overall atmosphere and the meal itself better at other steak houses, I actually think that the beef itself at Ruth’s Chris is more tender and flavorful than at other steak houses.  Either way, we both ended up on Christmas Day on vacation full and content and happy to be celebrating our holidays together and with good food in our bellies.

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