Would we go back:
2nd and 9th
• Crab Stuffed Mushrooms $8.95 (shared)
• Petite Filet with Shrimp $29.95
• Au Gratin Potatoes $5.50 (shared)
• Chocolate Praline Encore $5.25 (shared)
I am not sure I get steak. I like many can appreciate a nice piece of meat, but I don't get the steakhouse steak. For some reason they want to serve you a piece of steak and that is it. Everything a la carte.
At Ruth Chris that is what you got a steak on a plain white plate. Granted it was a good piece of steak, both in size and assumingly quality. My piece of steak was over done, which is absolutely insane at a steakhouse, cause what else do the chefs have to do back there, but make each steak to the requested doneness. They don't need to make a sauce, to compliment the steak, they don't need to make a garnish to make the plate more attractive all they need to do is make the meat the right temp. Easy enough? Apparently not.
The sad thing is I have had lower quality pieces of meat, at non-steakhouse restaurants that have been much better. For example, I had a hanger steak at Mildred Pierce and Alma recently that I could not stop raving about for days after. They both had different but equally wonderful sauces to compliment the meat and the steak was perfectly done to my requested doneness. That is how steak should be served. I know at Ruth Chris I was in the minority. Knowing that I did not ask for steak sauce to cover up my overdone steak.
As with every other steakhouse they serve side dishes separately. Want a potato? $5.50. People pay it so why not? Problem is if you are going to charge $5.50 for Au Gratin Potatoes, I'd better be amazed at the result. Not the case here. The appetizer had an overwhelming pepper flavor that did not allow the crab to come through, really too bad. The dessert I will not even get into, I will just say WHY?.
When you open a steakhouse that charges $30 for a steak you have decided to play with the big boys. Minneapolis has lots of big boys, Mortons, Capital Grill, Murray's, Manny's, Kincaid's. There are set rules to play with the big boys. Service must be excellent. The sides are large and good. The appetizers are expensive but are great. And the desserts serve four and taste good. These are the rules you need to follow to play with the big boys. Ruth Chris, maybe cause she is a girl, has decided not to play by the rules. In fact, they are not even in the game.
• New York Strip $29.95
You can tell from the fair rating that we were disappointed with Ruth's Chris Steak House. You can tell from Ruth's portrait next to the front door and on the menu that Ruth must be an egomaniac. You can tell from naming a restaurant review web page after ourselves that we must be egomaniacs.
Ruth's Chris has all the pretense of a fancy steak house: several consecutive readers' choice awards for best restaurant, coat check, valet parking, and everything served a la carte. The prices match the pretense.
But the illusion was shattered during the meal. We started with crab-stuffed mushrooms. They were tasty enough and spicy. But they were too spicy, and it overpowered the crab. The mushrooms were fresh and the presentation acceptable. There were four medium stuffed mushrooms; it seemed like a small portion for the price and for a steak house. The waiter, who did not take our order, almost served them to another table but they refused it. It was a small flaw and completely forgivable, but it revealed a lack of attention to detail.
We skipped salad and I had the New York strip. It is served on a hot plate of sizzling butter. It makes for a nice presentation, not unlike fajitas at a Mexican restaurant, and the sizzling always makes my mouth water. But the butter does not add much to the steak, which is expected to stand on its own. On the whole, it was a fine steak, cooked perfectly, but I've had good steaks at half the price.
We split au gratin potatoes, noted as one of the New Orleans (house) specialties. I found them flavorless, which is fine if they're included with the steak, but not fine a la carte.
We split the dessert, another New Orleans (house) specialty. I was intrigued when I noticed it wasn't on the dessert tray. We were disappointed because it, too, lacked flavor.
$20 and up
February 17, 2001