Review: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

1.3.14 – Note: Since this review was completed, the restaurant moved to a new space on SW Broadway. It is decidedly more upscale, with a darker, clubby feel. The bar area is quite nice, and the happy hour food is surprisingly good – and only $7 for many food items and drinks. I had a steak sandwich there yesterday, and was really surprised how good it was. The same went for two cocktails – the first, a Manhattan was one of the best I’ve had in Portland. The service was excellent. People watching through the large windows is great.

Though I haven’t eaten a full dinner yet, (and I will soon), I have no problem recommending the bar and happy hour.

At this point, you can pretty much disregard the review below. I’ll have an update in the next few months.

Ruth’s Chris is the largest steakhouse chain in the United States. As such, it was the first major restaurant of that type to give the Portland institution Ringside Steakhouse any real competition. After it opened, I used to go now and then to experience something a bit more upscale. I enjoyed the cleanly modern, yet clubby feel. However, as I’ve gotten older, I have tended to eschew steakhouses in general, and hadn’t been to any in quite some time. Now with my steakhouse review project, that has all changed.

Ambiance: The first thing I noticed about Ruth’s Chris hit me before I had even opened the door. The entry seemed a bit worse for wear. Inside, it was more of the same. This is a restaurant that is clearly in need of a bit of fixing up; it is not nearly as impressive as it was 10 years ago. Neither is the crowd. As I walked to my table, I couldn’t help but notice the large number of people in sandals and casual wear. We felt like we were in the suburbs, rather than in a downtown steakhouse.

As we sat down, I took in the surroundings. The inside is a bit dated and in need of a refresh. It is more brightly lit than it used to be, and with the rays of the long summer day streaming through the windows, it all felt a bit cheap. The long tacky mural painted across the back wall doesn’t help. The clubby feel found in many steakhouses is gone. This place has seen better days. Grade C-

Service: Overall, the service was excellent. The waiter was clear and concise, though it was a bit annoying to hear the table next to us being told about specials that were never mentioned to us. Another gripe, the water up-sell was worse than most: “Would you like sparkling, bottle flat, or JUST TAP WATER”, the last delivered with scorn that made us spontaneously roll our eyes as he walked away. A floor manager frequently scanned the room, always ready to step in to make sure guests were happy. I have some stock questions I ask the server at every location; this one answered every one correctly.  Overall, the service was excellent and attentive. A- (marked-down for the obnoxious water up-sell)

Salads: As per all these steakhouse reviews, we all had Caesar salads. This is of a fairly traditional middle-America nature, though somewhat small compared to other steakhouses. It is not made at the table as some are, but is brought out on a plate, fairly small leaves, surrounded by four tiny  tomatoes. The romaine was dressed properly, a decent shaved Parmesan cheese over the top. The dressing was better than I expected, with a nice burst of anchovy. Grade C+

The steaks were less impressive. We ordered them medium rare, but a New York (16 ounces) came medium well. The meat was not as high quality as some other steakhouses in town, and, combined with a steak knife that looked right out of a dollar store, was tough to cut. Unfortunately, the characteristics of a Porterhouse (28 oz) were similar, cooked medium instead of medium-rare, and a bit tough. The flavor of both steaks was pretty good, but they were both over-seasoned to the point where we kept the staff busy refilling our water glasses. For a restaurant that specializes in steak, if they do one thing right, this should be it. Grade C-

Sides: Every steakhouse has different side dishes, but you can generally find similar offerings between restaurants. At this time of year asparagus is at its peak, but here it was thick and a bit woody. An accompanying hollandaise was broken and didn’t have much flavor. A second dish, potatoes au gratin in cream sauce was topped with melted cheddar. The potatoes were not under or over cooked, and the cheese was a bit sharp. No complaints if you are into that sort of thing. Bread and butter are served with every meal, and is of better quality than most steakhouses.  Grade C

Other factors: Wines by the glass ranged from $9.50 to $34 for a Caymus cab. They also have a better than average selection of splits, which is nice if you are dining alone. The entire wine list is of moderate size, and leans heavily towards California wineries. Only a few Oregon selections were available. The server seemed to have a good grasp of all the glass pours, and steered us to cheaper priced offerings rather than the most expensive – points in my book. Overall, the selection by bottle and glass was pretty good, with average restaurant markup. Stemware was of good quality. Corkage is $15.00.

I realize the steak plates are small to keep you from burning your fingers as they come to the table sizzling, but then you have to deal with a second plate for the side dishes. This would normally not be much of a problem, but those plates are tiny! Trying to fit a couple of items was more of a chore than it should be. Asparagus was so long it flopped over the edges. It was annoying.

This is the only steakhouse in my survey where I didn’t have dessert. From looking at the menu, and then watching them pass by all evening, there was nothing that made me the slightest bit interested. They all had that shipped frozen look to them, and I just couldn’t make myself taken in additional calories. That being said, desserts at many of the other steakhouses werent’ exactly winners.

My whole experience at Ruth’s Chris bothered me, because nothing about it was as good as I remembered from years ago. Since then, I have come up with a theory. When they first opened, Ruth’s was the classiest steakhouse in town. Then Morton’s and El Gaucho arrived. Their business must have been diluted by the arrival of these competitors. I believe Ruth’s has purposely positioned themselves a little lower than the two other chains to differentiate themselves. Judging from the crowded dining room, they have done a good job drawing a less upscale crowd. Their only real competition is Ringside, though one of my companions suggested we add Stanford’s to the list, because she felt it was comparable and somewhat less expensive. I may do that.

The total cost of my average meal for two, consisting of two cocktails, two Caesars, two steaks, two sides, and two glasses of wine, priced in the center of the wine list, was $157.00.

This is the summary of a group of four steakhouse reviews. You can see the:

  • Address: 309 SW 3rd, Portland OR. 97204
  • Phone:(503) 221-4518
  • Website: Ruths Chris.com
  • Hours: Mon-Sat: 5pm-10pm, Sun 4pm-9pm. Bar opens daily at 4pm
  • Map

 

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. jolly says

    A ‘c-‘ for the steak was awfully generous of you. Ordering a steak medium rare and having it come medium well is ridiculous. Maybe it’s just part of your steakhouse survey format here, just taking everything as it comes, but I’m a little surprised you ate it.

    • Food Dude says

      You may be right. I’ll give it some thought. The flavor was good, which is why I gave it a slightly below average score.

      • says

        I agree with jolly. At those prices the piece of leather…er, steak…should have been sent back to the kitchen. You could still grade according to the first steak, but hopefully be left with something worth eating.

  2. Artist Foodie says

    This is a great review, and validates a recent experience that I had with Ruth’s. I took out of town guests to this restaurant based on previous experience, and it was quite disappointing. At the time I thought that they were possibly having an “off” night, but I also decided that my return is unlikely.

    Looking forward to the other steakhouse reviews. Thanks.

  3. says

    My sister was set to attend a college graduation party in Denver this last Saturday. The location? Ruth Chris. About 24 hours prior to the party the venue was changed when RC was closed by the city due to unpaid back taxes.

    On another note, as I travel around the country I notice (I’m thinking particularly of Vegas a couple of weeks ago and Cabo several years ago) these restaurants seem to be stuck in horrid locations like underdeveloped or outdated strip-malls. It seems to me that, nationally, the entire chain is withering into some sort of moneyed version of the outback stake house….

    I enjoy reading your blog and local reviews. Keep up the good work.

  4. Jeff Shultz says

    $157.00 for two for what seems to average out at a C+ rating? I think I’ll stick with Roadhouse Grill….

  5. says

    Good review. Glad I wasn’t there. And makes my memory of the perfectly medium-rare NY steak off the grill at home the other night all the more satisfying. Your “throwing ourselves on the grenade…” tag line has never been more true!

  6. qv says

    Could you refresh my memory FoodDude?

    I recall in some review discussion you said why you don’t send things back in reviews and it made sense to me. But I also wonder, if given how people do make mistakes and all if a review that gave an insight into how mistakes are handled at a place wouldn’t be useful too?

    As in this case where while it is completely fair to base the grade on an incorrectly made steak it would be interesting to know how the server and management handle these problems. Some restaurants can make a great experience out of something that starts on the wrong foot.

    • Amoureuse says

      FD,

      I agree with Q.V. At any price you should always get your steak cooked correctly. Also why did’nt your server or a manager ask the ususal 5 minute after service question?, ” is everything prepared to your liking? “.

      Mistakes happen, I am sure if you had complained, you would have at the very least receieved a new steak. If not a gift certificate to come back another night and try then out again.

      As for the question of when you ate, that is not an excuse. Sunday or Saturday you should get the same meal.

      How restaurants handle mistakes says a lot about there management. We all make mistakes. Do we admit it and say sorry is the real question.

      Good review ….I think you will be happiest with El gaucho though, just my opinion….I cant eat that mush meat though, and when I do I guess these days I gorge on Korean Bar b Que…..

  7. jimster says

    The number of people surprised about this review? Zero.

    Thw number of people surprised on your insistance at including marginalchain joints in a quest to find the “best steakhouse in Portland”? Everyone.

    • says

      Everyone minus at least one. I think FD’s methodology is entirely justified and appropriate.

      Critical analysis — and in particular, comparative critical analysis — is done best if you take your samples from the broadest possible range. If you sample only from the very far end of a continuum, you can’t adequately evaluate the results against the whole length of the continuum. Or, to put it another way, how can you tell that a truly superlative steak is, in fact, truly superlative if you’ve never tasted an ordinary steak?

      I’ve been a reviewer myself (mostly of books, rather than restaurants), and one of the questions book reviewers get from time to time is “But why do you review bad books? There are so many good ones out there!” The answer is that you can’t maintain a balanced critical palate if you only sample from the really good stuff, or stick only to reading and reviewing books you like. Also, telling readers what you don’t like can be important, because readers’ tastes can differ from yours, and the more a reader knows about your own biases, the better he or she can judge from a given review — whether of a book or a restaurant — whether it’s a book or restaurant they’ll want to check out or to avoid.

      FD is approaching this project wisely and well, and I commend that approach.

      • Food Dude says

        Thanks. I always try to point out any personal bias in reviews. If there was any here, it was that I expected it to be similar to my experiences almost 15 years ago.

  8. jimster says

    Not Ruth’s Chris and not Morton’s. I mentioned this before when you were talking about doing this. In no other city in America are either of those 2 chains considered the best steakhouse in town so why would they be here? I, literally, would have tried any other steakhouse than those 2. There are a million to choose from and half the ones you chose were chains. The equivalent would be trying to discover the best Chinese food in Portland and going to P.F. Chang’s and Panda Express (okay that one was a reach). There were plenty of actual steakhouse recs (and lots of good steak/non-steakhouse recs) in an earlier thread. Any of those had the potential to be better (way better) than what you experienced.

    • Artist Foodie says

      I am really looking forward to the Morton’s review, as it is the only one of the four that I haven’t been to and people continue to recommend it to me as a great steak house.

      My two cents.

  9. KidP says

    FoodDude,

    Nice review. I for one am morbidly curious to see what you think of the chain steakhouses – doesn’t matter that they are chains – in a survey of local steakhouses, it’s enlightening to include them and compare them. We may learn that the independent operation underperforms the chain. I doubt this is true, but it could be.

    Camus Cabernet, a wine that provides a temporary window into the bleak and futile existence of the bourgeoisie. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    Keep em’ coming!

    • Food Dude says

      I haven’t had a Camus Cab in years, but used to be friends with the owners and enjoyed their wines. I did not, however, spend the big $ to have a glass with this review ;)

      • foodsnob says

        Sorry if I missed a trick here but did an Algerian born philosopher/footballer recently, and posthumously, branch out into viniculture, or do you perhaps mean Caymus?

  10. zumpie says

    FD, great review–the only thing I’ll add is I worked for Ruth’s about 10 years ago, while it appears even weaker now, the writing was always on the wall. The overpriced, soak the guest, borderline diner qualities were always there.

    About the steaks being cooked wrong—did you possibly go on Sunday? When I worked there, Sunday nights were HORRIBLE because the “chef” (or more accurately, kitchen manager) was off, leaving a pair of idiots in his place. As servers, we were excited when we DIDN’T receive a complaint on Sunday.

    Anyway, good luck to you, I’m sure you enjoyed El Guacho far more.

  11. Kate says

    Thank you for doing this project – such careful research and thoughtful reviews. I haven’t been to any Portland steakhouse except Ringside in years, but was always wondering what kind of swanky awesomeness I was missing out on. So far, doesn’t sound like much.

  12. Mary says

    I am a server at Ruth’s Chris. Yes, we are a chain and have been around for a long time and that does give our place a more casual feel. It seems that you were comparing your recent experience to your past experience ten years ago. Could this have caused some prejudgement as you walked in the door?
    I really wish you would have let your server know about your steak being medium well so you could have seen how quickly we react to these stiuations. You could have been slicing into a medium rare steak in a matter on minutes. Also, what led you to believe that our steak was of lessar quality then steaks at other steakhouses? You really did not expand on this. We serve USDA prime beef.

    I think you should have at least tried a dessert before you “reviewed” them. They are all made in house, not frozen.
    I also thought the “dollar store knife” was a low blow.

    That being said, I enjoy your blog and reviews. Obviously I wish that you had a better experience at Ruth’s.

    Mary

  13. Food Dude says

    I’m confused. It doesn’t say anywhere we didn’t send the steaks back. It just says they came overcooked. That being said, this is a steakhouse, and not getting them right the first time is inexcusable.

    I thought the beef was not as good a quality as some other steakhouses, because it flat out wasn’t as good. It was tougher and had less flavor.

  14. qv says

    “I’m confused. It doesn’t say anywhere we didn’t send the steaks back. It just says they came overcooked.”

    Sorry, I think she beought that up because of my post earlier. Am I just dreaming that sometime (maybe more than a year ago) you said in a review that you generally don’t send things back when you review?

    …or maybe I just inferred that from something? Anyway, sorry if I assumed incorrectly.

  15. Mary says

    You are right, I did make that assumption about you not sending your steak back. I also agree that it is unfortionate to have an overdone steak arrive at your table. I hope we fixed the mistake for you. Thanks for your reply. Like I said, I wish you had a better experience at Ruth’s Chris.
    Mary

  16. Vaugirard says

    “This is a restaurant that is clearly in need of a bit of fixing up; it is not nearly as impressive as it was 10 years ago. Neither is the crowd. As I walked to my table, I couldn’t help but notice the large number of people in sandals and casual wear. We felt like we were in the suburbs, rather than in a downtown steakhouse.”

    This may warrant a separate thread but this comment is spot on and applies to many other locations in Portland. Portlanders are obnoxiously lazy and sloppy dressers. Whatevever happened to taking a little pride in dressing nicely or at least more appropriately when going out? Flip flops, sandals, shorts, tank tops and baseball caps or other hats should not be allowed in nicer places. I don’t want to look at a bunch of slobs when I am going out for a nice meal. It is especially embarrassing when I take out-of-towners to dinner here. I wish restaurants had dress codes in Portland like they do in other cities. I’ll be interested in Food Dudes other steak house reviews regarding fellow customers dress codes.

    • zumpie says

      ITA. While (again) I really DO like living here, I’m amazed at how poorly everyone dresses. It really is possible and completely okay to NOT look like you’re going camping all the time. And yes, one can even do so while still wearing jeans.

        • says

          That made me laugh so hard, my husband had to call from the other room, “What’s so funny?”
          As for Portlanders and dressing: it’s true. I’ve been traveling a lot for work/lfe, and every time I set foot in another city, I think, wow, the people here look so groomed, and styling. I mean, everything from hairdos to shoes. What gives?

          • Good Food For Me says

            Just so you know. Portland was voted worst dressed city in North America a few years back and I’m sure that has not improved.

    • red_the_opinionated says

      I agree with you 100%. For me, going out to a nice dinner entails an entire evening. It is an event, not just a meal. I dress in my nicest clothing, fix my hair with some special adornments, my best jewelry, etc…

      I was raised in a family that really didn’t have a lot of money, but there were many occasions that it was unacceptable to wear casual clothing. Anytime you were going to an office – doctor, lawyer, principle, any restaurant that had linen napkins – yes, even the sizzler, also any school function – choir concerts, plays, etc..

      That being said, my “nice” outfits aren’t exactly furs and diamonds, ya know?

  17. Emily says

    Food Dude? Really? Friends with the owners of Camus? It is spelled Caymus! One of the most prominent and well repected wineries in California! Oregon food dude would be a better title. At least it would reveal your local bias. Ruth’s Chris was the first eatery that tried to help poor patchuli soaked Portland become a little cosmo! Yes a really acidic fruity Oregon pinot, which is all Oregon does well , would pair well with a strip! I think NOT! Ruths opened 12 years ago by the way! I was at the opening night and still frequent it often! Been to the others and they are fine. They are not Ruth’s! Ruths never claimed to be the most upscale and snooty. Just consistent great food and southern hospitality. Sorry you have so much time on your hand to compare apples to oranges! Strange how such a terrible dining establisment can be so busy in this economy. They must be doing something right! And just another error on your part, Ruths is the largest upscale dining company in the WORLD! They own multiple other upscale eateries in the world. I think the title of largest steakhouse chain in the US is Outback. Which I am sure you will be comparing to all others next? I think a new occupation is in order!

    • Food Dude says

      best laugh I’ve had all day. Thanks! I’d add Outback as you suggest, but I’m afraid how Ruth’s would do.

      • zumpie says

        Oooooohhh! I think I know exactly who Emily is. And I’m quite surprised she’d be so “Ruth’s is completely awesome”. But she did always really dig the corporate thing (however incorrect some of their standards might be).

        • snowyaker says

          Emily, you make me laugh. You write Ruths isn’t trying to be the most upscale and snooty in one sentence, then you write that Ruths is the largest upscale dining company in the WORLD!(sic). Have cake and eat it too, much?

          Anyways, I enjoyed this review and the whole steakhouse comparison. I spent half my life in Montana where you can get a good steak at a diner. My favorite place was a little whole in the wall outside of Bozeman called Sir Scott’s Oasis. Cheap meat (comparatively) but unbelievably good.

          My money is going to El Guacho next time I do a big ticket dinner with my girl. This has been a fun series and I hope you keep up with the theme Food Dude.

    • pdxyogi says

      Emily: With all of your exclamation points you remind me of the “Seinfeld” when Elaine was busted by her boss for adding way too many of them to a book she was editing!

    • zumpie says

      Actually, Emily, I believe Morton’s is larger (or roughly the same size). And they both kinda suck—and I say this as a former Ruth’s employee and a Morton’s almost employee.

      Plus, who says they’re soooooo busy? Their PR people? Largest this, fastest growing that are very common PR/Marketing buzz words. They mean absolutely NOTHING.

      • zumpie says

        P.S. I honestly have yet, in fact, to work for a company that wasn’t “THE leader”, “THE largest”, “THE most unique”, “THE best loved”, etc.

        Of course it IS a bit mystifying as to how EVERY company is “THE BEST”, but well, you know, why should facts get in the way.

        • morris says

          Sometimes companies that really and truly want to be the leader, the largest, the most unique or the best loved just don’t seem to manage to attract the right people. No matter how good the food is, servers with a bad attitude can simply drag them down. The fact is that sometimes, some people just need to get out of this business.

          Sounds like you should give that a try fairly soon.

          • zumpie says

            Sorry, Morris, but my comments were not specific to restaurants or hospitality, but the corporate culture as a whole. There’s a fabulous site http://www.corporatetrash.com that adresses precisely how everything and every company are always “world class”. And since I’m not a billionaire playgirl, I do need to earn an income somewhere

      • says

        Emily, why do you care so much? Haven’t seen you on this site before, and certainly have never seen anyone so worked up over a corporate steak house chain that advertises in the back of airline magazines. Just seems a bit weird to me. Unless you work there or for them or something? Then you should probably disclose that.

        • qv says

          “so worked up over a corporate steak house chain that advertises in the back of airline magazines”

          That is the most wonderfully subtle expression of disdain I have read in a very long time. I have no idea what chemical reaction it sets off in the brain but “advertises in the back of airline magazines” just evokes such utter banality. Brilliant! Brilliant!

          • haha says

            Actually the Ringside also advertises in those same mags, normally as one of the places listed in those “Top Ten steakhouses” faux lists.

          • qv says

            Wasn’t implying agreement w/the statement (have never been to a corporate steakhouse and likely never, ever will so can’t say)..just the image it evokes.

  18. Travis Smith says

    Nice review, FD. Unfortunately, your reveiw exactly matched a recent experience my wife and I had in Maui. Not wanting to endure another overpriced meal lacking any originality and creativity, we elected to dine at what we thought would be a ‘sure thing’, a steakhouse thats been around for decades. The meal and service was horrible. It started when our waiter, while chatting with us, poured our red wine we ordered into my water glass (with water in it). I felt the same way about the ceaser’s, but I will say our steaks were cooked perfectly (although, clearly not the best quality beef). Dessert is where things really went down hill. During our entire trip we kept hearing about a local cremery who makes great ice cream. Our server proudly told us that they had just switched to this cremery after using Haggen Dazs for years. While we were a little put off that they didn’t make thier own ice cream, we were nonetheless happy to finally try the local stuff. We were given two choices, sorbet and vanilla. I chose vanilla, only to be served coconut, which I hate. Our server seemed perplexed that it could be coconut and questioned my palate. When he returned, he seemed thrilled to have figured out the issue, explaining that all of the ice cream is pre-scooped at the beginning of the night and put on a speed rack in the freezer. He surmised that a couple of dishes of coconut remained from a previous night before the switch over to vanilla. I was horrified, but our waiter was elated to have solved the mystery of the random coconut ice cream.

    I must also say FD’s comments on the decor were spot on. We felt exactly the same way and wondered if they purposely made things casual and kinda dumpy because it was Maui. If this is the case chain-wide, they have some serious issues happening and will need to address them real soon.

  19. homer's son says

    “Strange how such a terrible dining establisment can be so busy in this economy. They must be doing something right! And just another error on your part, Ruths is the largest upscale dining company in the WORLD”

    Many terrible dining establishments can be “so busy” … Deschutes Brewery comes to mind … McDonalds has sold over a billion hamburgers, but is not close to a good hamburger, let alone great one.

    Recently, I took my son to Ruth Chris for an a “ocassion dinner” and we were disappointed … service was excellent, but a ho-hum meal. Maybe a modicum of snootiness would have at least entertained us.

    • says

      We ate last year at Ruth’s Chris. Six people, six steaks. Only one came out great (mine). Not sure why this was. They were cooked okay; they just didn’t tip over into steak greatness. (I tasted everyone else’s, and while no one was terribly disappointed, neither was anyone thrilled.) For something like $60 a steak, not including the sides (which I recall as nothing to write home about), I won’t go back to Ruth’s Chris.
      That said, the first and only other time I ate at a RC, in LA, more than a decade ago, it was outrageously good, maybe the best steak I’ve eaten outside of Peter Luger.
      I think, when you are going to a steakhouse, the product must be consistent. There just isn’t any room for an off night for a place that serves steak, steak and steak. I’ve been to Peter Luger five or six times, and it has always been a thrill. Simply great meat.

  20. Emily says

    The Mortons company is about half the size of Ruths! All that info is available to you being that they are both publicly traded. It was the food dude that said in the review that the dining room was busy! Does anyone read this or just rant and vent? As for the too many exclaimation points !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can’t wait for the next “review”. Just sayin.

    • Melissa says

      Emily,

      Methinks you’re taking this a little too personally for an objective forum reader. Your average Joe sixpack the plumber does not read this site. The review is intended for gastronomes who don’t want to eat somewhere just because it is big or busy. I’m sure you’ll agree that Ruths business will not be affected by this review. Pretty much the only impact will 1) guiding those of us who seek excellence in dining; and 2) hurting the feelings of people who work there or love someone who does.

      • zumpie says

        Come to think of it, the way Emily is carrying on, you’d think her mother had been personally insulted, not the steak diner she works for. I’ve always read disparaging reviews of my employers with a smirk. Unless the review specifically stated “zumpie was the biggest freakin’ beeyotch ho that ever lived”. Then I’d be inclined to look at my behavior and perhaps improve it.

        As for the “largest fine dining chain in the WORLD”, maybe yes, maybe no–but regardless, Ruth’s is mediocrity defined.

        • says

          When I was doing the baking for Ristretto, some blogger wrote that she hated the chocolate chip cookies so much, I must be “adding a special taste-bad ingredient.” Other people loved them; what are you going to do? Did I comment or contest? Heck, no, it’s her blog, and (ahem) with the exception of the crack about the cookies, she was an okay writer.

  21. says

    What an entertaining read! I can’t wait for the other reviews to see who gets angry.

    I’ve never eaten at any of the steak houses in Portland, so this is all very informative. Thanks!

  22. Emily says

    Thanks for the thought Melissa. I do realize this review won”t effect their business. I had never even heard of his review site until a few weeks ago. Interesting. I was curious as to what the reviews would reveal. Like I said I love Ruth’s and there are so many more like me, and I do enjoy the others on occasion.
    The issue of bigger is better? Not always. But with Ruths, as with my company, sometimes it is an asset to have a larger structure backing you. No matter what city I take clients out to I always know what to expect at Ruths. A delicious meal and top notch service! I have friends who still rave about the amazing steak dinner we had in Portland. My family will say the same about the other locations we have been to. Except Vegas, where Morton’s is king! I just thought the review would be a bit more scientific than hugely critical. It just seems like such an easy target to attack the big guy!
    As for dear Zumpie, didn’t you say you had worked there. Were you fired?

    • zumpie says

      Sorry to disappoint you, Em, but I left entirely of my own volition. BTW, is the kool-aid you clearly partake of quite often good? :-)

    • Kernel says

      “I just thought the review would be a bit more scientific than hugely critical.”

      So, in order to be “scientific,” one has to be positive? Interesting . . .

      Look, I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I have been to RC 3 or 4 times in the past few years (both here in Portland and elsewhere) and it’s always underwhelming from start to finish. Even when done well, it’s hard for me to justify the prices of a top steakhouse when I can cook a damn fine steak at home. That doesn’t hold true with other cuisine. So I expect to be wowed at a steakhouse.

      I have nothing against RC or Morton’s or the like, but I am “scientific” that I won’t be spending my money there anytime soon.

    • mzwong says

      FD gave grades to each part of the meal and experience. He also said that he will be posting a spreadsheet of all of the steakhouses that he reviews in this epic undertaking. I think that will be as scientific as one could possibly expect from someone who puts together a food website with only his own money and contributions. This isn’t the Oregonian or NYT or something – and they wouldn’t be “scientific” either. As with any review, it comes down to personal taste. You read a critic’s reviews enough to gauge if you tend to like the same things as they do, or not, and use that info when making a decision about where to spend your time and money.
      A critic does not just laud places they like – that’s advertising, or maybe even advertorial.
      This is not just a review site, though I love the reviews. It’s a site with a breadth of local food knowledge that I have come to really count on.
      You said that you just heard about this site a few weeks ago. Hopefully you have, or will, take some time to read past articles and reviews to get a feel for what the site is all about.
      I hope you find it as informative and entertaining as I do.

    • Ariana Berry says

      Whoa-ho! After posting my own I went back and read the other comments. Emily’s a nut!
      Em, I’m a business owner (& occasional nut) who couldn’t help myself from spitting venom on somebody else’s web-turf before and it was a mistake.
      This is what happens–you end up looking unreasonably obsessive, aggressive, defensive, and petty…it doesn’t feel good to be so poisonous. You lose credibility with such a biased stance and the blog’s owner will always have more fans there than you will.
      That was definitely my learning lesson and maybe this will be yours. It’s a dog that just won’t hunt!

  23. Flattail says

    I will always remember my dinner at Ruths Chris a couple of years ago. It wasn’t because of the food, but due to the manager laying into the table next to us, because they had received our appetizers and didn’t bother to tell the server. I mean he made a HUGE scene. First time I have ever witnessed a manager (of all people) just reaming out some customers. Very entertaining.

  24. reflexblue says

    Maybe this is the wrong place… but the only way at home I can make a rare medium rare steak that is juicy and not raw is by having the steak at close to room temperature when I sear it. Do restaurants sear their steaks while they’re cold?

    I’ve only been to Ruth’s Chris once, and that was in S.F. It was pretty good, great service, but I never forgot that I was in a chain restaurant while dining.

    • says

      The way my husband does it: sears the steaks in a cast iron skillet on the stove (which he’s dusted with Kosher salt), gets a little crust on the outside, then throws the pan with the steaks in a very hot oven, I think somewhere around 450 – 500, for a few minutes. Takes them out, lays the steaks on a cutting board, lets them sit a minute or two covered loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. Voila: nice crusty outside, rare and juicy inside.

  25. Food Dude says

    Reminder: No outing people!

    With all this commotion over Ruth’s Chris, I’m wondering what will happen with the next review (Tuesday).

    No news worth reporting this week, so no other posts.

  26. PDX Brett says

    I rarely eat at steakhouses anymore, but I did eat at Ruth’s Chris about 3 months ago for the first time and I thought my medium rare petite filet was outstanding. This could mean one of two things: 1) My palette isn’t refined enough to know an average steak from an excellent one, or 2) they did a good job.

    I’m open to either given I almost never eat steak, and given that statistically they have to knock one out of the yard sometimes.

    Neither speaks well for Ruth’s Chris, of course.

  27. Ariana Berry says

    Your perceptive review is accurate in my book!
    Not quite as impressive as we’d garnered given the reputation and price-tag. Our steaks were good. But just good, partially due to the over-seasoning. Our service was impeccable, but the hostess and the server both had that vibe off scoffing at you when they walked away, especially b/c we also requested lowly tap water (the busboy, on the other hand, was an unexpectedly friendly delight). Thanks to appetizers, a bottle of wine, and desserts, our bill was staggering given the overall “eh” impression.

    For those attempting to make it at home–the cast-iron salt-crusted a good bet, but be aware that Ruth’s Chris has specially designed, very expensive, insanely hot ovens that flash-broil. My boyfriend still has the criss-crossed arm scars the cooks develop while learning how the navigate the different shelves of it (each shelf is for each degree of done-ness).

  28. says

    I’m new to this site, and have a question:

    Where do you have a page that ranks restaurants? I don’t have time nor inclination to read every review… but would love to refer to this site for recommendations.

    Is my only choice “TripAdvisor”

    Thanks…

  29. Sue says

    I happened on this today looking for a restaurant for our Anniversary this evening. I went to Ruth Chris 10 years ago for a company dinner and had the best filet I ever sunk my teeth into. Now I don’t know what to do. Should I just stay home and save my money?

  30. new in town says

    I love Ruth’s! I’ve been to a few around the US and have never been disappointed. The location in Portland was no differnt. Attentive staff, friendly service. I have never, ever, ever had a run in with a rude Ruth’s employee, ever, nor a snooty one. No one has ever tried to upsell water to me. The choices are presented and that is that. I’ve even brought in cheap wine and paid the corkage fee, to which my server did not even blink an eye to be opening an $8.00 bottle of wine.

    It is the place for filet. I’m a ny strip gal myself, but Ruth’s is the one and only exception for me. Always filet, always medium rare. Delicious!

    Dessert at Ruth’s is not to be missed. Worst case is the standard Bread Pudding, never disappointing. Sometimes they will have a delectable special that I will try. So good and such a nice end to the meal. Don’t forget the Ruth’s coffee!

    Always outstanding, always consistent (and always $$$$$) I have never been disappointed at Ruth’s.

    By the way, isn’t it Caymus Cab?

    • Food Dude says

      You brought an $8 bottle of wine to Ruth’s Chris, and they opened it? I think you have, both, confirmed everything I said about them, but also given a new definition to the word “cheap”.

      • new in town says

        I guess because I couldn’t afford the CAYMUS, I’m ‘cheap’.

        Of course they opened it. Why wouldn’t they?

        Price is not indicative of quality.

        Apologies for disagreeing with your review.

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