Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse

Ratings Guide:
Half handshake, half chest-bump hug – 5 stars
Chest bump – 4 stars
Fist bump – 3 stars
High five – 2 stars
Handshake – 1 star
Manly ass slap – ½ star
Fone and fone – 0 stars

Restaurant: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Location: Every major metropolitan area in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and around the world.

I was in the Whale’s Vagina last week (that’s San Diego, in case you didn’t know. And if you didn’t, then you’re a poor excuse for a human being.) for work, and after a long day of meetings we were looking for someplace to eat. Unfortunately we weren’t staying in the heart of San Diego, but more like the ‘burbs of San Diego (near Del Mar). It’s a beautiful area, and I’m sure everyone there loves living in the Chesterfield/Naperville of southern Cal. That being said, your choices become a little more limited when staying in the ‘burbs versus in the city. So, after spending 10 minutes talking to the concierge for a dinner reco, we ended up just going the two blocks down to Ruth’s Chris.

Have you ever noticed that concierges never give you good recos? They always just tell you the places they think you’ll like because you’re a visitor/tourist, rather than just tell you the really good, insider places that said city has. If you want a good reco, you have to corner a waitress or local and get the real scoop. So annoying. I mean this guy was mentioning Ruth’s Chris as if we’d never heard of it before and it was the greatest steakhouse in the greater Saint Diego region. Quick question: when I say “so annoying” did I sound like a 14 year old girl or am I crazy?

Anywho, Ruth’s became the choice because we were tired of listening to the concierge talk, it was easy/close, and I’d actually never been (because I hate chain sit-down restaurants, and with roughly 1 billion Ruth’s Chris joints around the globe, it’s definitely a chain). And steak actually sounded really, really good. And you know what? It was.

Walking in, the place embodied everything I hate. Pretentious, snooty, and cold (and I’m not talking temperature cold, which would have been fine, because we might have seen a waitress or two nipping out). Not to mention the building itself had no character. Ruth’s Chris is a classic example of one of those things that I hate, but that 95% of America loves (kind of like Bud Light commercials). But, the service was pretty good. Friendly hostess, and our waitress was super nice, very attentive (but not annoying), and helpful.

After looking over the menu for a bit, it was clear there was only one choice for me – The Porterhouse for Two, although I demanded it be renamed to The Porterhouse for Two for One. The waitress said it was a 40 oz. cut of meat, which is child’s play, if you ask me. And, quite frankly, it’s an appetizer compared to the 64 oz. Porterhouse I demolished at Chicago Chop House a couple years back. And I might have shied away from the $80 price tag normally, but the choice was made a bit easier once I remembered I was ballin’ on an expense account.

Once I knew what I was going to go with for an entrée, I then had to work backwards to see what else I might want to complement it. I decided not to waste my time with a salad, because they brought out some bread to hold me over. And it was really good. Not that there was anything special about it, other than the fact it was fresh out of the oven (or microwave) and piping hot. Tough to beat warm bread, though the hot buns in Tijuana might have given it a run for it’s money. Especially when it’s smothered in butter (the bread, not the buns. But come to think of it…). And I was able to sneak a bite of Jeff’s Vine Ripe Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad. Really good.

So, knowing I wasn’t getting an app or a salad, I decided to go with some garlic mashed potatoes for my side item. We actually ordered them for the table, along with some onion rings. I was off fried food for the week, so I had to stick to my guns and didn’t get to sample the o-rings, but they looked f-ing delicious. Lucky for me the mashed potatoes were mouth-watering. Soaked in butter, with just a hint of garlic, they were as smooth as a totally waxed 18 year old (and yes, that’s a good thing).

But you don’t want to hear about side items and salads. You want to hear about the steak. And I’m happy to tell you about it. As I mentioned before, it was a 40 oz. cut of steak. And it was thick. I’m talkin’ Sally Struthers thick. Before they deliver the steak to your table they top it with about a pound of butter to help keep it hot and make it extra juicy. And it works. Not only that, they also cut the steak for you. Granted, the pieces are cut so big they’d choke Linda Lovelace, but it still makes it a little easier. And when it comes down to it, the steak was really good. I can’t emphasize enough how much I hate chain restaurants, but this was still one of the better steaks I’ve had. I liked it better than Chicago Chop House, or Keefer’s, for example. Now, it’s no Citizen Kane’s, but it’s still pretty enjoyable. The secret is the butter, though adding butter to anything makes it taste better, so I’m not sure how big a secret it really is. At one point I had to back away from the table and go for a quick walk to bathroom just to get stuff moving around. And once I did finishing the last couple bites was a snap. I’m not gonna lie, I’m really proud of myself. And incredibly disgusted with myself. But of course I’d do it again in a heartbeat, if my heart still beats after these kinds of meals. Assuming I wasn’t paying for it, of course.

So, reluctantly, I have no choice but to give Ruth’s Chris a chest bump.

And you’ll be happy to know we had a nice little chat with our cocktail waitress back at the hotel bar after dinner, and she was able to give us actual insight into some places to check out next time we’re in from out of town. Needless to say, I’m almost looking forward to going back to the Waukegan of San Diego.


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