Monday, December 3, 2012

Ruth's Chris: Philadelphia Review

I've been going to this chain (I use the term loosely since it has such negative connotations) for over a decade. Regardless of whether I'm having a Ruth's Chris rib-eye in Chicago, NJ, or in Philly, it definitely hits the spot. I have fond memories from college of getting together with all of my friends when our parents were in town. We splurged (on our parents' dime of course) and had some of the best steaks we've ever had at the time.

Since then, my tastes have become slightly more discerning and it is clear there are several higher quality steak houses out there. Peter Luger's, BLT Steak, and Primehouse come to mind in NY, while Butcher & Singer and Barclay Prime hit the spot in Philly. But for those of you who scoff at any chain restaurant - Ruth's Chris gets the job done - consistently and well.

And just because it's a chain - doesn't necessarily mean you get chain price points. Ruth's Chris is just as pricey as the big boys. I'm sure if they had a lower rates - they would easily get more customers.

In any case, this time around, we came with the GF's brother and cousin. The brother has been here every time he's visited from Michigan and I like to think I've turned him on to a real steak-house steak. In fact, the GF's brother typically prefers his meat well-done, but I've even shown him the light in terms of ordering at a medium to medium-rare temp.

Ruth's Chris did decorate for the holidays (we came the day after Thanksgiving - a bunch of gluttons, I tell ya).

But on to what constitutes a Ruth's Chris meal.
Bloody Mary - Stoli ($9.25)

Typically when I'm at a steakhouse, I like to start off with this libation. Peppery and fresh - I enjoy its undertones with any nice cut of meet. I asked for a Stoli iteration - it allowed for a nice smooth finish. Came with a simple olive, lime, and lemon wedge.


Bread service consisted of one dinner roll apiece. These were cold - definitely not made to order, or even on the hour. Somewhat understandable - wait no - I take that back. Not at these prices. At least they had room-temp butter though. Not being able to easily spread butter on bread is definitely a pet peeve of mine.

Rib-eye - Medium ($45)

The plate is right out of the broiler at 500 degrees - hot! Certified USDA Prime, this is a fantastic representation of my favorite cut of beef. While I typically order all other cuts medium-rare, I believe that medium is the perfect temperature for this cut as it allows the marbling to entrench in the meat better. The 'cap'? As you can see here - it's enormous and unctuous. The steak is seasoned perfectly, with a nice crust as well.

I've had the cowboy rib-eye here as well. That comes bone-in, which will typically add a more intense flavor to the beef. The last time I had it here though, the meat but a bit gristly and unfortunately, sinewy. Wasn't too happy, especially at a price point that is at least $10 more than the standard rib-eye. There's certainly enough flavor in Ruth's Chris standard rib-eye so I would generally recommend that. 

Petite Filet - Medium ($37)

The GF was all alone in ordering this tender cut of beef. I typically order mine medium-rare, but the GF prefers it medium. Filet has a more intense beef flavor and it definitely shined through in this iteration. The steak had a nice salty outer crust, which is a nice textural contrast as well. 

Shoestring Potatoes ($9)

These were deliciously crispy and salty without being too over-greased. It was a bit hard to get these onto our plates since they were so thin - a serving tong would have been appreciated. 

French-fried onion rings ($9.50)

These hefty-sized onion rings are a must-order. Perfectly fried, crispy, and delicious. The onions have bite and texture to them - not limp at all. They have also been tempered prior to frying so they're not too intense, which I appreciate.

Service this night was just as great as every other night. The atmosphere at Ruth's Chris is casual elegant. I've been here in a suit and in jeans. I've never seen the Philly location have much foot traffic, typically five or six other tables. However, they have plenty of space for at least 10 times that.

Overall, Ruth's Chris is consistent in its preparation and service. Nothing beats a delicious rib-eye, and Ruth's Chris does it well.

Ruth's Chris Steak House on Urbanspoon

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