Ruth's Chris Steak House

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Good, but not really worth the hype
Posted on
I ate at Ruth's Chris Steak House for the first time Friday night. I had heard so many people rave about it, I just had to see what all the fuss was about.

First: I love the name. Seems that someone named "Ruth" bought a restaurant called "Chris Steak House." Contractually, she was forbidden from opening any other restaurants with that name, so she added her name, "Ruth," to avoid any hassles.

Second: The service was exceptional from beginning to end. We were warmly greeted by people who seemed to actually care that we were there. We were never "bothered" by anyone, yet we were never "alone" for very long.

Aside: I love the chairs. Huge, full back, wingback chairs. Made us feel like we were not in a restaurant full of people.

Third: My wife and I each ordered the petite filet, which was 8 ounces. (The regular filet was 11 ounces.) Cooked perfectly and served on plates the waiter said were 500 degrees. When you took a bite, your tongue felt slightly scorched for a second - love it!

I had a baked potato (1 pounder) with sour cream, and my wife had mushrooms. She had a salad (not sure which one, they had several to choose), while I had a wedge salad (I wanted to compare it with Outback's wedge salad).

Aside: The wedge salad was not better than Outback's.

Fourth: The food was fine. Perfectly executed. Delicious. I couldn't have asked for better food, better service, better atmosphere.

Last: The thing is, though, while it was all good, I'm not sure it was worth all the money. $140 for our meals - with no alcohol. (We were also going to see the local symphony perform Beethoven's Ninth, so opted to stay away from the alcohol.)

Lone Star, Outback, Texas Roadhouse - they all have fine steaks/meals/service, too, but for a far cry less than $140 (with tip, of course, it was significantly more, but the amount of the tip was my design).

So: A+ to Ruth's Chris Steak House. I probably will *not* be back, unless I want to "impress" someone with how much money I can spend for a meal that I could get for the fraction of the cost elsewhere.

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Anonymous on 11/13/2011:
Good review. I still haven't eaten at Ruth' Chris. I love Texas Roadhouse and usually go there when I want a steak.
Anonymous on 11/13/2011:
I hear a lot of good things about them, but I can't afford to eat there or justify spending $100 on a meal. Like little I prefer TRH, good review.
drugdoc121 on 11/13/2011:
Like any other chain restaurant, the quality can differ by location. I first ate there in Arizona- amazing food and service. Then again in Conecticut- OK food, amazing service.
Anonymous on 11/13/2011:
What's interesting to me about this particular location is that it replaced a restaurant called "The 1913 Room," which was a 5-star restaurant (the only 5-star place in all of Michigan, and one of only a couple dozen in the entire country).

The 1913 Room was a highbrow place where you had to wear a jacket and tie to be seated. They had all the tiny forks and such that no one really know what to do with, so you always felt a little embarrassed to eat there.

But it was *too* highbrow, so they replaced it with Ruth's Chris, another "highbrow" place, but not quite so.

The money is indeed an issue, but every now and again we need to seek out and enjoy the "finer" things in life, or at least, that's my perspective - and my wife loves me for it!

madconsumer on 11/13/2011:
great review.
raven2010 on 11/13/2011:
Good review! I like Ruth Chris, but we have an old school steakhouse here called the Top---been around for generations and the atmosphere is very 50's-60's----amazing place
Anonymous on 11/13/2011:
That looks like a lot of fun, raven! One day I will have to try that....
Skye on 11/13/2011:
Good review. But sadly, Ruth's isn't available in my area.
Anonymous on 11/13/2011:
Ruth's is a little over hyped, but I enjoy it. My friends and I will sometimes pick Ruth's as our place to eat on payday Friday before we go to the movies. Because it is so pricey we don't go there often, but it is nice as a treat.
Anonymous on 11/13/2011:
Steak is my favorite food, the few times I do eat it I don't get anything less than a 12 ounce Ribeye or a 20 ounce porterhouse. I love my steak
trmn8r on 11/13/2011:
Ruth's Chris is a real restaurant. The other chains you mentioned are dumps where you can expect poor service, so-so quality and poorly prepared food too often - I know, because I go to the latter more than the former.

They really aren't in the same class.
Anonymous on 11/13/2011:
I disagree TRM, you don't have to dish out $100 at some fancy schmancy steak joint to get good service and great food.

it just depends on location, and how the joint is run.
momsey on 11/13/2011:
I love Ruth's Chris, but it's definitely not in the budget these days. The beef carpaccio appetizer...OMG.

By the way, my hubs and I love Longhorn and almost always get great service there.
Slimjim on 11/14/2011:
RC can be a bit overpriced. You do get a far nicer dining experience IMO than an Outback, Chucks or some of the other popular steakhouses. Like John said, it is a nice treat if you want to swing it once in a blue moon.
swimjim on 11/14/2011:
Well written review, you covered all the points S. RC isn't for everyone or every occasion, but top notch food and service has its place if you can "fork over" the cash. Nicely done.
ok4now on 11/21/2011:
Excellent post. Part of what you are paying for is the ambiance, exceptional personal service and the reputation of this fine dining establishment. The food is first class, it better be for the price. Yes it's over priced but you are treated like royalty and it's a "dining experience."

Friends of ours recently went there to celebrate their anniversary. No expense was spared. They ordered appetizers, drinks, the best menu dinners, a la carte extras and a bottle of fine wine to sooth their palate. The bill was $800 and the waiter got a $200 tip. $1000 for dinner? I wouldn't pay that. To each his own.
Ol'MB on 11/24/2011:
Great review and I couldn't agree more. We have had the same experience, although at one, I ordered a rib eye that was so tough I couldn't finish it, while my wife petite fillet was perfect. I could have complained but we were in a rush.
George on 11/25/2011:
the worst and most embarrassing experience I ever had was Ruth's Chris and was due entirely to incredibly poor service (unvbelievably poor considering their prices). Perhaps Ruth's Chris should consider sending their management and staff to McDonald's Hamburger University for training. Ruth's Chris showed no real concern over this senseless breach. Actively campaigning against them, I think that I have cost them a few thousand of seatings over the past few years (I contribute reviews for various media).
chrissiann on 11/29/2011:
I agree. Ruth's Chris steakhouse has delicious bread, the best calimari with Asian sauce I ever had, and good salads. Steaks were OK. Fiance and I each had one steak, we split the appetizer, salad and side item and still spent $120 including tip and no alcohol or sodas. Outback is infinitely better steaks and much cheaper price.
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Poor management of reservations
Posted by on
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA -- Update: I wanted to provide and update to my complaint below. After posting this complaint and copying Ruth's Chris online complaints form, I was immediately contacted by their director of marketing who apologized for the poor service and asked for my contact information. After that, I received a call from the general manager from the store who also wanted to apologize for the poor service. I then received a certified letter from the COO of this Ruth's Chris franchise, he wanted to let me know that they were upset that this level of service had occurred and they understood that in this type of market, service like that is unacceptable. He stated they were going to use my complaint as a training tool for the employees at that establishment and hoped I would give them another chance to prove their service is not normally like that and included a gift card for me to give them a try again. Based on their response, it does seem that they really do care that if a customer has a bad experience at one of their restaurants. Like I said before, I have always enjoyed their food so I will be happy to give them another chance to prove that the evening I experienced was not the norm for them. I’ll let you know how my return visit goes.

On Saturday evening I had made reservations to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse to celebrate Valentine's with my girlfriend. We had 7:30 reservations and arrived at the restaurant a few minutes prior and checked in with the Hostess. When we gave our name, the Hostess stated that they were running a little behind with reservations and that we should grab a drink in the bar and our table would be ready in about 15 or 20 minutes.

By the time we finally got our table it was 8:45. We had approached the Hostess twice during our wait and each time were told it is just going to be another 10 minutes or so.
During our wait we had asked to speak to the manager. We were not looking for anything comped or free, we just wanted to let him know we were displeased with the level of service we had received. The Hostess said she would let her manager know we wanted to speak with him and where we were seated in the bar. He never once came over to talk with us while we waited.

I worked in the restaurant industry for over 5 years and understand that reservations are not exact and can be difficult for restaurants to manage, especially on busy weekends like Valentines, but what really bothered me was the fact that the Hostess continued to tell guests that they were only running behind 15 minutes or so when it was really closer to an hour or more. Had she told us that upfront, we could have made a decision whether or not it was worth it for us to wait that long. We would have left that evening because my girlfriend was not feeling great and had we known it would have been over an hour we would have happily left and made alternate plans. We were fortunate because we didn't have anywhere to be afterwards but I really feel bad for people who had made reservations with intentions of doing something else afterward.

We obviously weren't the only ones upset with the long wait and the manager was basically going table to table during the meals because so many people were complaining, yet he still never made it to our table even though we had asked to speak with him. I would have been more forceful about speaking with him to voice our displeasure except we had already heard him at the table on either side of us offer minimal apologies and basically said that it was just an issue you have to deal with on Valentine's weekend.

Overall, the food was excellent, as I have always found it to be there, but the level of service was very disappointing, especially considering the prices they charge there. This was my first experience with this Ruth's Chris (North Raleigh) and it will be my last considering the service I received. In the past, I have had great service at other Ruth's Chris restaurants so it may just be an issue with this specific location. If you plan ongoing to this location, I would suggest calling ahead to verify how far behind they really are on reservations before heading out.
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Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
Nice, well written review. I wouldn't call ahead to check how far behind they really are on reservations (shouldn't have to!)..chances are you won't get the truth then, either.
madconsumer on 02/14/2011:
it is hard for the restaurant to determine how long people will take to eat. this happens all the time. it is not the restaurants fault, but the people who take hours to dine.

great review.
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
An hour and fifteen minute wait for a seven thrity reservation? Did they have a fire or something? That's simply inexcusable.
MRM on 02/14/2011:
Chem, long time, no see!
Slimjim on 02/14/2011:
Amazing, what's the point of even making a reservation. I think they overbooked on purpose to squeeze the most out of the night, figuring a little wait from each party could be dismissed, and it bit them in the rear when the waits started getting unmanageable.
This manager was probably getting called out all night over this.
momsey on 02/14/2011:
Very good review. Even chain restaurants can pretty closely estimate how long a wait is going to be. And most of them seem to overestimate, which is better than underestimating. As a matter of fact, we went to Longhorn a few weeks ago, and the wait was a bit longer than they told us when we walked in (we had no reservation). We were OK with it, and didn't complain, but even so, the manager came to our table to profusely apologize and I had a feeling if we weren't completely fine with it, we might have gotten something comped.

However, now you have me craving Ruth's Chris. Which is not good because that place is just not in the budget these days!
madconsumer on 02/14/2011:
the night before valentines day is for mistresses, and valentines night is for the wife/husband or significant other.
momsey on 02/14/2011:
So what's the night before the night before Valentine's Day for?
chemman on 02/14/2011:
Pepper, I never suggested that others be kicked out for me or lose their spot. I am shocked that a restauarant that I used to feel had great service (which you tend to pay a premium for), treated me so poorly as to not even offer an apology or bother to follow through with sending a manager over to speak with me. There are plenty of other restaurants around that can properly deal with reservations, even on busy weekends. I fully expect to wait 20 to 30 minutes, even with resevations on a busy weekend but over an hour without ever addressing it with me when I requested to speak with a manager, yes I am shocked.
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
There is no excuse for the manager's behavior. That's why I avoid the major chain steakhouses. Almost every city has a locally owned steakhouse where if there is a problem you can discuss it with the owner.
clutzycook on 02/14/2011:
What a good boyfriend you are! If I even get a freakin' Happy Valentine's day from Hubby, I'll be shocked.
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
Ruth Chris, is a expensive restaurant the actions that they showed are inexcusable I would take my business somewhere else after that.
PepperElf on 02/14/2011:
The thing is, there isn't anything they could have done to actually fix the wait issue.

Send the manager over?... maybe
if they're that swamped it's entirely possible (and not surprised) if the manager wasn't told or forgot.
or it's also possible that other paying customers were demanding personal conversations too.

though personally, since I've worked tech support... I also know that sometimes demanding an explanation or update from the person who's trying to fix an issue also means ... while they're talking to you they're not working on the issue. which means even more delays.
jktshff1 on 02/14/2011:
So what's the night before the night before Valentine's Day for?.......SEX?
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
So PepperElf you think it's perfectly okay to have a 7:30 reservation only to wait an hour and fifteen minutes to be seated at 8:45?
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
Peps, I got the idea from the OP that since he'd worked in the restaurant biz, he wasn't expecting anything more than an honest response to the wait time so he could make an informed decision with his g/f of whether or not they wanted to wait. I would expect that much out of your basic 2 star fresh, but previously frozen steak house.

PepperElf on 02/14/2011:
I think it's not surprising.

when my bf and I go out for valentine's day we either pick a place that has a specific seating time or we pick another night/place that's going to be less crowded.

Same for my sister & her husband. One year I watched the kids for them while they went out... they specifically chose either the 13th or 15th just so they could avoid the crowds.
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
PepperElf, you do realize that Saturday wasn't valentines days? Correct? Today is Valentines day and the restuarants will be crowded for sure.

I'm with Slimjim on this one. Why make a reservation if you're going to have to wait over an hour. I don't know why you can't just admit Ruth Chris dropped the ball on this one. Which by the way they did.
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
jkt - That's an every night thing.
jktshff1 on 02/14/2011:
I wouldn't know, me and the mrs have been together so long we just have hall sex.
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
No matter what day or holiday it is (or isn't) there is no excuse for bad service or a manager that gives half hearted apologies. End of story.
jktshff1 on 02/14/2011:
'Sup John......Great to see ya.
DebtorBasher on 02/14/2011:
Hostess: I'm sorry, we have no table available at the moment.

Chemman: I don't understand, I made a reservation, do you have my reservation?

Hostess: Yes, we do, unfortunately we ran out of tables.

Chemman: But the reservation keeps the table reserved. That's why you have the

Hostess: I know why we have reservations.

Chemman: I don't think you do. If you did, I'd have a table. See, you know how to
take the reservation, you just don't know how to *hold* the reservation and
that's really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody
can just take them.

PepperElf on 02/14/2011:
indeed of course Saturday isn't valentine's day.
however since vday is on today Monday... many people chose to have a vday weekend.

that's what my bf and I did after all.
out to a comedy show on Friday, stayed in the city the night, and the next morning we went to a museum and a gun range.

actually I'm a bit surprised he wants to go out again tonight but I won't argue. I'm hoping nothing too fancy because there will be people celebrating today as well as last weekend.
yoke on 02/14/2011:
The manager was in the wrong. They overbooked, not expecting everyone to show up. To wait that long is uncalled for. At least they could have done was comp everyone's first drink at the bar since they were all stuck there waiting and the bar made more money then they normally would have.
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
My daughter and I are having a Papa Murphy's heart shaped pizza and then we're going to see Gnomeo and Juliet.

*waves* @ John...hi John!
DebtorBasher on 02/14/2011:
I've got you ALL beat! I went to Subway today and they loved me so much, they gave me a FREE cookie for Valentine's day! Oh, the sign on their door indicates EVERYONE gets a free cookie today....but still...I was feeling the love that went into making that cookie!
trmn8r on 02/14/2011:
Great review. Me thinks they overbooked. As yoke suggested, they should have comped at LEAST one drink at the bar. They should have also been more honest/accurate about the delay. I'd consider not going back to R-C also, but the food is so darned good!
momsey on 02/14/2011:
WHY do you tell me about the free cookie NOW, DB?!?
momsey on 02/14/2011:
jc, please let me know how Gnomeo & Juliet is! It looks great and I want to take my boy to see it.
DebtorBasher on 02/14/2011:
Momsey...come on over and I'll bake you some soft chewy cookies...whatever kind you want, it's your choice.
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
Hi Jkt! Hi JC! :) Nice to see you both.
madconsumer on 02/14/2011:
hi jiscal1, where ya been?? missed you!!!
clutzycook on 02/14/2011:
I was right! I didn't even get a Happy Valentine's day from Hubby or a thank you for the chocolate I got him. Men stink!
Skye on 02/14/2011:
Not all men stink. Maybe he's going to surprise you later, after baby c goes to sleep!
MRM on 02/14/2011:
How rude! No BOW-chicka-chicka-bow-BOW 2nite!
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
That's not right clutzy. My bf surprised me with lunch at Texas Roadhouse and bought me a single red rose.
MRM on 02/14/2011:
Little Little, he gets brownie points 2nite! BOW-chicka-chicka-bow-BOW
clutzycook on 02/14/2011:
Skye, you obviously don't know my husband. He's a bona-fide a-hole. especially when it comes to holidays like this
Skye on 02/14/2011:
I'm sorry to hear that cc.
momsey on 02/14/2011:
That stinks, cc. You deserve a Valentine!
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
That's cool little, my Valentines date ditched me today:(
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
Aw that suck wally. Want me to beat her up?
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
Please do!
Skye on 02/14/2011:
She doesn't deserve you Wally!
getoverit on 02/14/2011:
In a way, PepperElf makes a good point in that V-day can be a crummy time to go out for dinner. But I don't agree that there isn't anything they could have done. They're in the restaurant, they're supposed to know how long it typically takes people to order and complete a meal and they're supposed to estimate how many tables they will have available at any given time.

I think yoke is right. They deliberately overbooked the evening and tried to milk it for all they could get. The Hostess was probably told to inform everyone that it would be only a 15 minute wait, event if it would end up being over an hour. This is not good business practice and I hope some of their customers start going elsewhere the next time they want an over-sized and over-priced steak.

Ytropious on 02/14/2011:
You can also thank your fellow customers who decide to swoon and giggle and talk instead of leaving the freaking table.

My husband comes home from work and gives me a ridiculous remote that he gives elderly customers for their cable. It's huge and has big buttons. It even has a wrist strap for craps sake! What a valentine, he won't even program it for me! He thinks he's so funny...
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
Oooh! Yt! I say throw it at him and tell him you were testing the wrist strap... and it failed. >:-)
Anonymous on 02/14/2011:
Oops - posted in wrong forum - moving to Community
beanbagbritches on 02/14/2011:
If you are ever in Greensboro, the Ruth's Chris steakhouse here is very accommodating & friendly. The people are helpful & the food is just as good. I hate hearing your wait was so long! How awful!
PepperElf on 02/15/2011:
Well oddly enough my bf *did* want to go out last night. He picked a Japanese place neither of us had gone to before.

The parking lot was almost full - just 2 spots left. Inside, we chose whatever seating was available so we ended up seated for one of those Japanese chef shows.

And yes the wait WAS about an hour before we actually got food. They were PACKED, but they brought us drinks and we got to watch the show at other nearby tables.

So... yeah Vday probably wasn't the best day to go out but the food was awesome and the service fantastic. And I have a feeling that if we go back they'll likely remember us... on top of the regular tip, he made a point of tipping the chef personally.
yoke on 02/15/2011:
I honestly do not care if it was VD weekend, the restaurants knows from last years sales about what to expect this year. They knew exactly how many customers they had last year and should have taken reservations from that. Instead it look as if this place double or triple booked and then lied to the customers as to how long the wait would be.
PepperElf on 02/15/2011:
how many people you had one year might be an indicator but it isn't a guarantee of more or less patrons

besides you never know... perhaps they DID go by last year's numbers and saw that a lot of people canceled and saw it was safe to overbook. therefore using last year's data would not be a good idea?

Anonymous on 02/15/2011:
Not to mention, last year many people probably didn't go out due to the recovering economy.

I'll bet that people lingered over their romantic dinner's which also caused the restaurant to get behind. They can try to turn tables, but if the customers aren't leaving, or taking an extremely long time at dinner, then there is nothing they can do about it.
Anonymous on 02/15/2011:
My bf and I went to Texas Roadhouse around 3. It was busy, but we got seated right away, probably because it was between mealtimes
yoke on 02/15/2011:
When I worked in a restuarant we always went by the year before totals for a holiday when it came to scheduling, ordering certain items and reservations. It never failed.
ok4now on 02/16/2011:
Don't expect short wait times on any major holiday. Mother's day is the worst. People who never frequent a restaurant all year go out this one night and expect great service. It's not happening. Also consider food deliveries to the restaurant. You want to go when the food is the freshest. Hint: It's Not Monday Night. Stay Away.
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