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.
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.