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Morton's vs Ruth's Chris

Had dinner at Morton's last night, and were reminded of why we like Ruth's Chris so much better. My bone-in ribeye was tasty, but tougher then even that cut usually is. The plates were not at all hot - evidentally Ruth's Chris is one of the few steakhouses that seems to think this is important, and Chicago Magazine went so far as to mention, in their review of another local steakhouse, that it would be nice if the plates were hot.

We also like the ambience better at Ruth's Chris than at Morton's. The sides and appetizers are more to our liking (we like the occasional Cajun item on the Ruth's Chris menu), and the drinks are better. One thing we noticed that Mortons had that we liked - the chance to choose a fine cigar from a cigar menu, and enjoy it in the bar (haven't noticed if Ruth's Chris has jumped on that particular bandwagon).

Of course, all this commentary applies only to our local (Chicago) Ruth's Chris, and the original Morton's on Rush Street in Chicago - we have never eaten at any of these chains' other locations. So I'm wondering - how many others feel this way? Any opinions on these two chains?

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  1. I agree with you. As far as chain steakhouses are concerned, Ruth's Chris is better than Morton's. In addition to the comments you shared, I also found that the after dinner drink selection and dessert selection was a lot better at Ruth's Chris. (My experiences have been at the Hackensack NJ Morton's and the NYC Ruth's Chris).

    1 Reply
    1. re: kim foodie

      i too perfer ruths chris to mortons, but i must say the side dishes are better at mortons then ruths chris.

    2. It's funny that you say you like your plates hot because a lot of steak eaters don't like the meat to be served on hot plates or skillets because it tends to cook the meat more as it sits. I think I read about one poster requesting a room temperature plate at Ruth's Chris so that he/she could transfer the steak to it to avoid further cooking.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Humbucker

        It's really hard for me to believe that a hot plate will cook a steak to any discernable degree (we're not talking 250 degrees here) - I've never noticed it happening, but we always order our steaks rare, so maybe a slight further cooking on the bottom surface goes unnoticed. All I know is that at Morton's the plate soon was cold - which was very unpleasant.

        1. re: Akatonbo

          I have never had a steak cooked properly at Ruth's Chris. I like it rare and my steak is always at least medium or medium well. I hate that. I

          1. re: Akatonbo

            Actually, the plates are 500°. So yeah, the steak can cook up a bit.

        2. I don't like Ruth's Chris because I don't like butter on my steaks.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            that's like saying you don't like Baskin Robbins cause they put nuts on their sundaes. Just ask for no butter for pete's sake. So typical...

            1. re: Because I Say So

              Everything at Ruth's Chris tastes like butter. If that's to your liking, great. Personally, I think there are better places to get steak.

              1. re: Trice

                I disagree. Their products are excellent, and do not taste like butter. You must have this butter thing in your mind. You can always find some place better, but their meat is the best you can buy.

                1. re: irwin

                  Perhaps the Canadian locations are different?

                  1. re: irwin

                    I love it that they cook in butter at RC, precisely because you CAN taste it (and smell it--I love the smell of the butter rising up off that hot steak! YUM!). I've eaten at only two of their locations, LV, Nev. and Del Mar, Ca. Maybe they don't use so much butter at other locations...?

            2. I hate Mortons, terribly overpriced and overhyped. They dont know how to cook a steak. I don't need a scorching hot plate, but I've noticed that they serve their steaks on a cold plate. After several tries, I'll never go back.

              1. Foodwise, I'd always thought that the Ruth's Chris in DC was far better than any Morton's I'd been to, until I went to Morton's in Philadelphia on Xmas eve. However, the DC Ruth's Chris still has the better atmosphere--very cozy and kind of rustic, like a spooky little castle.

                1. Morton's in Philadelphia was one of the worst 'high end' steak dinners I've had, from service to food to ambiance to drinks.

                  (In Philadelphia) Ruth's Chris is good, Smith & Wollensky is
                  better, but Capital Grille is the best by far.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JugglerDave

                    Hmm, maybe Xmas Eve was just a good night for Morton's, I don't know.

                    I agree, Ruth's Chris in Philadelphia is good, but IMO, much better than Smith and Wollensky on all points (though the S&W bar is a great place to watch sports events).

                    I've had one good meal at Capital Grille, and one really, really bad one. I probably won't try it again. I've had the same experiences with The Palm.

                    1. re: JugglerDave

                      Morton's in Toronto might rival your Philadelphia experience for worst all around. The steaks are both flavourless and slightly 'mushy'(?) and the sides were just not-good.

                    2. I'm starting to think all these places should just be flushed down the toilet.

                      LONG LIVE PETER LUGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: tamerlanenj

                        Peter Luger was average. Come on. Tomato and onion? The only thing discernible about that meal was the tangy sweet steak sauce. Which, IMO their steaks cannot do without. I have been there plenty of times but maybe the east coast RC are not as good as over here in CA??

                        Amazing at Irvine, CA location. I would expect it to be better in LA , but nope.

                        RC desserts are good, too.

                        Their sides? not so much..

                        heres from peter luger...

                        1. re: eezerik

                          If you're putting PL steak sauce on the steak, and not on the tomato and onion salad, then you're ruining it.

                          PL is the best place to go for porterhouse, hands down. Ruth's Chris has a fantastic ribeye, so if that's what I'm looking for I might give the nod to RC. Peter Luger, though, has the best bacon side in the whole word.

                          1. re: tamerlanenj

                            I put the sauce on both :]

                            For the times I've gone to Peter Luger, the steak was bland without the sauce. Which is one of the reasons I never would order their meat but prefer to order from www.lobels.com

                            I guess that gives me another reason to go back..

                            Wait staff is very very AVERAGE there (Peter Lugers) though!!!

                      2. We love the Ruth's Chris in Irvine and always eat at the bar when we can get in. You can go in jeans and no one even notices. I get the steak without the butter and I love their chopped salad with the onion rings on top. I also love their lamb chops.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Kaisgraham

                          Where does Ruth's Chris obtain their lamb chops(is it fresh American lamb or what)?

                          1. re: BLM

                            It's domestic, from Colarado. Not New Zealand like most lamb.

                          2. re: Kaisgraham

                            Agreed on RCs in Irvine. Very, very good. Did not enjoy the Morton's in Costa Mesa at all.

                          3. They each have their merits- Ruth's meat generally is better, but Morton's desserts are generally better. Neither is particularly good, especially if you are in Chicago where you have a great number of equally priced local steakhouses from which to choose.

                            1. I had the most amazing Prime Rib of my life at Mortons. I am a fan for life.

                              1. Hmmmm...consensus is that R'sC is better than M's. Guess that mean's I'll never step foot in an M's seeing as I was thoroughly underwhelmed with R'sC. Given the hype (and the prices) I expected steakhouse nirvana. I got a decent filet served on a sizzly plate with a side of decent creamed spinach. Service was blah, prices were indecent, never again.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: GroovinGourmet

                                  DON'T ORDER THEIR SIDES!!!!!! Boston Market beats them silly... lol.

                                  How about their dessert? I've always had a pleasant experience.

                                  What place do you prefer to Ruth's Chris? The Irvine location is great. NOT ALL LOCATIONS for whatever reason are good. Some are NOT good at all.

                                  1. re: eezerik

                                    Fleming's is my choice for a high-end steak dinner. The sides are incredible, the steak preps and presentations are impressive, the salads and appie were good to.

                                2. In MPLS anyway there is no comparison, the Morton's here is superior, food and service...but there are far better places in town to get a steak than either of these two. It's like choosing between TGIFridays and Chili's. You can choose, but what's the point?

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Foureyes137

                                    the best creamed spinach is at Ruth's Chris IMO. I order one for me and tell the rest of the table not to dare put their fork in MY spinach!

                                    I also love the smell as the food arrives.
                                    Less keen on Mortons.

                                    1. re: smartie

                                      Mortons Sauted spinach & mushrooms is superior to any creamed spinach IMHO.

                                      1. re: beteez

                                        can't agree beteez :)

                                        so we can go out together and have our own spinach dishes!

                                  2. ruth's chris is a great restaurant, way better than morton's. their rare is true rare - cold center. all of their entrees are superb; they don't waste time on mediocre dishes, just do what they do well. been to a few ruth's chris in cali and there are two here on oahu, hawaii.

                                    to me morton's seems stuffy, their steaks seem less tasty, and i don't need to see the cart that has all the food items before they're prepared.

                                    been to smith and wollensky in nyc, was not impressed, but not totally turned off. could have just been a bad night.

                                    also been to peter luger's and it was very good. they were part of a city-wide special where a 3 course dinner was just $20.

                                    if you're in hawaii, though, try hy's steakhouse in waikiki. it's styled like peter luger's, kind of a hunting lodge/gentleman's club, which i don't particularly like, but the food is impeccable. don't forget to wear a collared shirt!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: indelibledotink

                                      I also prefer Ruth's Chris to Morton's.

                                      However, my experience is largely influenced by the fact that I (much) more often go to my local (Pittsburgh) locations than elsewhere. I've found that the Morton's here is very consistent in all regards to Morton's I've had in other cities. The Ruth's Chris locations, however, seem to be a little more inconsistent, in all regards, than the one here in Pittsburgh, which I consider to be the very best Ruth's Chris I've ever been to.

                                      All that said, Peter Luger's, mentioned upthread, puts both of them to shame. Of course, Peter Luger's is not a chain.

                                      In terms of chain steakhouses, my top tier consists of Ruth's Chris. The second tier would probably be The Palm. The rest of them: Cap Grille, Morton's, S&W, etc. fall somewhere in a muddled mass after Ruth's Chris and The Palm.

                                    2. Couldn’t pay me enough to eat at RC if I wanted beef.

                                      If I’m dropping big coin, or heck, if my company is dropping big coin, then why would I want a steak served on a scalding plate? I’ve had 2 steaks (been there 2 times only) arrive a nice medium rare but to have the bottom third of my steak turn into medium well by the time I was 50% through eating it. If I ever have to dine there again, I’ll order my steak raw to as rare as they will serve it and let it cook along on their “platter”. And if your steak is aged well, seasoned and charred to perfection, why does it need to swim in butter?

                                      Hold the plate and hold the butter………..

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: River19

                                        Have to agree about the butter and sizzling plates. You'll have a much better experience if you order a steak much rarer than you like and tell the waitperson to hold the butter.

                                        1. re: River19

                                          you know what, I ordered one steak and my gf had a steak as well. both were medium rare. After a while mine turned to Medium well. I told the management and they said THATS NOT HOW WE DO IT AT RUTHS CHRIS LET ME BRING YOU A BRAND NEW STEAK. It was originally cooked between mr and medium, and cooked to medium/medium well on the hot plate.

                                          Well, needless to say I'm a lifer. The new steak was perfect. I've noticed that the chains have some excellent service. I also prefer RC to Mortons bigtime, RC to Donovan's, RC to Mastros. And call this blasphemous I like RC better than Peter Lugers.

                                          The Cut had better steak but the price was ridonkulous. I brought the 2005 Pahlmeyer and the bottles of Pride and a bill for 3 was still $700. If we bought the wine there it'd be $1100+....

                                          1. re: River19

                                            by the way if you want the perfect steak come over and bring the wine. I'll bring the beef.

                                          2. In Chicago I've been to both the original Morton's on State and Ruth's Chris on Dearborn. In terms of steak quality I thought they were on par, but what has sent me on a RC love affair is their service. Our waiter at Morton's could not have cared less for our business. And my boyfriend was displeased by their lack of any beers on tap and a mediocre bottle selection.
                                            At RC they bend over backwards to make sure you are having the best meal of your life. For example, my bf ordered his steak medium/medium well, and it came out medium rare. The manager (who had not taken our order) walked by at one point, saw the pink, and immediately insisted on getting him a new steak. My bf declined, but the offer was appreciated.

                                            1. anybody who complains that their steak doesn't come out to the doneness they like only has to determine the degree *temperature* to which they like their steak done and order it with that. Terms like medium-rare, etc., vary but temperature is always the same...

                                              1. Since someone has revisited this post I will add my $ .02 for what it is worth. I have only eaten at the Morton's in Atlantic City and all I can say is like most things in AC it was adaquate but nothing special.

                                                Ruth's Chris I have dined at several locations throughout the country. NJ/DC/FL to name a few. I can honestly say that I have noticed differences in quality at each location. The DC Ruth's Chris was about one of the worst dining experiences I have ever had. Both from the quality (or complete lack there of) to the service. Ruth's Chris is a hit or miss according to the location for me. In all honesty being from NJ and only about 1 hour from Manhattan I have no reason to visit the Ruth's Chris in NJ and just proceed into the City for much better quality and dependability in product.

                                                1. Ambience - RC is more to my liking
                                                  Appetizers - Morton's were better
                                                  Desserts - Morton's by far
                                                  Drinks - RC for Beer and Wine Morton's for high end liquor and cigars
                                                  Service - Hit and miss at RC - Terrible service In Palm Desert RC but phenomenal service at the Pittsburgh location. Morton's is usually good to very good.
                                                  Steak Cooking - Morton's has never missed yet RC has missed on one persons steak every other time I have been.
                                                  Steak quality - Morton's has been more consistent but they are usually about the same - don't like the butter at RC

                                                  As far as chains go I would rate them this way

                                                  Smith & Wollensky
                                                  Ruth Chris


                                                  Not worth the money

                                                  Capital Grille
                                                  McCormick and Schmick's

                                                  However if you are in a major metropolitan area you can generally find better steak places than these.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: RetiredChef

                                                    Smith & Wllensky is a chain now? When did they start branching out? I thought they were just limited to the Manhattan location......which I gave up on years ago. Not a problem with the food just not my kind of ambiance. (or complete lack there of)

                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                        lol that darn google...!! I should remember to use it more often!! Thanks Janet!!

                                                  2. Ted's of Beverly Hills is the best hands down.