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Ruth's Chris Pasadena

OK, finally got to go on someone else's dime - having tried the Houston and Beverly Hills branches, I wouldn't have done it on my own.
Tables too close and awkwardly arranged - not my idea of comfort. The chairs are armed and well padded, though - a real plus.
Service amateurish but sincere ("would we like the wine opened now?...What would we like to enjoy tonight?"). Anything you order is "spectacular - great choice - best you will ever have". Long waits between courses.
The tomato/mozarella appetizer actually was spectacular . Best tasting tomatoes this side of Spago; achingly tender and flavorful cheese. If you end up here, do not miss this dish. Other salads nothing special.
Sides are tourist New Orleans - way too heavy mashed sweet potatoes with pecan pie style toping - huge amounts of brown sugar. Shoestring fries came out cold, but were readily replaced.
Now, how can you make a great piece of beef positively unattractive? It does take some doing. Put it on a small, cheap white plate with absolutely nothing else on it and then drown it in nauseatingly rich assertively oily butter. I knew to ask for no butter, but the other plates passing by threw off such a scent that I had trouble tasting anything at all. Even a nice piece of beef looks sad and forlorn on that little naked plate. Maybe a piece of plastic parsley or a sliver of tomato would cheer it up a little. And make the plate so hot that no matter how you order the beef done it changes in the next five minutes. Forgot the cold plate ordering drill - so much to remember to make this tolerable!
Some sort of Australian fish (Garabaldi??) was great, though also doused with the overly rich butter and $34.
Wine list is fairly plebian but not outrageously priced. Our 1982 Margaux was treated a little roughly (yes, I know, why would you have it here? - not my idea) and charged the $25 corkage.
I did get a look at the bill - $295 for 4 with the corkage and 2 extra glasses. Parking is $7, though I think the valets had to pay the garage.
Save a few bucks and have a better time at Arroyo Chop House. Even JJ's is probably better.

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  1. The butter is THE reason I never go to Ruth's Chris.

    You cannot avoid it even by asking for "no butter" because I think their grill is infused with the stuff.

    1. I went to RC in Pasadena and had a similar disappointing experience. The one in Woodland Hills is much better, better service and better food. I ask for "no butter," but I feel that their filet is excellent.

      1. the butter makes it better!
        some tomatoes and onions, a petite filet (medium, then butterflied), and my own side of broccoli au gratin -- i'm in hog heaven!

        1. Sides are tourist New Orleans - way too heavy mashed sweet potatoes with pecan pie style toping - huge amounts of brown sugar. Shoestring fries came out cold, but were readily replaced.....

          Tourist New Orleans? I am thinking you have been a tourist or a regular? Well, Ruth's Chris originated in NOLA, so is that where you are making this assumption?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jesdamala

            Dined in NO regularly in the 1970s (sooo long ago) when I lived in the area. I think I know real NO (Delmonico's, Commander's Palace on a good night, dozens of great "real people" places from Slidell to Metairie, all the way down to Houma), from toursit (Brennan's, etc). If this somehow ends up on the NO board, I know things must have changed.
            But Ruth's Chris' sides are definitely of the tourist persuasion.

            1. re: Jesdamala

              BTW, my wife and I are pretty sure we ate at Chris' Steak House before it became Ruth's Chris.

            2. butter = good
              if you want healthy steak, then you'd have to make it at home, italian style, w/ herbs and olive oil (which still isn't that healthy)

              sad thing is that Ruth's Chris is a chain, and I'm usually not a big fan of chains, however great they may be. Then again, this Ruth's Chris is relatively new, it could just be figuring things out.

              2 Replies
              1. re: risottoman

                The butter (or the distaste for it), really isn't about getting a healthy steak.

                I just detest the taste of it on my beef. When I get steak, I want to taste the damn beef!

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  wholeheartedly agree. save the butter for the potatoes.

              2. Thanks for taking one for the team, agree, next time just head over to the Chop House.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ChinoWayne

                  No problem AT ALL with that suggestion.

                2. "Some sort of Australian fish (Garabaldi??)" Probably not garabaldi - which is our state fish here in California, (bright orange-golden solid colored), is protected and which inhabits the waters around Catalina, (and who come a running when you break open a sea urchin and offer up it's roe in a little "sushi of the sea" ritual). If a well known fish from Oz maybe it was Barramundi?

                  1 Reply
                  1. We went there last March and I have to say it's not as good as I remembered from a few years back at Beverly Hills or Irvine. I think the food was not cooked as well nor was the service good at the Pasadena location.

                    I happened to like a little butter on the steak, so I have no issues. It does make it a bit too rich to consume, so I think I only ate 1/2 the steak. We had onion rings, which were good. Anyway, I didn't find the steak unappetizing, but again it is an individual preference kind of thing.

                    If you talk value - it's not good value. It is expensive, and I didn't enjoy it any better than a $30 (total for 3) meal at a dive.

                    But I think you have to compare the price and quality of Ruth Chris' to other similar high end chained steak restaurants such as Mortons and Flemings.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: notmartha

                      Was at Arnie Morton's with a friend tonight for the first time, and it was a far superior dining experience to Ruth's Chris or the Pacific Dining Car. And we paid for it. Two double cut filets, one side potatoes, one chopped salad, one wine, one club soda = $160 inc tip. Still, one of the 2 best steaks I've had in L.A (Sabor - RIP - in Santa Monica was the other).

                      Brought back leftovers. The spouse will report back to Griller 141.

                      1. re: Briggs

                        By a wide margin, the New York strip at Morton's is the best steak around. They know their meat.

                        1. re: ChinoWayne

                          Completely agree with you and Briggs. The best single cut filet, (I can't even imagine what the double cut must be like) I have had in any steakhouse either here in LA or up in SF. When it's steak, it's Arnie Morton's in Beverly Hills.

                    2. I like Mortons better than RC.