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Jan 25, 2007 08:18 PM

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.