Ruth’s Chris Steak House: Perfect Steaks Swimming in Butter
145 Richmond Street West, Toronto, ON
Before I came to Toronto, I’ve never even heard of Ruth’s Chris. I know, what kind of foodie am I? Turns out, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse has a major girl power back story. The first Chris Steak House was opened in New Orleans in 1927 by entrepreneur, Chris Matulich. Years after that, in 1967, a single mother, Ruth Fertel bought the restaurant in order to earn money to send her children to college. With zero restaurant experience, Ruth Fertel learned everything there was to know about owning and running a steakhouse, everything from butchering the meat to cooking and delivering high end restaurant service. For years, Chris Steakhouse was the only upscale steakhouse in New Orleans with an all-female waitstaff. Soon after, the restaurant was renamed: Ruth’s Chris Steak House. It’s now one of the largest steakhouse chains in the United States.
A portrait of Ruth Fertel is in the foyer of the restaurant. The restaurant ambiance is of any other upscale steakhouse, brick walls, crisp white tablecloths, dim lighting. Something about the restaurant conveys a warm, southern hospitality though. The cozy but formal dining room is surprisingly inviting and comfortable despite the fancy setting.
We made sure to starve ourselves before dinner. Even the bread was delicious. I’m not exaggerating. Wrapped in a thick white cloth napkin in a stainless steel bread basket, the bread was hot to the touch, not gently warm, it was scorching hot. I didn’t mind my nearly burned fingertips though because the creamy butter melted like a dream on each slice of bread. The perfect start to a memorable meal.
We ordered a lobster bisque to start. It was creamy and dense with substantial chunks of lobster meat near the bottom of the bowl. I love the saltiness and the subtle but present brininess in the soup.
The best thing about Ruth’s Chris steaks? They are served practically swimming in a dish of melted butter. We ordered a filet mignon and a sirloin. Both were cooked to perfection, with an amazing char on the outside and a bright pink and moist center. That butter really seeps into the meat, complimenting the gamey flavours.
The steaks tasted like they were simply seasoned, maybe with just a dash of salt and pepper. The butter did the rest. The meat was tender and moist and each bite nearly melted in my mouth.
The sides we ordered were mashed sweet potatoes with a brown sugar crumb topping and mashed potatoes. I loved the sweet potatoes much more than the classic mashed potatoes. The caramelized brown sugar was amazing on top of the sweet and creamy root vegetable (and I don’t even normally like vegetables!). The sweet potatoes had a deep, earthy sweetness to them that I quickly got addicted to. I definitely had way more spoonfuls of these sweet potatoes than I did the other side dish.
The classic mashed potatoes were tasty as well, no match for the sweet potatoes, but they definitely held their own. Lightly dressed with melted butter on top and a sprinkle of parsley, the mashed potatoes were creamy but rustically mashed enough so there was still some lively texture to the dish. The mashed potatoes were heavy on the butter, which I loved.
Believe it or not, I actually saved room for dessert. We ordered a New York cheesecake with a blueberry topping. The cheesecake was dense, creamy and smooth and totally hit the spot for me. I wasn’t keen on the hard cookie crust and ended up just scrapping as much cake as I could from it, abandoning it on the plate. All in all, this was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
I was also impressed with the service, our server happily took our picture (it was obvious that it was my first time in a Ruth’s Chris) and another server was quick and courteous about clearing our plates after each course. It was honestly my first encounter with a bread crumb sweeper, that long metal device that is swept over the tablecloth to clear breadcrumbs. I have to find out where to buy one of those.
I can’t wait to revisit Ruth’s Chris!