Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ruth's Chris at Harrah's New Orleans

Last night I hit the Ruth's Chris here in New Orleans with the girls for an evening out to celebrate the end of the school year and wish bon voyage to a friend moving elsewhere.

Normally, I'm not one for sit-down chain restaurants. Here in New Orleans, there are so many great places to eat that it seems a shame to eat someplace that's not local, but Ruth's Chris was established here originally, so I'm willing to bend the rules a bit on this one. The one at the Harrah's is quite nice. It's very richly appointed, with touches of art deco style and large mirrors throughout that let you spy on the people around you.

I started with a wedge salad. To me, that's a pretty good measure of a traditional steakhouse. When I talked about Antoine's, I mentioned its OVER THE TOP blue cheese dressing. I am a fan of the blue. Ruth's Chris is sort of on the other end of the spectrum. Its blue cheese is quite mild, and the bacon they topped the lettuce with was sweet, a smidge smoky, and not too salty. The lettuce itself was crisp and fresh.

Next I moved onto a New York strip, straight up with sizzling butter. I shared it with another lady at my table, and I still didn't eat my entire portion. But the chef cooked the steak perfectly, and the sizzling butter definitely adds a fine touch to the flavor of the meat.

We shared three sides at the table. Mashed potatoes -- pretty standard, but nothing to complain about -- creamed spinach which could have used a dash or two of Tobasco, and the onion rings. Generally, I'm a fan of the thin cut, battered, and fried en masse onion ring. This order of rings came with about six on the plate. Each one was about an inch and a half wide. The tempura batter was a bit heavy and tended to overwhelm the onion -- in my view anyway -- but the rest of the table loved them.

For dessert I had a couple bites of my friend's cheesecake -- which really was an entire personal cheesecake. The filling was really light. I think they folded in whipped cream to give it that consistency. I also had a Ruth's Chris coffee, which -- if I remember right -- contained Irish cream, Franjelico, and brandy, topped with very rich whipped cream and chocolate sauce. It was a delicious end to the meal.

Being the carnivore that I am, I love going out for a steak. Ruth's Chris is a great alternative if you have the money to burn or you are somewhere where there are no great local steakhouses. Me, I'm glad I went once, but in the long run, I'm probably more suited to Crescent City or Charlie's.

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