Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Meat Extravaganza

Yesterday was Number 2’s birthday. After much deliberation, and upon admitting that we have no friends in our new city, it was decided that the best way to celebrate was to go out for a nice steak dinner. At first, I googled “Mississauga Restaurants” and scrolled through the listings, visiting web sites and previewing menus and photo galleries. To my surprise and delight, there seem to be a plethora of decent Italian restaurants in this town, ones that I will definitely need to check out at a later date. But I was looking for a steakhouse, after N2’s insistence that he didn’t want to order a steak from a restaurant that doesn’t specialize in them. I agreed.

Having come up empty handed, I then googled “Mississauga Steakhouse” and was presented with a disappointing list abundant with Keg Steakhouse and Grill’s. Don’t get me wrong, I like a nice dinner at the Keg, they introduced me to my favourite meat dish of all time, the Sirloin Oscar (seared scallops and prawns perched atop a medallion of top sirloin, perfectly charbroiled and drizzled with decadent Bearnaise sauce, often served with tender asparagus spears). But I was looking for something different. After reviewing several restaurant menus and being somewhat disappointed by the prices and/or selection, I happened across the listing for Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. This one stood out to me because we had driven by it at some point and chuckled at the unusual and bewildering name, and dismissed it as another Montana’s or Kelsey’s or Outback. After checking out the menu I realized we had judged incorrectly and promptly made reservations for two, made easy by their online booking system.

We arrived later that evening at 7:30 sharp. I announced my name and the hostess replied: “of course, right this way” with nary a glance at her reservation book. We were seated in a spacious and inviting dining room, the furniture very elegant and simple, yet with a dark, clubby feel. I was mildly concerned about the party at the table next to us who had brought along their infant, but was relieved when they left shortly after we were seated.

The servers were sharply dressed in spotless white buttoned-up shirts and tucked-in ties. They floated quietly around the dining room, demurely attending to their client’s needs with an air of professionalism and confidence. It was clear that they were very well trained and competent.

It took me about 10 minutes just to pour over the large, leather-bound volume which was the wine list, but I am proud to say that I navigated and selected without any help from the server. I ordered a bottle of Fontana Chianti ($49) in anticipation of our upcoming meaty indulgence. It was heavenly – a sharp aroma and a rich, earthy taste. I won’t go into further detail because I am too green a wine enthusiast to know what the proper lingo is. But it was gooooooood….

We shared an appetizer of spicy seared jumbo scallops ($18). They were cooked perfectly, slightly charred on the outside and had a texture like delicious little pillows of scallopy goodness inside. They were served on a bed of rock salt and drizzled with a spicy garlicky aioli, I think.

After reading the menu, we discovered that Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse was so named by the owner and founder of the chain (Ruth Fertel), who had bought the first restaurant in New Orleans which was named Chris Steakhouse. Apparently some clause required her to keep the “Chris” in the name, so she simply tacked her own name onto the front. The restaurant is mainly in the U.S., but there are a couple of locations in Ontario. Their claim to fame is the fact that they use USDA Prime beef, which is cooked at 1800 F and served on plates heated to 500 F, so that the steak stays hot throughout your eating it.

Number 2 ordered the filet mignon cooked blue with a side of asparagus and hollandaise ($55). I ordered one of the specials: a petit filet mignon cooked medium rare with king crab legs ($55). You could tell when they arrived that the steaks had been plated only seconds beforehand, because they were still sizzling. The server warned politely against touching the extremely hot plates. After that, we dug in mercilessly.

Number 2 stated that although his steak was slightly more cooked than blue, it was better tasting and more flavourful than the filet mignon he had had at the five star restaurant we dined at in las Vegas. The asparagus spears were delicately steamed – still crunchy but supple. The hollandaise was a little vinegary, but delicious nonetheless. Our meals arrived with an unexpected plate of creamy and decadent garlic mashed potatoes which were served on a sizzling hot plate as well, so the underside was ever so slightly seared. My petit filet was extraordinary – taking my steak knife to it was like slicing through warm butter. It was juicy and tender and perfectly seasoned, as well as cooked exactly the way I like it. The king crab legs were delicious as well – they had been sliced open for me so I didn’t have to worry about cracking shells and digging out crabmeat. All I had to do was pick out the incredibly tender and surprisingly large chunks with a fork and dip them in the provided clarified butter dish kept warm by a tealight. I can honestly say it was the best surf and turf I have ever had.

After clearing our plates and giving us a moment to digest, our server brought a slice of chocolate sin cake, arranged on a plate with the words: “happy birthday” written in berry sauce. True to its name, it tasted sinfully rich and chocolatey – outstanding. We ordered two glasses of 25 year-old port to wash it down with. A nice touch after a delicious meal.

Altogether, I think it is clear that we enjoyed our experience at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. The food, service and atmosphere were all impeccable. I would highly recommend that if you are thinking about going to a regular old steakhouse, think again, and upgrade to this one! 

Categories: Food

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