For as long as I have lived in Houston, there has always been one Ruth's Chris Steak House. It's location off Richmond, which had been around for over 36 years, was one of the first steakhouses I visited as a teen. Houston's restaurant and Ruth's Chris served as my introduction to the world of steaks and before I became a die hard fan of filet mignon, I had one of my first signature "sizzling" ribeyes at the Richmond location. Fast forward to present day and you will find that Ruth's Chris Steak House has been fitted with a new pair of shoes and a lot more space. There new location is in the Galleria area right off Westheimer and at first glance, you would never know this place used to be a bank. I guess that's what $5.1 million buys you these days!
The previous location was quite dark and offered a fairly small bar area. Now, the bar is included in the show and is almost four times the size of the one before. The floor to ceiling windows let in significantly more light; something you would not normally find in a steakhouse. They've even added new artwork by Cajun artist, George Rodriguez, which clearly display his jazz influence and their Louisiana roots. There are several private rooms available as well but the one that leads the pack is the phenomenal seven person table setting inside of the wine cellar. The cellar sits high above other diners sporting a balcony that is only accessible by a private winding staircase. It would be a great place for a special dinner, small gathering, or hell, just because it would be pretty cool to sit in there (AKA, for no reason whatsoever).
Before I go jumping into the main course, let's start with the cocktails and appetizers. The "classic" cocktail menu selection is new for Ruth's Chris Steak House. Here you will find a plethora of traditional cocktails and other variations, like the Ruth's Sazerac, Moscow Mule, Mint Julep, and the Coconut Ginger Lemon Drop Martini. If I find no other that takes its place in the next 5 months, for the record, the Blackberry Sidecar will be the pick for my favorite cocktail of the year! It was a great twist on the classic and they get bonus points for the house made brown sugar syrup that takes this cocktail to the next level.
I am no newbie to Ruth's Chris Steak House so I had my mind set on what I would order way before I arrived. For appetizers, I went for the Lobster Bisque and the Mushrooms Stuffed with Crabmeat. The bisque was just as I had remembered, and although not as thick as other recipes, the texture was perfect. It was a creamy, rich bisque with a very strong roux flavor. The mushrooms were filled with perfectly seasoned crab meat and were baked just enough to brown the top, but not too much, leaving a very soft center. The moisture was present at every bite.
How can you recognize a Ruth's Chris steak? Well, that's easy. They come out on a 500 degree plate and just before leaving the kitchen, a dab of butter is added for both taste and the well-known "sizzling plate" effect (it also maintains a bit of heat). I opted for the Petite Filet that was cut at 8 ounces. Normally a "petite" portion is 6 ounces, but you know we like things bigger in Texas! I also ordered the Sizzlin' Blue Crab Cakes, Creamed Spinach and the Sweet Potato Casserole. The steak was perfectly cooked with slightly charred edges and was full of flavor. The crab cakes were equally impressive. They are made with 97 percent crab meat and the other 3 percent is comprised of panko crumbs, mayo, and egg (just to keep them together). Simply delicious. The spinach was as sinful as ever, but still makes me feel as though I am eating healthy. The sweet potato casserole, topped with brown sugar and pecans, can also be ordered for dessert with a side of ice cream! They did not miss the sweet in this one. It has the consistency of a warm sweet potato pie; slightly firm and not as creamy as I would have imagined. After a few bites I was satisfied enough to forgo dessert.
My waiter, Giorgio, followed Ruth's Chris Steak House to the new location after being a part of the Richmond team for over 19 years! He truly loves what he does and it shows. If that doesn't prove that Ruth's Chris has the magic recipe, then what will. They are a consistently great steakhouse and the new location will allow many more of us to experience the reason they have sustained such a presence for almost 40 years. Ruth's Chris also offers a $7 cocktail/happy hour where you can try some of the classic cocktails and the bar bites. If you are a visual person, then check out the slideshow. A picture is worth 1,000 words.
Ruth's Chris Steak House
5433 Westheimer, Suite 100
Urban Swank did receive a complimentary tasting, but the opinions expressed are our own.