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Ruth's Chris

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Postby mikeyk » Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:18 am

towanda wrote:Two questions:

1. Why pay $30 for a steak that isn't Kobe beef?


Good question. Curiosity killed the cat. But for a while, I was a suspect.
2. What, exactly, is the difference between a supper club and a restaurant?

Supper club, in Wisconsin, is a thing unto itself. See the thread on them elsewhere in Restaurant Reviews, there's a link to a Wikipedia entry, which further links to Cap Times and MJS articles explaining that.
Well, OK, three questions: was the Gobbler some bizarre aberration?

Yes. It was like a cross between a supper club, the Xanadu House of The Future (former Dells attraction) and the Jetsons. Must have been the "Space Age" gone mad.
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Postby TAsunder » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:18 am

You can't get Kobe Beef for anywhere near $30, and I haven't found a place that actually has it around here (maybe NullDevice has?). Many restaurants will label their offerings as Kobe when in fact they are merely random Wagyu beef, rarely imported from Japan even.
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Postby supaunknown » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:21 am

TAsunder wrote:You can't get Kobe Beef for anywhere near $30, and I haven't found a place that actually has it around here (maybe NullDevice has?). Many restaurants will label their offerings as Kobe when in fact they are merely random Wagyu beef, rarely imported from Japan even.

Pretty sure I remember eating some Kobe at Magnus.
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Postby boston_jeff » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:25 am

http://www.1-800-kobebeef.com/

This is mail order, pre-restaurant markup. And you thought $30-40 steaks were ridiculous. The steaks at Morton's, etc are well marbled and much better quality than typical USDA prime.
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Postby TAsunder » Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:52 pm

supaunknown wrote:
TAsunder wrote:You can't get Kobe Beef for anywhere near $30, and I haven't found a place that actually has it around here (maybe NullDevice has?). Many restaurants will label their offerings as Kobe when in fact they are merely random Wagyu beef, rarely imported from Japan even.

Pretty sure I remember eating some Kobe at Magnus.


Yeah but was it actual Kobe or just Wagyu? I'm pretty sure it was just Wagyu. Muramoto claims to offer Kobe as well, but when I asked where they get it, the answer was from a cattle ranch in Colorado.
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Postby supaunknown » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:22 pm

TAsunder wrote:
supaunknown wrote:
TAsunder wrote:You can't get Kobe Beef for anywhere near $30, and I haven't found a place that actually has it around here (maybe NullDevice has?). Many restaurants will label their offerings as Kobe when in fact they are merely random Wagyu beef, rarely imported from Japan even.

Pretty sure I remember eating some Kobe at Magnus.

Yeah but was it actual Kobe or just Wagyu? I'm pretty sure it was just Wagyu. Muramoto claims to offer Kobe as well, but when I asked where they get it, the answer was from a cattle ranch in Colorado.

Kind of like calling sparkling wine "champagne" when it's not from that region in France?

I remember asking the owner about it when we were there and he seemed proud to be serving it. Of course I didn't know enough to ask whether it was a regular poncho or a Sears® poncho.

"I seek not to know the answers, but to understand the questions."
-Caine
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Postby coldspot » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:24 pm

Well, well, well...what a tiny world.

I was at Esquire today and overheard one of the regulars describing his experience at Ruth's Chris last night. A man who had been to Ruth's Chris a few times said he took a group in who hadn't been there yet. He is never going back.

Price had nothing to do with it for this man--I got the feeling he could afford whatever he wanted whenever he damn-well wanted it. It was all about the beef. It was an overheard quip, mind you, but what I caught of it is this:

The ribeye paled in comparison to the "monster you get at Tornado" and was tough by his guest's standards. There also appeared to be something amiss with the filet that the host ordered, to the point that one of his dining companions implored him to send it back.

The subject of price only came up because they felt they hadn't gotten the quality they had expected and enjoyed at other steak places. The vibe I got was that (Middleton's) Ruth's Chris isn't living up to the realistic expectations of its patrons. Tough steak vs. tender and too highly priced for the quality of what they are putting out.

I have overheard a few conversations with regard to Flemings and Ruth's Chris, mostly between people who are quite wealthy. Even people who can afford to eat everyday at these places seem disgusted by the prices. It always seems to come down to the quality of what the customer gets. If you want people to shell it out, be the best like you claim, and then be consistent. Otherwise, good luck.
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Postby lysander » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:18 am

Takumi over by East Towne (sp?) has Kobe. I haven't had it, but if the sushi is any indication, it's fucking awesome. I think they even have smaller portions available so that it can be sampled for under $20.
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Postby mikeyk » Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:16 am

coldspot wrote:Well, well, well...what a tiny world.

I was at Esquire today and overheard one of the regulars describing his experience at Ruth's Chris last night. A man who had been to Ruth's Chris a few times said he took a group in who hadn't been there yet. He is never going back.

Price had nothing to do with it for this man--I got the feeling he could afford whatever he wanted whenever he damn-well wanted it. It was all about the beef. It was an overheard quip, mind you, but what I caught of it is this:

The ribeye paled in comparison to the "monster you get at Tornado" and was tough by his guest's standards. There also appeared to be something amiss with the filet that the host ordered, to the point that one of his dining companions implored him to send it back.

The subject of price only came up because they felt they hadn't gotten the quality they had expected and enjoyed at other steak places. The vibe I got was that (Middleton's) Ruth's Chris isn't living up to the realistic expectations of its patrons. Tough steak vs. tender and too highly priced for the quality of what they are putting out.

I have overheard a few conversations with regard to Flemings and Ruth's Chris, mostly between people who are quite wealthy. Even people who can afford to eat everyday at these places seem disgusted by the prices. It always seems to come down to the quality of what the customer gets. If you want people to shell it out, be the best like you claim, and then be consistent. Otherwise, good luck.


Another unsatisfied customer! And, very likely, another vote for 'chuck roast'.
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Postby blunt » Sun Apr 27, 2008 4:29 pm

Scotty wrote:Per Wikipedia............

The chain was founded by the late Ruth Fertel, a single mother of two, in 1965, after she bought the existing Chris Steak House in New Orleans. In buying the restaurant, Fertel had to agree that the restaurant keep the "Chris" name for a specified period of time. After the original location sustained a kitchen fire, she relocated the restaurant about one-half mile (0.9 km) to the west on Broad Street and renamed the rebuilt establishment "Ruth's Chris." Under the purchase agreement, the name "Chris Steak House" could not be used at any other location, and she did not want to lose customers already familiar with the Chris name.[5] Fertel started to franchise the restaurant in the 1970s to locations throughout the United States and throughout the world


Ok.
Sort of like Jan's Friendly Bennetts. (rip)
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Postby coldspot » Fri May 02, 2008 3:25 pm

In the interest of being fair and not just reporting the negatives, I have a friend who just went to Ruth's Chris with a large group last night and said it was great.

My friend knows good food and good service and can border on picky, even when it comes to scrambled eggs. She ordered the filet and said it was perfect. She said that everything was excellent and had no complaints about anything.
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Re: Ruth's Chris

Postby john_titor » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:34 pm

mikeyk wrote:And in case you were wondering about the goofy name, our waiter gave us the whole story (not that we asked him to...). Sometime in the early 60's a woman named Ruth mortgaged her home and bought a place in New Orleans called Chris Steak House. She kept the name but added hers to it.

There ya go. I just saved you a bunch of money. Fire up your grill, buy a chuck roast, slather it in coarsely ground pepper and sea salt, rub it down with olive oil and put it on a very hot grill to sear both sides. Make as big of a salad as you like. Buy a whole bag of potatoes if you want, it's only a couple bucks. Or, visit one of the local, non chain steak houses or supper clubs and let them do it for you. You can probably have a meal and drinks for 2 for what I paid for my glorified chuck roast.


We went for the first time the other day. I would call your assessment both accurate and current. A small update would be the addition of a clientele, that hurt my special nerve.
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Re: Ruth's Chris

Postby NullDevice » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:27 pm

Saw this one resurface after a while, and saw, uh, my name come up.

Kobe beef.

Ah yes.

If memory serves me correctly, kobe beef has a lot of those origin and treatment regulations that are sort of ridiculous and probably don't make a whole lot of difference to the flavor (for example, the meat needs to be from a castrated bull for "purity", it needs to be processed in certain specific locations, etc). There are some others, like marbling percentage restrictions, that do make a difference. But that's still pretty much only so they can actually have to Kobe trademark applied.

I *think*, but I'm not sure, there's an actual trademark for "American Style Kobe Beef" - I know that there's a beef marketed as such, and that's often what's (misleadingly) sold as "Kobe Beef" in the US.

Meanwhile, even in Japan they eat a lot of wagyu beef imported from elsewhere, usually Australia. Kobe just doesn't produce enough of the stuff to meet the demand of Japan, much less the US and Europe too. "Kobe-style" - the well-marbled wagyu - is pretty freaking good, and while maybe not *quite* as good as Real Kobe, it'll also not cost you $150 for a steak. Many places, including Metcalfe's Sentry now, are selling kobe-style for an expensive but not terribly unreasonable price.

Actually preparing it though is another matter. Takes some skill, becasue it goes from "sublimely rich" to "shoe leather" in the blink of an eye. Once that marbling renders, man...
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Re: Ruth's Chris

Postby iwiw99 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:14 pm

I bought some Kobe steaks from Jennifer Street Market last summer and the butcher was required to walk the package up to the cashier. Must be easy to shoplift?!?! It didn't matter because after I put it on the grill I dozed off and they became Kobe briquettes. Oh well.
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Re: Ruth's Chris

Postby Broadsheet » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:20 am

I'm curious -- why hasn't anyone mentioned Fleming's or Smokey's? I wonder how Fleming's is doing since I heard their prices were spectacular.

My mother went to high school in Kobe in the 1920s.
They had their senior "tea dance" at Frank Lloyd Wright's brand-new Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. That's as close as I've gotten to Kobe beef.
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