Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (Calgary) – Hit and miss…
I am pretty skeptical about franchised chains. McDonald’s is franchised. Second Cup is franchised. Nothing against these two companies but the words franchised and fine dining don’t exactly go hand in hand. So I was pretty skeptical about Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, touted as the most expensive steak in Calgary, surpassing Caesar’s and Hy’s.
I went there with my family (of course) which was great because I could eat without really looking at the prices. But my god things were expensive. My Grey Goose Vodka Martini was $18. Yikes. In Manhattan, the same martini cost me $12USD and that was when our dollar was at parity. For the most part, their steaks were priced for just the meat. Everything else was additional (potato, vegetables, soup). This is kind of a nice idea because often you don’t care for the sides so why pay for it. But as you will see below, you don’t really seem to save money.
The dining room was beautiful. It reminds me of the cruises that I used to go on with my family where there would be lots of light, lots of windows, and seating that was tiered. I think it is one of the most beautiful dining rooms in Calgary. The view isn’t spectacular, as it is on the second floor underneath the Calgary Tower, so all you see is Centre St.
The shrimp cocktail (Jumbo Gulf shrimp dressed with spicy New Orleans home-style cocktail sauce) for $18. Huge shrimps. HUGE. Great texture. Very bouncy. But ultimately, flavourless. Not particularly sweet. I think shrimp should stand on its own without the cocktail sauce.
The shrimp compared to my hand for size comparison. As I said: huge.
The filet mignon for $49 (meat alone). From the menu, it is the finest custom-aged Midwestern beef. Broiled to 1800 degrees. Served on a heated plate sizzling in butter. Damn good steak. Perfectly cooked too. I was skeptical about it but it was really tasty. Juicy, acidic, salty, caramelized in the edges. Really the best steak I’ve had in Calgary. Is it worth $49? Hell no. I’d rather make one on my grill at home (if I had a grill in Kingston). It was really really good but not worth $49 dollars.
This was the baked potato for $8 bucks. Big but not tasty at all. Not enough butter or sour cream. The potato was bland and not seasoned. Generally disappointing. I recommend against getting this potato.
This is the side vegetable (forget the price). Yes, it is exactly what it looks like: a huge crown of brocolli that has not been cut. It is steamed and unseasoned. While the heaviness of the steak really did require some vegetables, albeit simply cooked ones, this was just way too simple for such an expensive place. They could cut it. They could season it lightly. They could do anything with it!
I really did like my meal at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. I was surprised. It was probably one of the best steak’s I’ve ever had. It really isn’t worth the money though. But for those rare days when you really want to celebrate and feel like you have iron deficiency or really want the taste of blood, you should certainly come here.
Update September 12, 2009 – I came here again with my family. Had the filet again. Very disappointed. I asked for it medium rare. It came out well cooked… but cool to touch which by definition is more like blue rare versus medium rare. I asked them to refire it. They basically threw it into the broiler to refire it. The plate was really hot when it came out again with butter splattering everywhere. I had to finger test it again to see if it was warm enough. I felt douchy doing it but for $49 bucks, this needs to be cooked perfectly. Unfortunately, I find it hit and miss now… Get the filet at your own risk… You can’t deny how pretty a dining room it is though. If I had to propose at a restaurant… this might be the place.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 294 115-9 Ave SE, Calgary,(403) 246-3636, www.ruthschris.com