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For Five-Star Dining, Try Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

Ribeye, Ruth's Chris

I had, of course, heard of “Ruth Chris Steakhouse” on radio for many years. Both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have plugged the restaurant for years. I figured it was one of those places that I’d never have the opportunity to visit. However, after my husband started his new job recently, he treated me to a night of pampering as a way to thank me for my support during his heart attack crisis. He took me to Ruth Chris.

I must admit that everything I’d heard about this fabulous restaurant is true. The building itself is stunning. You definitely feel its New Orleans vibe as you enter the facility. The particular restaurant we visited was located in one of the new Town Centers located in Virginia Beach. The whole area is very elegant in nature. Outside of the building is a courtyard complete with a beautiful fountain and wonderful old-fashioned benches where you can sit and soak up the atmosphere.

The inside of the restaurant is amazing. It is resplendent with wooden panels, booths, and tables in what appeared to be either mahogany or cherry. Since we went during the evening, under candle and subdued lighting, it was difficult to tell for certain which wood was used, but it mattered not in the long run. Quality is simply the theme of the entire place.

The restaurant is huge with different sections for individual dining as well as for groups and parties. I was quite taken by one section that looked like an old money law library with a huge conference style table perfect for a large group setting. We, of course, were seated in the main dining area at a cozy little corner table perfect for two. The hostess asked to check out coats for us, handed us the menu while explaining its layout, and giving us the name of our servers for the evening.

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No sooner had she left the table than out waiter arrived, resplendently dressed in elegant black and white complete with tie and all of the accouterment one would expect from the highest-class restaurants. He outlined the specials of the weekend and took our drink orders, assuring us that his assistant would bring them tout suite, which of course he did along with a small loaf of fresh, hot sour dough bread and creamy butter.

The menu at Ruth Chris is relatively simple, focusing primarily on steaks, seafood, and chicken. All of their steaks are seasoned with nothing but salt, pepper, and parsley and cooked at 1800 degrees in special ovens built specifically for the restaurant. Shrimp, lobster, and fish are cooked by various methods as outlined in the menu. However, all of the restaurant’s ingredients are fresh daily, maintaining the quality control that the owner Ruth Fertel always insisted upon.

We decided to split a huge ribeye, which consisted of 20 oz of prime cut beef, and baked potato. While we waited for our meal, we soaked up the elegant ambience of the place. The high ceilings and huge elegant chandeliers awed me. The tables were all decked in white linen with glasses for water, wine, and drink of choice and silver for courses from salad through dessert. Everything was laid out perfectly and each table had its own individualized candle lantern.

The sourdough bread was undoubtedly the best I’d ever had; crusty on the outside and soft inside. The creamy butter easily spread over the bread without tearing or destroying it. The iced tea that we chose for our drinks was absolutely fresh and brewed to perfection.

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The ribeye arrived on plates, which were 500 degrees in heat in order to sustain the warmth of the meat throughout the meal. It sizzled as it was served and smelled heavenly. The potatoes were equally warm and creamy. Everything was perfectly cooked; the steak medium as ordered. It was absolutely delicious from first bite to last.

Our two waiters attended to our every need, making certain our water and tea glasses remained full and that we had everything we needed throughout the entire meal.

“Ruth Chris Steakhouse” is a dining experience, not just a restaurant. Trust me when I say that you have never before experienced the kind of service that this facility provides so effortlessly. It is so comfortable and elegant of an atmosphere that you really want to prolong the meal for as long as you can. I personally felt like a queen, which I suspect is exactly what my loving husband had in mind from the beginning.

Here is a cross-section of the restaurant’s menu. Appetizers include: barbecued shrimp, clump crabmeat cocktail, oysters Rockefeller, shrimp roumalade, and shrimp cocktail. Salads include steak house salad and lettuce wedge with a choice of dressings. Entrees include: filet (both petite at 8 oz and large at 12 oz), ribeye, New York strip (16 oz), porterhouse for two (40 oz of meat), T-bone (24 oz), veal chop with sweet and hot peppers, lamb chops, stuffed chicken breast, fresh lobster, blackened cold water lobster tail, tuna stack, and combs like filet and shrimp. Vegetables choices include mashed potatoes, baked potato, lynnoise potatoes, potatoes au gratin, sweet potato casserole, asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, fresh fried onion rings, broiled tomatoes, fresh broccoli, broccoli au gratin, fresh spinach, and creamed spinach. Desserts include: crème brulee, bread pudding with whiskey sauce, cheesecake, warm apple crumb tart, and chocolate sin cake.

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The restaurant is usually only open in the evening, from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. There are, however, a few restaurants throughout the country that are also open for lunch. To find the location closest to you and determine its hours of operation, contact the Ruth Chris website. Reservations are recommended for those who want to assure seating.

This is not an inexpensive restaurant; certainly not one I can afford on any sort of regular basis. However, for special occasions, I don’t think this is a place that can be easily topped. I have to say that this was a truly memorable dining experience. I’ve only had one other comparable and that took place way back in 1970 in San Antonio, Texas at a place called “The San Francisco Steakhouse.” I’ve always remembered that night with great fondness, much as I suspect I will remember this one. This place definitely rates five out of five stars.