When Ruth's Chris is on its game, you take the eye-popping prices attached to their cuts of meat -- side dishes extra of course -- smile and run up the credit card because the food, service and atmosphere is generally very good to excellent. When it's not on its game, you start thinking of the names of places you could have eaten for half the price that are just as good.
When a birthday dinner starts with a matter-of-fact, "Sorry, we couldn't get you the table you requested ahead of time (or any other tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the middle of the restaurant), the prices being charged -- cuts of steak START at $46 and go up to $99 for a big porterhouse for two -- don't hold the same value. Such was the case on our last visit.
We've been to Ruth's Chris 7-8 times since it opened in Edmonton, mostly for special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays. On previous visits, seating requests had been met. People like that. I know I do. That's one of the reasons we've gone back. There are lots of places in Edmonton that serve a great steak for less money, but when a place sets aside that special table or a special occasion, as Ruth's Chris had in the past, it feels worth the extra money. When that doesn't happen? Not so much.
We ordered calamari (consistently some of the best you'll find), the seafood trio, the stuffed chicken breast and the sweet potato casserole, which I think is the best item on the menu, and everything was as we'd come to expect. Not the best meal I've ever had, but good. Our server was excellent -- attentive but not hovering, and friendly. No real issues with the meal or the service.
Well, check that. On past birthday visits, the restaurant was good enough to offer a complimentary item off the dessert menu -- something of our choosing. On this night, our server offered up something to go because we'd decided not to stay for dessert, but didn't ask what, if anything, we'd prefer. He chose the Crème Brulee. I wouldn't have, had I been asked. Appreciated the gesture, but . . .
In short, our night at Ruth's Chris began less-than-favourably with the table we were given and ended the same way with the Crème Brulee. Simply put, at this price point, everything needs to be just right. It wasn't.
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