When I think about steak, I think about Ruth's Chris. There are some that would argue Morton's, but coming from Long Island, where the Ruth's Chris at Roosevelt Field is one of the best in the country; Ruth's Chris is where we'd go on really special occasions.
Now Ruth's Chris is a franchise operation, so every location is a new experience. The one in Cancun might as well be a Sizzler; you can't get good beef in Mexico. The Fort Lauderdale location has been undergoing a renovation this summer, and for the most part its done. There aren't many changes to the interior; the exterior has gotten a facelift and the place looks a bit nicer than before generally.
They have a nice, separate bar area with a big TV and a clubby feel with faux bookcases. Service at the bar is professional. They have a "bistro menu", which is a special menu of lower price point items that can only be purchased at the bar. The separate bar and bar menu offers an opportunity to come here for happy hour without having to deal with the more expensive regular menu. You can, however, order anything from the main menu at the bar also.
Ruth's Chris Fort Lauderdale Bar Area
At Ruth's Chris, the waiting is the hardest part. Its one of those places that you want to make sure you're hungry as you're going to consume a lot of rich, decadent food. But from the time you order until your steak is ready, you can expect to wait 20 minutes. Appetizers will run that time up even more; everything is on a clock so it all comes out at once.
Ruth's Chris Fort Lauderdale Interior
If you've never been to Ruth's Chris before, you need to know about the butter. Butter is the main ingredient here; everything seems to come with butter. While you wait for your meal, they'll bring endless trays of warm bread and big containers of butter. Most of the appetizers involve butter also, with the exception of their Crabtini, a crab cocktail made with large chunks of crabmeat served with shredded lettuce and a sweet Creole Remoulade, and their crispy shrimp (bistro menu); explosively spicy shrimp with ginger and jalapeno. One butter-based app we tried, the "barbecue" shrimp, really have little to do with BBQ; they're shrimp in a butter srirachi sauce that's not as spicy as expected.
Service is attentive, as glasses are never empty before refills are offered. They do over-pour here, and the by-the-glass prices are reasonable, so if you're happy with whats available there's no reason to buy a bottle.
The prices here are high; even higher than they appear at first glance. Everything here is ala-carte; Its $38 for a Filet and $83. for a porterhouse for 2, and the meat just comes with butter and a sauce of your choice. So you'll need to buy some sides to get your starch and veggies. The salads are huge and can be shared as well.
Finally its time for the main event; you can litterally hear your order sizzling in the distance as they bring it out. By now we're so hungry that the anticipation is painful. Porterhouses, ribeyes and filets, lobster tails and sides galore. They put down a plate of sizzling butter in front of you and then plop the meat on top if it. There's something about prime beef in sizzling butter that brings wide smiles to the faces of men. Its like Thanksgiving there are so many goodies. We even added 6 grilled, blackened shrimp to our porterhouse.
Ruth's Chris Porterhouse with Shrimp
Beef is served on sizzling platters, so its brought out quite a bit rarer than you ordered it. It cooks as you eat, and cooks in the butter, so it quickly gets to where it should be. The prime beef served here is fantastic; there was some babble at the table that the filet was better than the ribeye, but both were enthusiastically devoured. The sides were smaller than expected; they're not really family style so you'll need 1 for each person. The creamed spinach was a bit bland, as were the sauteed mushroom caps. The broccoli au-gratin and potatoes au-gratin were excellent, although the potatoes need some seasoning. Lyonnaise potatoes were good but a bit on the crispy side for my taste; others at the table disagreed. Nevertheless, there wasn't a shred of edible food left on the table when we came up for air.
Service for the dessert course was less then stellar, as the desserts came well before the coffee and spoons were never delivered. They comped the coffee as a concession. For dessert, the bread pudding with a "whisky sauce" was pretty good but not as good as the last time some of us had tried it; the chocolate overload cake, a crazy rich concoction of double chocolate cake with a molten chocolate center, caramel sauce and a scoop of ice cream is fantastic and the perfect end to a 3000 calorie meal.
Ruth's Chris is a special meal and although expensive, its a special occasion place that offers an experience thats worth the price. Its not as perfect as my first experience at the Long Island location; the shrimp used to be bigger, the BBQ shrimp used to be spicier and I used to eat out a lot less, but its certainly one of the top steak restaurants that Fort Lauderdale has to offer.