Ruth’s Chris Steak House is known across the U.S., and in several other countries, as one of the finest dining experiences around. My experience with their food has always been great, with some of the most tender and succulent steaks I have ever tasted.
But such quality comes at a price. It is not unusual for a dinner for two to cost more than $150.00. And that’s before the tip. It’s not an unfair price, given the quality of the food and the dining experience, but it’s out of the reach of many people.
Last year, a friend introduced me to an affordable option offered by Ruth’s Chris that I did not know existed – the Happy Hour menu.
In many Ruth’s Chris locations, a limited menu is served in the bar area from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM. Prices range from $8.00 to $9.00 for such items as a prime beef burger to beef tenderloin sliders to a sirloin sandwich, complete with bearnaise sauce and fries.
The menu also features a variety of alcoholic drinks for the same $8.00 to $9.00. Of course, non-alcoholic options are available for a lower price.
In my experience, one can get a delicious and filling meal for two for less that $30.00.
One downside is that the Happy Hour menu is only available in the bar area, and sometimes in an adjacent patio area. In my experience, the bar section of Ruth’s Chris restaurants is fairly small and so seating is limited.
This is also complicated by reserved seats. Although the Ruth’s Chris website states that reservations are not accepted for Happy Hour or in the bar, on every visit, I have encountered tables marked ‘reserved’ in the bar area during the Happy Hour time.
In a visit to the Boise, Idaho location about a month ago, I arrived at 4:50 PM to find that seven of the eight tables in the bar area were marked ‘reserved.’ People were already seated at the one remaining table in the bar. Fortunately, my party of four was able to sit outside on the sidewalk patio and to get the Happy Hour menu there.
Likewise, in my recent visit to the Louisville location, the hostess told me that the only two unoccupied tables available in the bar area were ‘reserved.’ On that particular visit, we were seated on the patio, which in the Louisville location is on an open balcony on the 16th floor of the building. That in itself isn’t necessarily bad, except that there were two detractors in this case.
First, the building is immediately adjacent to an interstate highway. I was frankly amazed at how noisy the atmosphere was from passing traffic 150 feet above the roadway. It was quite difficult to converse with the waiter at times.
The second detractor was an even greater annoyance. Although Louisville restaurants are supposed to be ‘smoke-free’, there was what appeared to be a waiting area approximately 30 feet from our table. People seated there were continually smoking and our meal included almost continual clouds of cigarette smoke.
Will I return to Ruth’s Chris for the Happy Hour? Definitely. I probably won’t sit on the Louisville location’s patio again, at least as long as they have a smoking area so close to the food tables, but I’ll still go back. It’s definitely worth the trip.
Ruth’s Chris Comments
I have emailed the customer service people at Ruth’s Chris regarding the reservation and smoking issues. So far, I have not heard back from them. But if they respond, I’ll post an addendum to this story.