What’s Up with Happy Hour at Ruth’s Chris?

A meal at Ruth’s Chris can be a king’s ransom, as it is at many steakhouses these days. (Incidentally, where did they get that name that just doesn’t roll off the tongue?) By all accounts, you can expect to pay even more dearly at the nearby John Howie Steak at the Bravern. I doubt that I’ll ever indulge in a steak at these places, certainly not at the stratospheric prices they command. That’s why it was a surprise to me when I discovered that happy hour at Ruth’s Chris was such a bargain. I’d been coming here just for that reason since 2007, most of the time to enjoy what I considered to be a very good cheeseburger—and at only $6 for a half pounder (which used to be $5). The accompanying fries have always been ordinary. The “prime” bites, as the restaurant calls its HH noshes, has changed slightly over the years, but the burger was always on the menu and the item I would most often choose, even when the other selections elicited praise from fellow diners, including myself when I rarely ventured beyond the sandwich.

Which brings me to my current beef. The burger (☆☆) today was an aberration, a big disappointment. While the beefy flavor was there, the patty was dry. Combined with the over-toasted bun, it was all I could do to swallow without quaffing it down with the Red Hook Wise Cracker. There should be no excuse for this at a premium steakhouse, even if the kitchen has to satisfy the crush of orders from all the diners who flock here.

But this isn’t my only carp. My wife used to love the seared ahi tuna. She complained that the last two times she ordered it, the tuna was excessively salty. This time, the waitress suggested that the rub be lightly applied, but the ahi (☆☆½) was still saltier than it needed to be. The mustard and soy sauce seasoning didn’t help matters either.

What’s up with happy hour at Ruth’s Chris? Their standards have been slipping. It may not be a total disaster, as our friends commented that their chicken wings and shrimp appetizers were more than satisfactory. Maybe it’s time for me to switch gears and order something else.

Cheeseburger with fries
Cheeseburger with fries
Seared ahi tuna
Seared ahi tuna

Ruth’s Chris Steak House
565 Bellevue Square
Bellevue, WA 98004

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