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The Taste: Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Jan 17, 2018 03:44PM ● By Lauren VanSickle

Photography by Tony Lewis Jr.

By Rita Calvert

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

1110 Town Center Blvd. | Odenton, MD 21113 | 240-556-0033


If you’re lucky you have had the Ruth’s Chris experience—gracious dining with a hushed tone...very Gatsby like and often with a dress code. The restaurants create a mood of elegance with a ceremonial feel.

In Odenton, Ruth’s Chris is built on that same inviting experience but with a bit more contemporary ambiance. The decor is pretty—quiet, light, and airy for a steak house with a very respectable wine list, for which they are known.

Steve de Castro, CEO of Big Steaks Management and franchisee of Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Maryland, New Jersey, and North Carolina), gave us an overview of his Odenton restaurant locale.

Take us all the way back to the founding of Ruth’s Chris Steak House. How did it come to be? What is the history?

Our founder, Ruth Fertel, mortgaged her home for $22,000 to purchase a 60-seat restaurant called Chris Steak House in May of 1965 in New Orleans. Ruth had never planned to expand, but after a fierce kitchen fire decimated the property, she was forced to relocate in order to stay in business. Within ten days Ruth had the restaurant up and running. But the Chris Steak House name was not allowed to move with it. With little time and a mischievous smile, Ruth added her own name to the sign, making it “Ruth’s Chris Steak House.” With her name officially in lights the tongue-twisting dining establishment was born. Later Ruth admitted the name was strange, but she managed to work around it.

Does Ruth’s Chris have a signature interior design motif?

The design inspiration for the Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Odenton is based on old world detailing from the past. Combining rich dark chocolate leathers with brass stud detailing, textured granites, and brass accents, the interiors pay homage to the time where steakhouses were a decadent luxury. Reclaimed black walnut wood cabinetry, wall panels (with leather insets), black walnut shutters and trellis ceilings convey a warm and inviting richness to the interior. Modern elements such as the contemporary frameless temperature controlled wine towers and custom bronze and hand-blown glass light fixtures provide a stylish balance playing off of the more traditional elements and materials. The hexagon and octagonal shapes found in the carpet and custom light fixtures add an element of playfulness set against the clean lines of the millwork and raised ceilings.  

Tell us about some of the food “signatures,” which have enabled Ruth’s Chris to excel after all these years.

Menu selections feature our signature USDA Prime Steaks, which are sourced from only the top 2% of the country’s beef. Never frozen and cut daily at our restaurant, all steaks are served sizzling on 500-degree plates (so your steak stays warm to the very last bite). We also offer the highest quality seafood along with a variety of fresh salads and appetizers, homemade sides, and decadent desserts. 

You are known for great happy hours. What is the $11 Sizzle, Swizzle & Swirl Happy Hour?

We continue being the best steak house experience by ensuring a Great American Bar with a Twist. Our commitment to quality starts with a premium well and continues with the use of fresh-squeezed juices and house-made sours to ensure your drink is perfection. You’ll love our take on the classic martini or one of our hand-crafted drinks like the Blueberry Mojito or the Rocks Rita!
 
Our Sizzle, Swizzle & Swirl Happy Hour has menu items starting at $11 and is available Sunday through Friday until 6:30 p.m. It showcases the signature Ruth’s Chris Steak House experience and includes food offerings such as Tenderloin Skewer Salad, Crab BLT with Zucchini Fries, our most popular Seared Ahi Tuna, and Lobster Mac & Cheese.

 Where do you source the high-quality of meat?

Our steaks are Prime or high cuts of corn-fed Midwestern beef. They are first fed on grass and then switched to corn for at least 120 days in order to get the flavor and quality that meet our standards. We are fully confident in the strict quality, safety standards, and practices employed by our beef suppliers as well as the USDA. 

Do you change the menu seasonally? How are new menu ideas implemented? 

Traditionally our dinner menu remains consistent with signature items like our sizzling steaks. We do have a Chef’s Feature Page which features local and regional favorites in addition to our seasonal Ruth’s Classic offering. This 3–course meal ($49.95 and $59.95) offers the guest a choice of a starter, entrée, and dessert and is refreshed each season.    

These menu items are derived from our local, regional, and national chefs infusing the colorfulness of the season into the menu and creating different dishes for our guests to explore.

With close to three decades in the food, media production, marketing and public relations fields, Rita has created myriad programs, events, cooking sessions on national television, the stage and The Annapolis School of Cooking. She has partnered in writing cookbooks and product lines to showcase the inspiration, art and nourishment of food. Her work has always embodied the naturally  wholesome and satisfying. In The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up, Rita supports the effort for Regenerative Agriculture while helping grillers understand what makes ‘grassfed’ different.

Photography by Tony Lewis Jr.

 

Ruth’s Barbecued Shrimp

Serves 4
1 pound (16/20) shrimp 
4 1/2 teaspoons canola oil 
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
1 1/2 tablespoon dry white wine 
1 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic 
3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce 
3/4 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
8 ounces salted butter

Wash shrimp under water and then peel the shells and discard. Devein the shrimp with a paring knife and then wash under water. Repeat until all shrimp are done. Blot dry. Place on a sheet tray in the refrigerator. 

Place a large cast-iron skillet on a burner over high heat. Add oil and cook shrimp until they are just done. Remove shrimp and set aside. 

Add the green onions to the same pan and cook for 1 minute.
 
Add white wine and reduce the volume by half (any good dry white wine will work). 

When the wine is reduced by half, add the chopped garlic, Worcestershire, Tabasco, cayenne pepper and paprika. Shake the pan well. Cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low. 

Cut butter into small chunks with a knife and slowly add to pan, shaking fast to melt butter. Continue to add butter until it is all added and shake until butter is melted. Add shrimp back to pan and toss well to coat shrimp with butter and to heat through.
Place equal portions of shrimp on each plate. Serve.