Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ruth's Chris Steak House

Yes, the largest luxury steak company in the world is finally here in Singapore!

Before, you could fly to one of its 7 locations in Asia - HK, Taiwan, Japan etc - to get your fix of New Orleans-style steak but now, it's right at Marina Mandarin Hotel. B and I were invited for the soft "friend and family launch" - very excited - I think being with B has made me a "meatier" person (now where's my "I love red meat" t-shirt?).

Disclaimer: this was an invited complimentary tasting session, sort of like a "practice session" for the kitchen and service staff before the official opening so my comments below are more "feedback" rather than an assessment of the place. 

The resturant itself was a nice space - rather classy with dark wood panelling reminiscent of Morton's with cosy seating - the only negative was that lighting could have been a bit dimmer. It was too brightly lit, a bit uncomfortable even amongst friends not to mention unconducive for romantic dinners.

A proper steakhouse needs to get its cocktails right, so upon arrival at Ruth's, B and I decided to chill at the bar for a bit before dinner. He had the Dirty Ketel Martini (Ketel One Vodka, Noilly Prat “Original” Dry Vermouth, Olive Juice, Hand stuffed Colossal Blue Cheese stuffed Olives) and I had the vintage inspired 50/50 Vesper Martini (Grey Goose Vodka, Tanqueray, Lillet Blanc, Lemon Twist).

Nicely done. B's Dirty Ketel Martini was particularly interesting, the blue cheese definitely added in an unusual (not unpleasant) punch. It made Morton's mortini's, in comparison (though I heart) seem a bit juvenile.

They took a while to seat us but the hostess was friendly and made sure we were settled in. She knew I was starving, so it was a really nice touch when warm toasty bread promptly appeared shortly after we sat down.

We ordered the classic Shrimp Remoulade and Blue Crab Cakes to share. These appetizers were good, especially the shrimp - very fresh and the New Orleans homestyle cocktail sauce was lovely. B liked the crab cakes too, though I preferred the breaded ones from Morton's and Luke's Oyster Bar. 

The lobster bisque was a bit of a disappointment, flat on flavour. The sides of sauteed mushrooms and spinach too, fell short of expectations. A bit tasteless. The spinach, in particular, tasted like it was simply blanched in water and oil.

Then came the highlight of the meal - the MEAT!

I ordered the 8oz petite filet and B my greedy boyfriend ordered the 12oz New York Strip. Now these were excellent quality meat. I loved how perfectly "medium rare" my filet was - deliciously tender and juicy - YUMS. Sheer bliss when paired with the decent house red wine.

B's New York strip was fuller bodied and firmer. He polished it all off so he must have enjoyed it. "Something's missing", he burped. The meat guru has spoken. Verdict : Very good but "lacks that caramelized crust a steak gets from a good sear which seals in the juices". Very demanding meat-eater, this one.   

The desserts were the stars of the meal. First up, the signature bread pudding with whiskey sauce, a traditional New Orleans dish. Wow, I think this is the best bread pudding I have ever had - wonderful texture and the sauce has just the right balance of flavour and consistency. If I thought the bread pudding was good, the second dessert - cheesecake - simply blew me away. LOVE that buttery crust, the lovely cheese flavour and most of all, that tangy lemony cream on top of the cheesecake.

Overall, an excellent meal. A few teething problems but I am sure the management will work them out. Foodwise - hits and misses. For a start, please do something about the sides and the soup. Meats are good enough and desserts.. well, just perfect.

Would I return and pay for a meal here? Honestly, I am not sure. The prices are on the higher-end and to be honest, I much prefer Luke's and Morton's, if I had that budget to work with.

But who knows, it's early days yet and Ruth's Chris Steak House might just be a diamond in the rough waiting to take Singapore's steak scene by storm. Be sure to check them out when they officially open!

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