The story behind the unusual name starts with Ruth Fertel, a New Orleans single mother of two who bought “Chris Steaks” and turned it into a steakhouse empire with more than 130 locations serving about 25,000 steaks a day. When most people think of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, their mouths start watering for a tender, juicy filet.

What they may not know is this local favorite for fine dining also serves up “well done” seafood, chicken and lamb chop dishes, the quality of which is quite “rare.” Our server, Billy, a likable and outgoing FGCU bioengineering major, admitted his favorite dish on the menu is not ribeye or filet mignon – although those are excellent choices. The dish he can’t get enough of is the Stuffed Chicken Breast, an oven roasted, double chicken breast stuffed with a creamy, garlic-herb cheese blend of cheddar, swiss and monterey jack.

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“I just can’t get that anywhere else,” Billy says. “People come here and think, ‘steak, steak, steak.’ When they try the chicken, they’re stunned.” Other surprises at this upscale eatery include a casual yet sophisticated bar menu with $7 Happy Hour specials like the Prime USDA burger with fries. For the price of a fast food meal, you can unwind in a much classier atmosphere with quality food and drinks.

A full-course meal doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive, either. While Ruth’s Chris may be considered the premiere place for celebrating special occasions, the restaurant’s Prix fixe menu offers classic dinners for $42.95, including a starter, select entrée, side item and dessert. Ruth’s Chris also will come to you for catering needs large or small.

“We cater, from a simple drop off of appetizers and hors d’oeuvres for a party or reception at your house, all the way up to full catering for 500,” says General Manager Mark Porter. We happened to be celebrating a birthday, so he made it special with confetti at the place setting and a “Happy Birthday” wish drizzled in chocolate sauce with dessert. Mark and Billy, along with many support staff members, ensured top-notch service, with plates and crumbs cleared when each course was finished and drinks topped off frequently.

Wines were custom selected for each course, starting with a crisp, acidic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to compliment our seafood appetizers and ending with petite- sized dessert wines to enhance the sweetness of our final bites. We certainly left with sweet memories of the A-plus service and delicious dishes at Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

OUR FAVORITES

01. APPETIZERS/ CALAMARI

This is one of the best looking and tastiest calamari presentations around. The squid is first marinated in buttermilk for 24 hours to make it tender before being lightly fried and tossed with a sweet and spicy Thai chili sauce. Another signature appetizer for seafood fans is the Sizzlin Blue Crab Cakes. They’re meaty and flavorful and come to the table in sizzling style.

02. COCKTAILS/ BLUEBERRY MOJITO

Fresh-squeezed juices and other quality ingredients make Ruth’s Chris handcrafted cocktails a nice addition to any meal. The Blueberry Mojito adds muddled berries to this refreshing cocktail, featuring Bacardi Silver Rum, freshly squeezed lime juice and mint leaves. Another good choice is the Raspberry Rosemary Cosmo with Absolut Raspberri Vodka and fresh rosemary.

03. LOBSTER MAC & CHEESE

Try this creamy dish as either an appetizer or an entrée. This new addition to the Ruth’s Chris menu is loaded with tender chunks of lobster and plenty of cheese. Another must-try dish as an entrée or group appetizer is the Barbecued Shrimp. It’s a longstanding favorite on the Ruth’s Chris menu, with jumbo shrimp sautéed New Orleans style in white wine and garlic butter.

04. USDA PRIME STEAK/ FILET

Steak is what made Ruth’s Chris famous, and rightly so. Whether you order a filet, ribeye, porterhouse or New York Strip, the Signature USDA Prime beef is served sizzling on a 500-degree plate so every bite is as scrumptious as the first. Perfectly seasoned and cooked to seal in the juices, you can’t go wrong with steak.

05. SEAFOOD/ SEA BASS

Ruth’s Chris does seafood as well as steak. This fresh-from-the-sea bass is meaty and mild. Served over sautéed baby spinach, this buttery dish is delish! Other seafood selections include scallops and Caribbean Lobster Tail, which can always be paired with a nice, juicy steak.

06. DESSERT/ BREAD PUDDING

Ruth’s Chris does this New Orleans classic right, with fresh- baked bread pudding topped with sweet Whiskey Sauce. All desserts are made in-house daily, including the classic Crème Brûlée and the decadent Chocolate Sin Cake.

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