Tonight my two friends and I weren’t terribly hungry but we wanted a good meal. My friend Frida hadn’t had the opportunity to try the newly-opened Ruth’s Chris San Salvador yet, so it was time. She welcomed me into her life so warmly and has done so much for me that I wanted to take her out before I have to move on (whenever that turns out to be). It’s late but the meal was so good that I have to write about it while the tastes are fresh on my tastebuds and in my memory.
A perfect steak dinner at Ruth’s Chris San Salvador
None of us were very hungry so it’s great that Ruth’s Chris gladly served French Style — cutting our thick, juicy, perfectly seasoned, sizzling steak by our table, serving a piece to each of us on our own very hot plate.
There are several cuts of steak to choose from and we debated, asking the opinion of our waiter Juan.
Clearly, Juan knew the selections.
We went with his recommendation – the ($29) 11oz Filet.
We also tried the Sweet Potato side dish based on Juan’s recommendation.
As the steak came and sizzled welcomely, we were engrossed in conversation with the manager on duty. Having just returned to the table, I was standing rather than sitting, but the welcoming fragrance of our sizzling steak managed to waft its way up to me. I simply had to ask “con permission” and sit down to this promising steak.
Based on a conversation with Executive Chef Jerry Gonzales, after my first meal at this locale, I asked my friends to try tonight’s steak medium rare, medium rojo. This was perfectly beautiful to me, but one of my friends prefers meat to be 3/4. Juan brought that third back to the kitchen for further cooking without issue and it was soon returned, cooked to my friend’s great liking. Meanwhile, I took a few small bites of my own piece. Is it possible to accurately describe a piece of steak as creamy tasting. This cut was so soft on the inside. It was beautifully spiced like the last steak I had here, but sweeter than the Ribeye. Yes, I have to say it was creamy.
The Sweet Potato side dish was amazing. A child of the US, I am a fan of Sweet Potato Pie — mashed sweet potatoes topped with halved marshmallows, then broiled to melt and toast the marshmallows. I’d wondered if this would be similar. This side dish was a far more mature version — nut encrusted rather than marshmallow-topped, but somehow just as sweet.
I won’t give out the secret of how this delectable side dish is prepared. I’ll simply tell you that there is no added sugar — that the sweetness comes from the caramelizing effect of the way the pure sweet potatoes are baked — and that the crunchy topping is simply comprised of pecans and almonds added at the perfect time and toasted under a broiler for the exact amount of required minutes or seconds. Talking to Chef Aldo Rivera after the meal, we not only learned his secret; we also learned that many people order this $5 side dish as a desert. Whether you choose to have it during your meal or after your entree, do choose to have it if you treat yourself to this worthwhile dining experience.
You might wonder about three people sharing one order of steak, but for us this evening it was the perfect amount of meat and side.
Desert was a challenge for us. We wanted something that didn’t contain milk and after double-checking, Juan informed us that the only option was the Chocolate Sin Cake. However, Frida wanted to avoid chocolate so late at night. Then Juan saved us from a dessert-less evening by offering us a dish of Häagen-Dazs Blackberry Sorbet — although it was not on the menu. (Sorbet and ice cream are the only things not made from scratch at Ruth’s Chris.) This $5 dessert consisted of three large balls of creamy sorbet served in a chilled glass, topped with fresh spearmint. Juan brought it to us placing a plate and spoon in front of each of us. It was easy to serve a scoop to one friend, give myself the second, and pass the chilled glass to Frida.
Comfortable atmosphere at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Frida commented that she really liked the decor and the feeling the room provided. I agreed.
The last time (the first time) I dined at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, my friend and I were seated outside. It was nice and we liked the view and the air. However, tonight we opted to sit indoors and found we really liked the cozy warmth and the privacy the high-backed booth seats provide.
I love the texture of the stone walls within the dining room. There’s a warmth to the wood, to the stone, to the somewhat cushy fabric booth seats, and to the sound-absorbing patterned ceiling panels that frequent but don’t fully cover the ceiling. The carpeting adds a splash of color and adds to the warmth of the room.
I love that we didn’t have to overhear anyone else’s conversation as we sat in our cozy booth by our lightly curtained window. (Others opted for tables in the center of the room.)
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse calls itself a family restaurant. Feeling so at home there, I feel this too. Yet it’s not a casual dining experience; it’s fine dining, fine food. It’s top service without being pompous or “white glove” and ceremonial. The booths provide a perfect date night atmosphere. The tables are perhaps perfect for a less intimate fine dining experience or a business meal.
Compliments to the Chef — and all
After desert Juan asked if we’d like to meet the chef. Of course we did, as you already know.
So after a few words of praise in my awkward Spanish, I just had to ask Chef Aldo Rivera what was in the Sweet Potato. Luckily he had English to tell me. Then I listened with my best ears as they all switched to Spanish for the fuller picture of this perfect meal, and to learn the answer to one friend’s question as to why there wasn’t Apple Pie on the menu of an American restaurant. (The deserts will change every three months.)
My compliments go out not only to Chef Aldo Rivera, but to Juan for knowing the menu so well and having such an appreciation for both the menu and his customers. And my compliments go out to Oscar, the manager tonight. And to the entire staff.
For those keeping track of the prices, $29 + $5 + $5 = $39, plus $3.90 for the tip which is placed on the tab. There is no additional sales tax. So three of had a fabulous light but quite filling dinner for $42.90. $14.30 per person.
I will stay in San Salvador a little while longer. I have a feeling I’ll find myself at one last meal here before I leave.