Restaurant Name: Ruth's Chris Steakhouse
Ambiance: Wine & Dine Steakhouse
Name of Burger Ordered: Prime Burger
Price of Burger(s): $9 (Happy Hour); $14 (Regularly)
Size of Burger: 7 oz
We felt it would be remiss of us to not mention the history of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse given that it has its roots in our city. Additionally, what the heck kind of name is "Ruth's Chris"?!? Well here's the story. Chris Steak House was founded on February 27, 1927 by New Orleans entrepreneur Chris Matulich. It was located at 1100 North Broad Street near the New Orleans Fairgrounds Racetrack, seated 60 people, and had no parking lot. During Matulich's 38-year management, the business was sold six times, failing each time, and enabling him to buy the restaurant back cheaply from the purchasers. Ruth Fertel was a divorced single mother who needed money to send her teenage sons to college. Ignoring the advice of her banker, lawyer and friends, Ruth purchased the restaurant in 1965. In early 1976, shortly after Fertel signed a new ten-year lease on the restaurant, a fire destroyed the building. Fertel had recently acquired a second property nearby to rent out as party space. Within seven days, she had relocated the restaurant to its new location a few blocks away at 711 North Broad Street and re-opened it, expanding to 160 seats in the process. The sales agreement with Matulich prevented her from using the original name at any other address, so she named the new restaurant Ruth's Chris Steak House in order to keep some continuity with the previous location. She admitted later to Fortune Magazine that "I've always hated the name, but we've always managed to work around it." We KIND of hate it too, but the food makes up for it!
So with that little history lesson behind us, it's on to the burger! Keep reading to find out if Ruth's burgers deserve your dollars and your appetite when you're deciding between all of the menu's mouth-watering options...
Prime Burger: 7.24
The bun had a lot of positives: buttery, nice and soft, good flavor. It even bore some fancy grill marks that had us ooing and ahhing. On the downside, it was a bit big, especially the top half.
Given that Ruth's Chris is a steakhouse (and arguably a "famous" one at that), it was no surprise that its beef was spot on. It gave us everything we expected in a good piece of meat — juiciness, tenderness, and tasty seasoning — but the overpowering bun didn't help the patty's overall score.
Bun to Meat Ratio: 6.0
"Bun to meat ratio" just barely lost the race to the bottom to "standard toppings", but the Prime Burger performed pretty poorly in both categories. As you may have been able to glean from the first two categories, the bun was just too damn big. While this isn't a problem unique to Ruth's Chris, it's something we wish more chef's would pay attention to. Generally the major red flag is when there is bun left behind, and at the end of the meal, several raters had plates-full-o-buns. Not good.
Standard Toppings: 5.2
As we alluded to, this is where the Prime Burger hit rock bottom. Look, we all feel iceberg lettuce has a place on a menu, but the white, flavorless pieces in the middle (you know what we're talking about) has no business on a good burger. Additionally, we also think raw red onion is just too strong for a burger (or for most anything, really). And yep — you guessed it — this burger had both. So while the burger also included cheddar cheese and a tomato slice, the other two toppings stole the show (and unfortunately not in a good way).
If you've read our other reviews, you know how much we struggle to find good fries. I mean, let's be honest, fry up a potato any which way, and most of us will GLADLY eat them, but we've realized it truly does take a lot to be called a GREAT fry. Ruth's Chris' fries definitely had potential, but alas, came up a bit short because most of them came out a bit soggy and room temp. We all enjoyed the seasoning though, so as with most restaurants, just hope you get a fresh batch and not the bottom of the pile.
We have all been to Ruth's Chris many times, and generally enjoy everything on the menu (try the stuffed chicken breast, it will literally change your world). So when it came to the burger, we all had high expectations. While the Prime Burger didn't necessarily disappoint, it didn't impress us either. We left a little unsatisfied, and that's always a bad sign.
Generally no issues with the accuracy here. Not sure whether we're more disappointed when our burgers are overcooked, or undercooked, but either way I think it's safe to say we're pretty high maintenance (and proud of it!).
A delicious burger and fries for $9 is a killer deal. But DELICIOUS is the operative word here. Anything less, and you can charge us a little as possible and your burger still won't earn you a perfect 10. The Prime Burger was good, but not great — so despite the amazing price, it's still not the best deal in town. Said another way, we weren't sure we'd come back for this burger at the regular menu price ($14).
Nice restaurant usually = nicer service than a quick-service spot. This held true for Ruth's Chris, but things were a bit slow overall. We sat in the bar area, and while it was almost full, it wasn't the busiest we've ever seen it and things still seemed to come out extremely slowly.
We'd all come back to Ruth's Chris. We just wouldn't come back specifically for the burger. If you asked us during Happy Hour, we wouldn't say no, but at the full menu price I think we'd opt for another spot if we were in the mood for a good burg.
Want to see how Ruth's Chris ranks? Check out the Burger Meet rankings.
Want to see how these rank overall? Check out our RANKINGS.