Sunday, April 17, 2011

My visit to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Knoxville

Hubby and I decided to try Ruth's Chris Steakhouse during the first annual Knoxville Restaurant Week. Everyone in town has heard the buzz about it at one time or another. The romantic setting by the water is enticing.We've talked about visiting the place for awhile but it was the $5 donation to the food bank during restaurant week convinced us to give it a whirl.

Making reservations through Open Table was nice but the visit to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Knoxville wasn't quite what I expected.

The restaurant markets itself as a fine dining experience (aka expensive). Open Table gives the pricing structure a $$$$ which indicates that meals for one with drink and tip are usually over $50. A $35 set menu was available during Knoxville Restaurant Week. We decided to have a good time and were open to ordering from the main menu.

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse has a set menu for $39 and change.
It is very close to the restaurant week menu so Hubby and I decided to go with that instead. Plus, it was the less expensive menu that included the $5 donation to Second Harvest Food Bank.

The restaurant entrance is large and comfortable. Our reservations were for 5:30 pm and we were seated immediately. The maitre d' exchanged our white napkins for black ones. From there, everything pretty much slid downhill.

We expected that Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Knoxville would have a slow relaxed pace. What surprised me was how long our dirty dishes sat on the table after someone came by with drink refills and looked right at them. This happened twice.

After we finished our entrĂ©es our tea and water glasses sat empty for awhile. It took a full ten minutes to get the plates cleared after our drinks were refilled. The restaurant wasn't busy until well after 6:00 pm. Our server had less than a handful of tables, no large groups and backup servers.We expected a slow, relaxed pace and good food but this seems excessive.

Our food from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse didn't especially stand out. The serve yourself family style veggies were good. I enjoyed the garlic mashed potatoes and Hubby said the green beans were short on flavor. My lobster bisque starter had to be the best that I've ever had. Hubby regretted that he chose the salad.

My 6 ounce filet lacked flavor and was not cooked as ordered. The shrimp that came with it was overdone and tough. Our server acted like sending it back was a problem so I just lived with it. On a positive note, Hubby enjoyed his 12 ounce New York Strip. The cheesecake and almond bark were also good.

Overall our experience can best be described as "ok". Given the price point for Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Knoxville I expected better service and food. Sorry but an "ok" experience doesn't encourage me to come back any time soon.