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Opinion

Don Appetit! Ruth’s Chris Delivers the Steak AND the Sizzle


Don Douloff, Food WriterIn late 2017, Ruth’s Chris Steak House opened on Dixon Road, in the heart of Toronto’s Airport Strip, and from all reports, the restaurant is doing very well, drawing a strong business crowd and attracting travellers from nearby hotels. This new location replaces the Ruth’s Chris restaurant that operated adjacent to Square One Shopping Centre, in Mississauga, Ont., for about 15 years.

“Come hungry, darlin’ ” — the tagline used in the upscale steakhouse chain’s charming radio ads — is sound advice, because the portion sizes and quality deliciously reward a strong appetite.

Lettuce wedge salad.

Take the lettuce wedge salad, for example. It’s huge (about one-quarter of a head, I’d say), appropriately ice cold and thus, shatteringly crisp, and blanketed by smoky chunks of bacon and blue cheese. Cleverly counterpointing the wedge salad is roasted red pepper ranch, one of eight dressing options that are all made fresh in-house.

Now, to the main event — steak, of course. Ruth’s Chris prides itself on using corn-fed, custom-aged USDA Prime and Choice beef broiled at 1,800˚F, to seal in juices. Steaks are cut ultra-thick, to prevent the meat from drying out. Results are suitably impressive.

Petite filet.

Weighing in at 8 ounces, the petite filet, cooked precisely medium rare (with a red, warm centre), as requested, delivers delicate meat full of mild, buttery flavour.

Even better is the 16-ounce bone-in filet, also broiled to medium rare. This truly awesome cut wears a beautiful char, is exquisitely tender and possesses the deep mineral tang found only in the best steaks.

Broccoli au gratin; garlic mashed potatoes; mushrooms.

But the steakhouse experience is as much about the sides as it is about the beef, and the trio of veg and potato dishes does not disappoint. Mashed potatoes, zinged with garlic, are silky and creamy. Broccoli au gratin brings perfectly textured veg in a delightfully cheesy sauce that is just rich enough without being cloying. The kitchen pan-roasts cremini mushrooms until they’re whisper soft, their earthiness amplified by a coating of demi-glace juices.

For dessert, there’s a sizeable wedge of key lime pie, its ultra-rich curd perched on sturdy graham crumb crust.

Main dining room.

All of this unfolds in a spacious and inviting white-tablecloth main dining room outfitted in a contemporary palette of stylish, understated greys, a décor motif handsomely set off by modern-styled broadloom, snazzy stainless-steel chandeliers and wall-mounted aviation-themed framed artwork reflecting the restaurant’s Airport Strip location. Tables are comfortably well-spaced, further enhancing the dining experience.

Just inside the restaurant’s main entrance, a bright and airy lounge greets guests the moment they arrive.

We visited on a warm night and appreciated the climate control that provided a perfectly comfortable — and, crucially, draft-free — dining environment.

Private dining room set for 26 people.

For corporate groups, Ruth’s Chris Toronto Airport can host breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings and events.

There are five private dining rooms, all with built-in audiovisual and sound system options. The Amelia Earhart Room and Roberta Bondar Room each seat 30 people at three tables, and seat 24, in a hollow square configuration, and accommodate 17, boardroom-style.

The Chesley Sullenberger Room and William Bishop Room each seat 40 people at three tables, and seat 25, in a hollow square.

The largest room, the Spruce Goose, combines all four private dining rooms and can seat 130 people at 13 tables or host 200, cocktail-style.

In addition, Ruth’s Chris Toronto Airport offers semi-private options for smaller groups that want a private dining feel, but don’t need an entire private room.

Contact Cathi Krewicki, private dining sales manager, at cathi@ruthschris.ca

— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 30 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,500 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.



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