Thursday, January 13, 2005

High Steaks

The other night marked my second trip to a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and once again I was greeted with excellent service. The waiter knew me by name even though I'm not a regular (he knew it simply by looking at the clipboard before coming to our table). When I called for reservations, they asked if there's a special occasion--I told them I needed to get done in under an hour-and-a-half so I could make the basketball game. Two different managers introduced themselves to our table and thanked us for our patronage. (This made me worry that business might be slow.) As for the steak, as some of you know, it is cooked in butter. Not that there's anything wrong with it. But for purists like myself, it can be a little unnerving. Still, my tiny 12-ounce ribeye was just fine. There are other steakhouses whose meats I prefer more, but when it comes to service, I will say Ruth's Chris was by far superior.

Compare this with my experience at the District Chophouse last year. The Chophouse is owned by Rock Bottom Restaurants in Louisville, Colorado. I had made reservations for a party of 11 at 5:30 on a Saturday. But earlier in the week, I decided to move it back by an hour. I called the Monday before and they said it wasn't a problem. Come Saturday around 6:30, the entire group walks in and I am told we were late by more than an hour and will have to wait another two hours before a table opens. "But I changed the reservations," I told them. It wasn't marked down. A manager comes over and asks me if I got the employee's name who changed my reservations. "You didn't get his name?" he asked me, as if it was the common thing to do. When I told him I changed it on Monday, he said "It is unlikely since we've been booked for more than a week." As one of my friends asked him, "Are you calling [me] a liar?" The manager's reply: "I'm not saying he's lying. I'm saying it is unlikely the call was ever made." (We stormed out and found better service and a better meal at the Capital Grille.)

I don't care if they're serving Wagyu at half price at the Chophouse, I'll take a buttered steak over that any day.

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