Beef is one of our favorite ways to get protein, iron, B vitamins and zinc into our diet. We’re not sure that we need the sizzling butter sauce that dances around the steaks—which are served on exceedingly hot plates dotted with parsley—but we don’t mind it. Seared at 1,800°F, the filet is tender enough to cut with a butter knife, and the ribeye is our favorite cut. The sustainable foodies in us wish the beef were local, but we admit, grudgingly, that local beef is not yet as beautifully textured or consistently high quality as the beef from the Midwest.
Ruth’s Chris does use local ingredients in their side dishes—and the flavor results are excellent. The salads are crisp and colorful Kula greens and other vegetables grown on Haleakalā (not in California). The well-balanced dressings are homemade. The steakhouse salad—iceberg, micro greens, carrots, tomatoes—is generous and delicious with the traditional blue cheese dressing. The Caesar is garlicky and has an excellent anchovy flavor without the chunks of fish that can distress some diners.
Sides are typical of steakhouse menus and plenty big enough to split. We can’t help but love the simplest: potatoes whipped with butter until pillowy and seasoned with a sure hand, and spinach so perfectly integrated with cream that it becomes almost spinach butter.
The wine list is very good, and we like that they have several half-bottles and glasses available.
The service, however, sets Ruth’s Chris apart. Servers show up on time, check back often without interrupting, and clear and clean without being intrusive. They know the menu, can offer good advice, and exude genuine hospitality. They also handle that crucial skill, up-selling, with poise. This is so universally true in our experience that at our last visit to the Wailea location we asked our server what the restaurant’s secret was.
“Everyone, back and front of the house, understands that the success of the restaurant rides on our shoulders, and that everyone must be fully committed, trained well, and working hard all the time.”
Ruth’s Chris, 3750 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea, in the Shops at Wailea, Dinner, (808) 874-8880; and 900 Front St., Lahaina, Dinner, (808) 661-8815