Ruth’s Chris recipe for crab cakes is an all time favorite of mine. A new Ruth’s Chris restaurant recently opened for business in my neighborhood, which prompted me to share my variation with you! The recipe is simply divine!
The restaurant has been in business for more than 40 years. Ruth Fertel is the founder of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse restaurant. She purchased the Chris Steakhouse in New Orleans in 1965 and was forced to move to a new location on Broad street when a fire destroyed the original building. In 1976 she allowed franchises to be opened to friends and associates. In 1985, Ruth was named "The first lady of American restaurants" by her peers. In 1999, Madison Dearborn (a private investment firm) acquired Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Ruth Fertel passed away in 2005, after a long battle with cancer. In September 2005, in the wake of hurricane Katrina, the home office was moved to Orlando, Florida. Today (in 2009) restaurants are located in 35 states and 14 locations can be found internationally.
The Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse website reports That it is the nation’s largest upscale restaurant company With 109 operations (United States, Puerto Rico, and Internationally) selling over 17,000 steaks a day and grossing more than $ 250 million Annually.
How Do They Get the Steaks to Taste So Good?
Well, obviously, They start with the very best cuts of beef money can buy. The best beef produces the best steaks. The beef is aged and cut thick to make it tender and juicy.
Then They cook it in a way That would be impossible for MOST home cooks. They sear each side at 1800 degrees Fahrenheit (. Over 3 times hotter than any average home stove will get) The seasoning is simple and something you can try at home: Salt, pepper, parsley and lots of butter are all that are used. Real butter is the key to MOST restaurant foods better than most home tasting foods in Anthony Bourdain ACCORDING TO Kitchen Confidential. Ruth’s Chris use one ounce per steak.
Then the steaks are served on plates heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (as hot as a home oven will get.)
They served good traditional European style food from different countries. The place was busy, but the husband and wife owners were quite conspicuous and stood out. So, you could tell that this was a family run restaurant. Well, after finishing my dinner, I was able to have a chat with Walter who was in a chef’s uniform. Lo and behold, I found out that they had been at that same location for 25 years and never had the idea to expand. He told me he is looking for someone to take over the restaurant because frankly him and his wife are tired of being their almost everyday for the past 25 years. Not very uncommon, especially among European restaurant owners, I might say.
Sweating for 25 years, and at the end looking for someone to take over your restaurant, is not quite a model for success, to say the least.
Now, lets look at Ruth Fertel, the founder of Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Ruth was a Louisiana native who purchased a steak house from a gentleman in 1965. Just a few months after her purchase, Hurricane Betsy hit the Louisiana coast in September of 1965. The electricity went out and Ruth knew that she would have to get rid of the meat in the cooler before it would spoil. Instinctively, she cooked up the steaks and sent them down to the hardest hit area of town. All the utility workers discovered her business through that act of kindness and obligation to the community. That was the beginning of her success.
Ruth would say, "You have to please your customers, can’t compromise your product, and you do what you say you’re going to do."
What she said when she was alive, still remains true today. When you go to a Ruth’s Chris, you’re served top quality succulent prime steaks on sizzling plates to your likings, with a variety of plentiful side dishes that are consistent and memorable in taste, provided with an extensive domestic and international wine list along with the highest quality of service in the industry intended to please the guests.