Friday, February 26, 2016
15 CRAIGSIDE GOES TO RUTH'S CHRIS STEAKHOUSE
Chris Steakhouse in New Orleans had a checkered life. First founded in 1927 by Chris Matulich, during his 38-year management of the restaurant, he sold it six times, they failed each time, and he subsequently bought it back more cheaply.
In 1965 Ruth Fertel, ignoring the advice of her banker, lawyer and friends, became the eighth owner. She used family recipes to change the offerings, and only hired single mothers (she was also one) as staff. At 5'2" and 110-pounds, she daily sawed by hand 30-pound short loins. Local celebrities like Fats Domino, important politicians and famous athletes became regulars.
When a fire in 1976 destroyed her Chris Steakhouse (name stayed the same), Ruth (here to the right when younger) built a larger one, and as she legally couldn't call it Chris Steakhouse, named the new one Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, a name, it turned out, she always hated. She became the Empress of Steak. In 1999, at the age of 72, she came down with lung cancer and sold 79.3% interest to Madison Dearborn Partners of Chicago. She passed away in 2002.
USDA prime steaks (not as marbled as the best Japanese wagyu, A5, above) are seared at 1800 F and served on ceramic plates at 500 F. One teaspoon of butter is added just before the dish leaves the kitchen. This sizzle and smell combination worked. One steak meal is enough for two people. Many of the sides continue to have a Louisiana flavor. Creme brûlée is their signature dessert.
So off 15 Craigside diners went to the best (Hale 'Aina Gold--Hy's was rated #2) steak restaurant in Hawaii.
We went to the first Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Hawaii, the one on Restaurant Row. I had a gin martini with olives, followed by a Caesar Salad, one escargot from Pepper and half a ribeye steak with mashed potatoes, plus a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. I asked Keola, our waiter, if I could take the other half raw to grill and eat later at home. To my surprise, he said, okay.
My meal ended with a Creme Brûlée and cappuccino:
I might add that Keola was superb:
On departure, I had a photo taken with Sue, for she made that rainbow lei I'm wearing:
Everyone who selected some form of steak, and I think this was everyone, took home a major portion of what could not be consumed. The group truly enjoyed our dining experience, thanks to Marc, Dining Services Manager at 15 Craigside, who arranged a special room for our group and alerted the restaurant to our coming.
John John Florence of Hawaii won an epic Quicksilver Eddie on this final ride with almost no time left:
Florence earned $75,000. Waves were said to have up to 60-foot surfaces. All 29 surfers survived.