ruthschrisinterior.jpg
Sam Cook
Ruth's Chris: a steakhouse at its sleekest.
The Place: Ruth's Chris Steak House , 727 Pine St., 624-8524, DOWNTOWN

The Hours: 4-6 p.m.

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Jim Beam Takes Manhattan at Ruth's Chris

ruthschrisinterior.jpg
Sam Cook
Ruth's Chris: a steakhouse at its sleekest.
The Place: Ruth's Chris Steak House, 727 Pine St., 624-8524, DOWNTOWN

The Hours: 4-6 p.m. and again from 9-11 p.m.

The Deal: Highlights include $3.95 Jim Beam Manhattans, $5.95 prime rib sliders, and seared ahi tuna.

The Digs: Ruth's Chris moved to the ground floor of a new Hyatt from a cold corporate edifice on Fifth Avenue in 2005. The current digs are considerably brighter and more inviting to customers who aren't required to wear a gray Brooks Brothers suit, polished wingtips, and starched white shirt to work (i.e., most Seattleites). But for traditionalists who equate the steakhouse experience with lighting dim enough for a coal mine and a clandestine lounge area, a bit of blasphemy may be detectable.

Nomenclature: Weird name, huh? So what's its genesis? Simple: New Orleans' Chris Steak House, founded in 1927, was purchased in 1965 by a trailblazing Louisiana racehorse trainer named Ruth Fertel, who eventually expanded the operation to franchises nationwide. Hence, Ruth's Chris Steak House.

The Verdict: Any midtown-steakhouse happy hour is going to serve as a magnet for a fair amount of turbocharged 20-somethings loudly blowing off steam after a long day of futures trading. But that vibe isn't overpowering, and the seared tuna flanks and prime rib sliders are perfectly prepared, even if the portions are on the modest side. Most impressive is the bar's ability to churn out a serviceable Manhattan using what amounts to well liquor (Jim Beam) as its base bourbon. That's tantamount to shining gravel, and for under four bucks, man, does it shimmer.

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