Written by Marilyn Hansen and Hulda Lawrence
Ruth's Chris Steak House, 145 West 51st Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, (212) 245-9600. The set back entrance welcomes you with the Ruth's Chris Steak House name on the door. Inside find a full bar with several inviting dining rooms. We especially liked the lush, Victorian-atmosphere of the main dining room.
Ruth's Chris Steak House now has many locations across the United States, plus Mexico, Puerto Rico and Taiwan. The original Ruth's Chris Steak House in New Orleans set the flavor of many of the restaurants specialties from appetizers through dessert. Consider starting with barbecued shrimp, sauteed New Orleans style in reduced white wine, butter, garlic and spices; Louisiana seafood gumbo or shrimp remoulade; shrimp cocktail with a classic remoulade sauce or the spicy New Orleans homestyle cocktail sauce. Salads, too, such a spinach with mushrooms, crisp bacon and chopped egg. There's a chopped salad, developed by owner Ruth Fertel herself, a hearty mix of iceberg lettuce, spinach, radicchio, tossed with red onion, mushrooms, green olives, bacon, eggs, hearts of palm, croutons, blue cheese and lemon basil dressing ... topped off with cherry tomatoes and crispy fried onions!
Of course, when it comes to the entrees it's the steak, custom aged mid-western beef, that takes center stage. Served in sizzling butter from filet to ribeye, New York strip, porterhouse for two, T-bone or the huge cowboy ribeye, all steak appetites are well satisfied. Other entrees range from the tender veal chop, lamb chops, fresh lobster and grilled salmon. Side dishes include potatoes: mashed, baked, au gratin or steak fries. Vegetables from broiled tomatoes, creamed fresh spinach, fresh broccoli, sliced mushrooms and asparagus with hollandaise.
To accompany your meal, choose from an award-winning wine list. The wine steward will help you with your choice.
Desserts "take the cake"! Try bread pudding with whiskey Sauce, a traditional New Orleans favorite; crème brulée with berries and mint; chocolate mousse cheesecake, the fabulous Chocolate Praline Encore; or fresh, seasonal berries with sweet cream sauce. Close with espresso or cappuccino and perhaps your favorite after dinner drink. Amaretto or brandy any one?
Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday, 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Credit Cards: All major
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes
Parking: Circle Parking, on West 51st Street between Seventh and Broadway, Ruth's Chris will stamp parking ticket, $12 For 5 hours.
René Pujol, 321 West 51st Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. (212) 246-3023; FAX (212) 245-5206, a charming and quiet oasis only one block from the hectic and busy heart of the theatre district. Here tables are placed far enough away from each other so that conversations remain private, both at lunch and dinner. The waiters, tuxedo-clad, are experienced and almost sense their patrons' desires.
At a recent lunch we relaxed here far from honking drivers and noisy pedestrians outside. Michel, our maitre d' from Normandy, presented us with menus after an enthusiastic busboy had placed before use a melange of eggplant and garlic surrounded by toasted French bread. On another day, this introduction might be rillettes. As we sipped out Kirs, we saw that the other diners also were enjoying their luncheons in a leisurely fashion. Many of these diners were long-time patrons as the restaurant is celebrating its 31st year in the same area.
René Pujol features excellent prix fixe both at lunch and dinner: $28 for lunch and $40 for dinner, with many choices and daily specials. We began with the warm Onion Tartlet made with fresh thyme, and wonderful Mini-Cheese Raviolis in a light chicken broth with shiitake mushrooms and cilantro. These tiniest of pastas were stuffed with ricotta cheese. We then tasted a special Avocado with Crabmeat and the thinnest of sliced tomato. Other luncheon appetizers include Bowtie Pasta with tomato, prosciutto and eggplant; a Greek Salad; Seasonal Greens with tomato, beets, celery, mozzarella, apple, bacon bits and walnuts; Fresh Goat Cheese on Potato; and Warm Garlic Sausage on Diced Potato. A soup of the day always is available.
We noticed that on each table was a list of wines that can be ordered by the glass; eight white and eight red are described. We selected a Chateau Neuf du Pape and a Pouilly-Fuisse at $8.50 each. A number of diners were ordering by the glass while others were sharing full bottles.
From among the ten entrees my companion chose Dover Sole, not usually served at lunch and therefore only on the á la carte menu, and I ordered Grilled Quails with a mushroom risotto. My quails were delicious and the risotto was outstanding. The sole was beautifully boned and presented with flourish. Other luncheon entrees are Grilled Salmon; Pan-Seared Flounder Fillet with curry-coconut sauce and basmati rice; Sauteed Florida Grouper; Roasted Breast of Chicken, Pan-Seared Hanger Steak; Sauteed Veal Scallopine; and a vegetable dish.
For dessert my preference is always dark chocolate when available, so I ordered the Dark Chocolate Terrine with Pistachio Sauce while my companion chose the Crème Brulée. Both were delicious. The desserts were followed by espressos. Other desserts are Carmelized Coconut Custard, Valrhona Chocolate Mousse, Fruit Tart, ice creams and sorbets.
Appetizers on the dinner prix fixe include Endive-Arugula Salad with Roquefort and Smoked Duck Breast; Broiled Sliced Maine Sea Scallops; House Smoked Salmon; French Onion Soup or soup of the day. For an added charge you many have Warm Lobster Salad, Lobster Ravioli or Classic Snails.
The dinner prix fixe includes Grilled Atlantic Salmon with Wilted Spinach, Peppered Tuna Steak, Steamed Maine Codfish, Roasted Breast of Chicken, Grilled semi-boneless Quails, Pan-Seared Duck Breast, and a Seasonal Vegetable Plate. At an additional charge, you may choose from Sauteed Frogs Legs, Lobster Fricassee in a light ginger sauce with angel hair pasta, Dover Sole, Pan-seared Beef Mignonettes, Grilled Black Angus Steak, Grilled Filet Mignon, and Three Grilled Lamb Chops. The Roast Rack of Lamb for two is $90.
Dinner desserts include Carmelized Coconut Pear Tart with Pear Sorbet, Apricot Tart with Almond Ice Cream, Semi-Frozen Honey Nougat Parfait, Panna-Cotta with Diced Fruit, Frozen Banana and Chocolate Checker Board Parfit and Warm Melting Chocolate Souffle with Grand Marnier Ice Cream
For those who appreciate an after-dinner drink, René Pujol has an excellent selection of armagnacs, cognacs, caux de vies, marcs, grappas and single malt scotches.
Hours: René Pujol is open daily except Sundays and some major holidays for both lunch from noon to 3 p.m., and dinner from 5 p.m.to 10:30 p.m. On Friday and Saturdays, the restaurant is open until 11:30 p.m. The prix fixe dinner is served until 8 p.m. After that all orders are a la cart
Credit Cards: All major
Wheelchair accessibility: Yes
Parking: Howard Johnson, 851 Eight Avenue
The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.