Ruth Chris Steak House in Taipei!
Most steak joints in Taiwan offer a more delicate presentation, thinner pieces, often sliced, garnished with raw or roasted garlic, and/or an assortment of condiments such as sea salt, mustard and flavoursome sauces. They are wonderful in their own way, but none of them are like Ruth Chris, the renowned US chain that has a single store in Taipei.
I visited Ruth Chris before watching the Pacers play the Rockets in an NBA exhibition in Taipei, just down the road at the Taipei Arena. Apparently the Jeremy Lin and the Rockets visited just a day or two before, which remains a mystery to me given that they can have this kind of food every day back home. Nonetheless, it was a marvellous experience. USDA Prime steak at its natural best.
Ruth Chris Taipei has an extensive menu with plenty of appetizers, salads, soups, steaks, seafood, chicken, lamb and desserts, and if you are clueless about steaks like me, then you’ll be glad that they have very knowledgeable waiters and waitresses who will patiently answer all your dumb questions (in English or Mandarin). Given that we had limited time, we opted for a quick meal — a soup to share as an appetizer then a hearty steak each with a mash potato as a shared side, followed by a shared dessert, the legendary Chocolate sin cake.
First up, the house bread, with creamy butter. Nothing really to report here — standard stuff.
Next up, the soup, a very lovely and thick lobster bisque that was just right and not too salty. We shared this one but I think we could have had one each because the serving was not huge and it was delish.
We ordered two of their signature USDA Prime steaks, which were both served on piping hot plates with nothing but just the meat, some melted butter and a sprinkle of seasoning. That’s all you need because the natural flavour of the steak speaks for itself. With no more pregnancies to worry about, we went with the suggested medium-rare.
From memory we went with the filet and the ribeye, both of which were tender and juicy. Looks were also deceiving because we ordered fairly large portions (you can choose the size for some of the steaks) and had trouble polishing off the plate because the steaks were so huge. But I loved every satisfying bite, especially as the plate kept the steak hot until the end.
The side, the mashed potato, was very creamy, perhaps a little bit heavier than I would have liked given that the steak was already such a robust meal. That said, it did make a nice complement to the meat and we had no trouble finishing the big serving.
Lastly, the dessert, which in all honesty should not have been ordered because we were so full, but it was something that just had to be done. There is a reason it’s called the chocolate sin cake, because I felt like I sinned significantly after munching down on this baby — a hot chocolate cake with gooey chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream and caramel dressing on top. I won’t lie. It was magnificent.
So that ended my first — and certainly not last — visit to Ruth Chris, the steak house founded by the person with two first names, one for a girl and one for a boy. Price-wise it was affordable, and varies depending on the type of steak you ordered, whether you have appetizers or desserts, and of course if you had any wine. Accordingly, if you ignore the wine, I’d say you’re looking at about NT$1,000-NT$2,000 per head, potentially more if you go for the pricey steaks.
On the whole, it was a splendid experience. If you like steaks, I can’t think of many places I’d recommend more.
Ruth Chris (茹絲葵經典牛排館)
Address: 2F 135 Min Sheng East Road, Section 3, Taipei, Taiwan (nearest MRT Zhongshan Jr High School on the brown line)
Phone: 886-2-2545-8888 (reservations are usually necessary)
Hours: 11:30-15:00, 17:30-23:00