It's been 12 years (almost to the day) since I was last in Kentucky visiting Deb and Matt, and around 11 years since I last saw them when they visited Ithaca, but they hardly seem to have changed. Their friends Laura and Ted seem nice, and it's really a matter of chance that I hadn't met them before. They were apparently once in STARFLEET, but their chapter folded and they never connected with the other folks in the area, like Karen.
Karen's little girls are great! Her 12-year-old, Stephanie, was brave and sat at the head of the table between Ted and Matt, and seemed to hold her own. She certainly was decisive about what to eat. Samantha, the 7-year-old, arrived clutching Snowy, her snowy leopard, but warmed up quickly.
Now, the Kaden Building is an ugly, ugly building. (No resemblance to kaeden.) There's a picture of Frank Lloyd Wright in the lobby, as if to imply that he was the architect to blame, but the reality is that it was loosely based on a design he did for a hotel in India. Worse, it's pink. Wright's design was tan.
But the view from the 16th-floor terrace that surrounds the restaurant is gorgeous, and the interior of Ruth's Chris will handily make you forget you're in one of the ugliest buildings on the planet.
And then they feed you.
By now, most of you know that I eat. I eat a lot. I eat heartily. I eat good food. And then I tell people about it. I've had some damned fine food in my day. And this was better. I don't know if I can reasonably say that it was the best dinner I've ever had, but it's certainly way up there. These folks know their steaks. And then some.
Top-notch filet mignon, cooked rare in an 1800-degree broiler. (Gotta get me one o' them.) Creamed spinach, sweet potato casserole, sauteed mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, broccoli au gratin...
One of the specials last night was that they would make any steak you might order "Oscar" by adding a crab cake, three spears of asparagus, and bearnaise sauce. I think three or four of us ended up doing this, and I was pleased I did. Even though the 12oz filet was only $2 more than the 8oz filet, I erred on the side of less food, considering how much else was coming. I was stuffed all night, so I'm glad I was "restrained" with that one choice.
We passed around a lot of the side dishes; mine was the creamed spinach. I'd have gotten asparagus if there weren't already going to be some on my steak! Samantha impressed me with her willingness to try things, like the creamed spinach (she soon cleaned out the bowl), the sweet potato casserole, and the crab cake, all of which she liked. Karen kept saying "Oh, she won't try that," only to watch as her daughter sampled nearly everything in sight. (Silly kid passed up the bread pudding!)
None of these foods are difficult to prepare, but Ruth's Chris (in dozens of locations, if you want to see if there's one near you) does it all exceptionally well. It's not cheap, not by a long shot, but it's well worth it for a special occasion. This was one! I didn't get to spend loads of time with Deb and Matt, but it makes resuming keeping in touch online a bit more tolerable.