By Anni Caporuscio

The 16 oz. NY Strip cut is divine. There is nothing to hide the innate flavors of top quality beef. Though you can order a dipping trio, for your first steak, try it as is, as the chef suggests. Executive Chef Mark Sassone has a strong reputation on the island, and can lead you in the right direction. Also included on the menu are a ribeye, filet, petite filet, a a well-marbled cowboy ribeye, a porterhouse for two, and a 40 oz. bone-in tomahawk ribeye. All on sizzling plates and cooked to perfection in nothing but butter.

There are 154 Ruth’s Chris Steakhouses worldwide. Six of them are in Hawai‘i, and Kaua’i has one of them. This lavish steakhouse opened in November 2017 at The Shops at Kukui‘ula. It is a thoughtfully curated experience that has a history and a tradition that I think will resonate strongly with Kaua‘i diners, foodies, celebrators and eaters-at-large.

If I have learned anything while writing food articles in the last few years, it’s that Kaua‘i restaurants carry history. You can read about the history of Ruth’s Chris in an insert in the menu. The restaurant’s proprietors are proud of the legacy.

In 1965, Ruth Fertel, a nurse and a single mother, mortgaged her home to purchase Chris Steakhouse in New Orleans. A 1975 fire forced a location change and also a name change, hence “Ruth’s Chris.” The company went through a period of franchise, but now all 154 steakhouses are corporately owned, allowing for all locations to follow standards of service that ensure an unforgettable experience.

Each Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse retains a uniqueness related to the region. For instance, Hawai«i locations boast a fine sashimi and island fish. Kaua‘i’s steakhouse is also lucky to have manager Brandon Bridges-Basuel, born and raised on the island, who is all about creating memories for local diners and is eager to introduce this level of dining to Kaua‘i.

The Crab Stack from the appetizer menu. This is a cold and spicy prelude that combines a generous portion of real crab meat atop cool avocado for texture, mango chunks for sweetness, pickled cucumbers for bite and artful smears of spicy dipping sauce. Pair this with a glass of white wine to start.

Brandon believes everyone needs to try the Ruth’s Chris experience at least once to enjoy the quality of the steaks and service. He is making an effort to cater to local residents. In doing so, Kaua‘i can enjoy Happy Hour every night, all night, from 4:30 p.m. to closing. There are also holiday specials, so we can celebrate with a touch of class. The Sizzling Prime Time Menu, a three course special for $54 per person, is an unbeatable deal.

The most significant items Ruth’s Chris’s menu are the steaks. Ruth, herself, designed an 1800-degree broiler that is still used in each location to this day. Every cut of meat is served on a sizzling 500-degree plate, so the meat is actually still cooking when it’s placed in front of you.

All the cuts of meat are USDA Prime from Hereford and Angus cows, which account for only two-to-three percent of all cattle, so, these are as rare as possible for quality. The steaks are seasoned only with salt, pepper and butter, so the flavor of the meat shines through, and it remains untarnished by other influences. Meals are served ala carte — you order your steak and a shareable vegetable and starch. This is another step towards keeping their commitment to showcasing the meat.

BBQ Shrimp from the appetizer menu, served on the skewer and bathed in a sweetly spiced Cajun barbecue butter. The shrimp are perfectly juicy and tender, but don’t neglect the sauce: sop it up with steaming bread from Kaua‘i Kookie.

For your night out, remember Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for an exceptional experience for unmatched quality of food and impeccable service. Our server enthusiastically made recommendations and arrived with a second sizzling plate when he perceived ours needed refreshing.

Find Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse at The Shops at Kukui‘ula in Po‘ipu. Call (808) 278.6100 or go to ruthschris.com for reservations. Keep your eyes open for a quality bar menu, including a steak sandwich, and other promotions that make this luxury steakhouse accessible to all of us.

  • Anni Caporuscio is a food lover and can be found daily at her Kapa‘a business, Small Town Coffee.