I admit I have always had a certain affinity for Ruth’s Chris. I lived in New Orleans, where they started, I knew some family members, I met Ruth, I was at her funeral. But the family hasn’t been involved for a long time, and the company really abandoned New Orleans after Katrina. They did not open their original location; they relocated their headquarters to Florida. So screw ’em. And BTW, if you are even looking for a steak in New Orleans, go to the old-timey Crescent City Steak House, it’s rumored that they actually invented Ruth’s “sizzle.”
I was thinking about Ruth’s because of recent press releases (covered on this blog) about their new “Bistro” menu, less expensive items that have joined their menu. I wondered if other similar chains had done the same, which led me to look at Morton’s “Pub Menu”, a half dozen or so items offered for $5 in the bar, during happy hour.
So I wandered downtown and into Morton’s, and perused the menu:
At fast-food sized prices, I could well afford to plunge into several items, and I did, starting with the mini cheeseburgers, moving on to the mini-filet sandwiches, a side of blue cheese fries, and a cold brew to wash it down.
It’s funny that just this morning I said I wished I could find a burger, that I could bite into plain, that made me say OMG. Careful what you wish for, BurgerDogBoy. These mini cheeseburgers at Morton’s were da bomb. Topped with lettuce, tomato, purple onion, on a small roll that resembled a kaiser in texture and flavor, and served with a ramikin of ketchup and a jar of Grey Poupon on the side, I disassembled the burger to get a taste of the meat. WTF? Did they serve me a minced filet mignon? They might as well have. This ground beef is superb, by every measure: grind, flavor, texture, and oh, of course, perfectly medium rare. Tossing aside the buns and dressing, I could have plowed through a dozen. But I didn’t.
The mini filet mignon sandwiches didn’t disappoint either, a couple ounces of perfectly done, delightfully lean, flavorful beef, on a buttered, toasted, sesame topped bun. Could have been a hot dog bun cut in half, not sure on that. But once again, the meat was the star of the plate. Excellent.
The fries came last, as I had instructed the server to bring the food in that order, and I knew I would only have a few, piping hot fries, slightly bigger than shoestrings, sitting in a bowl just from the oven, blistering hot, chunks of rich blue cheese, flakes of red pepper and parsley. Oh, I would have loved to have gnawed my way through the entire bowl, and would have asked for, hmmm, garlic aioli, maybe, as a dip.
$15 at happy hour for all three, washed down with a couple of ice cold Stella’s, Morton more than delivers on its new Pub Menu. This food was only served in the bar at happy hour (in PDX, the restaurant doesn’t open until 5), and the bar was very dark, preventing me from taking some pix. So these photos are from the Morton’s website, but this is one time I do not feel bad about using them, because the photos perfectly represent what I was served. The $5 plates are available from 5 – 6:30, in the bar, nightly.
Our local Morton’s: