ShareThis Page
Food & Drink

Ruth's Chris renovates, expands in tandem with reborn Market Square

| Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Pittsburgh underwent renovations to make a brighter, more open dining room
Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Pittsburgh underwent renovations to make a brighter, more open dining room
The shrimp are cooked first, removed from the pan, and then added to the sauce as a final step in the recipe.
Deborah Weisberg
The shrimp are cooked first, removed from the pan, and then added to the sauce as a final step in the recipe.
Butter, white wine, and seasonings give this barbecued shrimp its rich flavor.
Deborah Weisberg
Butter, white wine, and seasonings give this barbecued shrimp its rich flavor.
Executive chef Dennis Denk uses large Florida shrimp in this recipe.
Deborah Weisberg
Executive chef Dennis Denk uses large Florida shrimp in this recipe.
When executive chef Dennis Denk prepares barbecued shrimp as an entrée, he serves it on a bed of roasted garlic mashed potatoes.
Deborah Weisberg
When executive chef Dennis Denk prepares barbecued shrimp as an entrée, he serves it on a bed of roasted garlic mashed potatoes.
Dennis Denk (left), pictured with restaurant owner Scott Offenbach (right), has been executive chef since 1987.
Dennis Denk (left), pictured with restaurant owner Scott Offenbach (right), has been executive chef since 1987.
The new bar area at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Pittsburgh
The new bar area at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Pittsburgh

As if in step with the renaissance of downtown Pittsburgh, one of the city's most enduring restaurants — Ruth's Chris Steak House — has undergone a $2 million renovation and expansion in Market Square.

Founded 30 years ago at 6 PPG Place, Ruth's now features a larger bar area, new private banquet rooms, a temperature-controlled wine room with vast inventory, and a brighter, more open dining room elegantly appointed with glass and wood.

The menu features an array of USDA prime beef steaks broiled at 1,200 degrees and served on 500-degree plates for the signature “Ruth's Chris Sizzle,” says owner Scott Offenbach, whose parents established the Market Square location as the 18th Ruth's Chris in a growing upscale chain. Today, there are more than 150 Ruth's Chris restaurants around the world.

“Back when we first opened, you had to be in a city with a National Football League team, because (founder) Ruth (Fertel) believed that people who like football are steak-and-potatoes people,” Offenbach says.

His parents hired Dennis Denk, who then was working at the Grand Concourse as executive chef, and he has continued in the position for 30 years. He was personally trained by Fertel, whom he described as unwavering in her standards.

“Our product speaks for itself,” says Denk, noting that Ruth's Chris uses only the top 2 to 3 percent of Midwestern cattle for its custom-aged beef. “Our beef is grass-fed but ‘finished' with corn for the right amount of marbling.”

While steaks can be prepared from rare to well-done, Pittsburgh-rare is often requested, Denk says. “It goes back to when steelworkers cooked their lunch on hot steel because they didn't have much time to eat. It charred the meat on the outside, but left it cool on the inside.”

Of the dozen signature cuts on the dinner menu, Pittsburghers seem to favor the 11-ounce filet and the 16-ounce rib-eye, while popular lunch items include the petite steak, center-cut pork chops with sweet and spicy apple slices, and the steak salad, which is prepared with sautéed bell pepper medley and served on fresh greens, Denk says.

Although Ruth's Chris is known for steaks, popular alternatives include the pan-seared Chilean sea bass prepared with citrus-coconut butter and sweet potato and pineapple hash, and the free-range stuffed chicken breast made with garlic-herb cheese and lemon butter. Vegetarian plates also are available. Classic Ruth “sides” include Idaho au gratin potatoes, with three-cheese sauce, and creamed spinach.

In addition to the renovation, Ruth's Chris recently introduced Sizzle, Swizzle and Swirl, which offers a specially priced menu of foods and drinks from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. daily. Items range from the house-ground prime steak-burger made with choice of cheese ($10) to bruschetta ($6), and cocktails ($7) such as the French martini with Sobieski vodka, Chambord and pineapple juice; and the Manhattan Northside, a Jim Beam bourbon-based cocktail prepared with Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, lemon sour and filthy Amarena cherries.

Parking for diners is complimentary at the PPG Place garage (enter left-hand side of Third Avenue) every day after 5 p.m.

Deborah Weisberg is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

Ruth's Barbecued Shrimp

Ruth's Barbecued Shrimp is one of the most requested appetizers at Ruth's Chris, according to executive chef Dennis Denk. When he serves it as an entrée, the shrimp is placed on a bed of roasted, garlic mashed potatoes.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

¼ teaspoons paprika

1 tablespoon chopped green onions

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

15 shrimp, peeled and deveined (16/20 count)

8 ouces salted butter

¾ ounce canola oil

1½ ounces dry white wine

1 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

¾ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Wash shrimp under water and then peel the shells and discard. Devein the shrimp with a paring knife and then wash again. Repeat until all shrimp are done, place on a sheet tray in the refrigerator. Place a large cast-iron skillet on a burner and heat over high heat. Add oil and cook shrimp until they are just done. Remove shrimp and set aside. Add green onions and cook for 1 minute. Add white wine and reduce the volume by half. When the wine is reduced by half, measure and add the chopped garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper and paprika. Shake the pan well. Cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low. Cut the butter into small chunks with a knife and slowly add to the pan, shaking fast to melt the butter. Continue to add butter until it is all added and shake until it is melted. Add shrimp back to pan and toss well to coat shrimp with butter and to heat through. Serve.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me