So, Mr. T and I are fans of yummy steak whether at home or at a restaurant. Mr. T was in the mood for an anniversary slab of well marbled tender aged steak so we decided to head over to Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse.
Mr. T called for a reservation and we headed out the door…hungry!
Upon arrival in front of the restaurant (with no street parking options visible) Mr. T decided to bite the $8 valet parking bullet. And was promptly ignored. I went ahead and got out of the car and headed inside worried that we would be late for our previously mentioned reservation. I opened the door for the valet who commented that it was a hectic night. Yeah. I didn’t say, “Gee, my husband is going to pay you $8 so you can complain about your night at least you could have opened the door for me.” But I dismissed that as a private car parking company not being up on their manners.
Much like the Seinfeld episode the restaurant took our reservation but they failed to hold or keep the reservation. It was a little annoying to be interrogated, “Are you sure you made the reservation at this location?” Um, yes. This is the only Jeff Ruby’s in Cincinnati. In the end we were seated despite them not having kept our reservation.
We were seated in a banquet booth. Unlike most banquette booths I have sat in though, this one had 2 tables. It was very much like we were joining these strangers for dinner. In fact, at one point I said, “Hello, we’ll be joining you for dinner.” They laughed. We were able to smile about it too but it didn’t feel very romantic to be seated so close to this other couple. We just don’t go that way. 🙂
Eventually, a waiter came and asked what we wanted to drink. (And much of this review now will be comparing our treatment with other tables this same waiter had because I found it noteworthy and frankly, interesting. When I hear about inconsistent service at a restaurant I usually think that service on Monday with Elaine is great but Tuesday with John isn’t so swell. I don’t typically think that different customers are treated with such variance.) He asked another table, “Would you like Pellegrino or tap water?” Well, I would have liked Pellegrino (it’s my favorite!) but didn’t think to ask for it and it wasn’t, for some reason, offered.
We ordered our dinner. I ordered a shrimp cocktail, we split a large steak, and ordered macaroni and cheese (a speciality) and creamed spinach. While we were waiting for the shrimp cocktail the waiter brought bread and butter. The butter was a compound mushroom butter and a regular butter. Both were really tasty.
The shrimp cocktail was brought and was also really tasty. The cocktail sauce had plenty of flavor and kick. Even Mr. T. liked it although he isn’t a shrimp fan. Before I had finished the 3(!) shrimp a waiter came and asked to take the platter away, “You done?” Does it look like I’m done? I’m obviously still enjoying the food, right? But instead I just said, “No. I’m still eating.”
Our food arrived and was placed before us. Another table’s food arrived and the waiter served them portions of the family style sides. Not us. Our steak was ordered medium rare. Mine was well done. The creamed spinach was frankly awful. One of the worst spinach dishes (okay, BFF, you know the worst one ever and I guess it wasn’t that bad) I have had. I found it all very disappointing. Mr. T said it was one of the most flavorful steaks he has had.
The manager came by and asked if everything was okay. I said, “It was okay.” He asked what was wrong. I eventually pointed out the well done steak and said the spinach was not good. He offered a new steak with asparagus. I accepted. After a few minutes it was brought to me. It was better but still not as good as Ruth’s Chris or Flemings or your locally owned steakhouse.
We asked for a dessert menu which never materialized. A crème brulee with an amaretto cookie spoon with a candle in it was brought over by the waiter who pointed out it was “free.” I was really wanting cheesecake but wasn’t offered the opportunity to order. Mr. T ordered coffee which was okay. Other tables were brought dessert menus and got to choose what they wanted.
As we finished the few bites of dessert we ate I started to smell cigarette smoke. I asked one of our waiters who was cleaning the table next to us, “Is someone smoking?” He said, “I dunno,” and walked away. A few minutes later he came back and said, “The door to the cigar patio is open.” I thought, “If this was my restaurant this is not how I would have them speak to customers.” The smell did go away so I figure that the door must have been closed either by him or someone else.
We paid the bill and left. It was less than stellar and I wouldn’t recommend the experience. But, I think that other diners were having better service and food so perhaps a rating of inconsistent is the most honest.