Texas Roadhouse Vs Ruth's Chris Steak House: How They Compare

steak on a wooden board
steak on a wooden board - Asim's_bg/Shutterstock

Beloved by many, steakhouses offer carnivores a chance to indulge in premium cuts of beef that are flawlessly prepared and served in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Among the countless steakhouse chains around, Texas Roadhouse and Ruth's Chris Steak House stand out as two favorites. Although they differ significantly in their approach and culinary offerings, both establishments deliver the quintessential hearty dining experience we all know and love.

Texas Roadhouse is celebrated for its laid-back, family-friendly environment, as well as a diverse selection of American-style dishes. Ruth's Chris Steak House, on the other hand, is synonymous with sophisticated dining. The ambiance here is elegant and the dishes are more innovative, making it the perfect setting for celebrating special occasions or hosting business dinners. However, the disparities between the two chains don't stop there.

Our mission is to explore these differences, focusing on the unique qualities that distinguish the chains and contribute to their very distinct characters. To compare Texas Roadhouse and Ruth's Chris Steak House, and to ultimately declare one the winner, we considered several factors, including menu diversity, food quality, atmosphere, and patron reviews, as detailed at the end of this article.

Read more: The Best Steakhouse In Every State

The Restaurants Offer Different Atmospheres

interior of Texas Roadhouse restaurant
interior of Texas Roadhouse restaurant - Facebook / Texas Roadhouse (Arvada, CO - 5515 Vance Street)

Despite both being steakhouse chains, Texas Roadhouse and Ruth's Chris Steak House feature very different environments. True to its name, Texas Roadhouse offers a distinctly Southern decor with lots of wood, neon signs, and memorabilia. Upon entering the establishment, many customers first notice the upbeat music and peanut shells scattered across the floor, courtesy of the endless supplies at each table. The cowboy vibe is complemented by the chain's staff, who are known for starting impromptu line-dancing sessions to entertain guests. Some outlets also feature a corner dedicated to the country singer Willie Nelson, one of the chain's official partners.

Offering a decidedly more upscale dining experience, Ruth's Chris Steak House prides itself on its sophisticated and welcoming atmosphere. While each of the chain's locations is slightly different, the decor at Ruth's Chris often features rich, dark wood paneling that adds a classic touch to the culinary proceedings. Elegant lighting, from chandeliers to modern fixtures and carefully placed spotlights, highlights the restaurant's aesthetic. In line with the upscale style, the tables are usually set with crisp linens and sparkling glassware.

The Restaurants Offer A Variety Of Steak Cuts

different steak cuts
different steak cuts - Plateresca/Getty Images

Both Texas Roadhouse and Ruth's Chris Steak House offer a wide variety of classic steak cuts, including ribeye, porterhouse, and New York strip — all hand-cut on the premises by resident butchers. The cuts are characterized by distinct flavors, textures, and marbling. For instance, the ribeye is known for its rich, buttery flavor due to a high fat content. Cut from the short loin, the porterhouse offers two types of steak in one, featuring both tenderloin and strip steak separated by a T-shaped bone. Meanwhile, the New York strip, cut from the short loin, is prized for its flavor and slightly firmer texture.

The menu at Texas Roadhouse offers a few unique beefy options, including a dish called Road Kill, which consists of a chop steak topped with sauteed onions and mushrooms, as well as a sprinkle of jack cheese. Another highlight is the Steak Kabob, which includes a blend of onion, mushroom, tomato, and peppers served over rice. For guests who enjoy the personal touch of selecting their steak, Texas Roadhouse even features a special display case with a variety of raw cuts of beef.

Ruth's Chris Steak House Broils High-Quality Steaks

Ruth's Chris steak in broiler
Ruth's Chris steak in broiler - Facebook / Ruth's Chris Steak House

Ruth's Chris Steak Houses uses USDA Prime beef, which is known for its superior tenderness, flavor, and high level of marbling. USDA Prime is the highest grade of beef available in the country, representing only around 3% of all beef graded by the USDA. Premium cuts are superior to other beef grades, including Choice and Select, which are characterized by less marbling and varying levels of tenderness and flavor.

Besides the superior beef quality, Ruth's Chris utilizes high-heat preparation methods to ensure that each steak is cooked to perfection. More specifically, the chain uses bespoke infrared broilers that reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. This method sears the outside of the steak quickly, creating a delicious crust while locking in flavors and juices. Furthermore, each steak arrives at the table topped with butter and parsley on a sizzling 500-degree plate, ensuring it stays at precisely the right temperature during the meal.

Texas Roadhouse Has An Online Butcher Shop

Texas Roadhouse butcher shop
Texas Roadhouse butcher shop - Facebook / Texas Roadhouse Butcher Shop

A relatively recent addition to the e-commerce landscape, online butchers are capitalizing on the growing trend of consumers who seek variety and convenience. In particular, online butchers offer high-quality meats that might not be available in local markets or require a visit to specialized stores. Texas Roadhouse has tapped into this trend by offering cuts of meat online, allowing customers to enjoy restaurant-quality beef in the comfort of their homes.

Texas Roadhouse's Butcher Shop offers USDA Choice beef, which falls between USDA Prime and USDA Select in terms of quality. All of the meat is sourced from Midwestern grain-fed cattle and hand-cut by the chain's in-house butcher. Texas Roadhouse offers five different cuts of beef, as well as filet tips for stews or stir-fries. Shoppers can select from filets, New York strips, ribeyes, bone-in ribeyes, and filet medallions. The steaks are available in two sizes and arrive at your doorstep packaged in a Styrofoam cooler.

Texas Roadhouse Has More Locations

Texas Roadhouse sign
Texas Roadhouse sign - Chapin31/Getty Images

Established in Clarksville, Indiana, in 1993, the first Texas Roadhouse embodied the spirit of the traditional Southern roadhouse. Despite Indiana's considerable distance from Texas, the geographical difference seemed irrelevant. Three decades later, the restaurant's concept has remained consistent, featuring the same rustic charm and laid-back atmosphere across its 650 U.S. outlets. Notably, the largest number of these locations — 74 or 11% of the chain's U.S. presence — is in Texas. Beyond the States, Texas Roadhouse also has restaurants in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The first Ruth's Chris Steak House opened in New Orleans in 1976. It was founded following a fire that destroyed its predecessor, Chris Steak House, acquired by Ruth Fertel in 1965. The 60-seat restaurant marked the beginnings of what would later burgeon into a sprawling steakhouse empire. While the chain's presence isn't as widespread as Texas Roadhouse, Ruth's Chris boasts more than 130 locations across 37 states and territories in the U.S. In addition, the chain has opened for business in various neighboring and far-flung locations including Mexico, Canada, Japan, Indonesia, and Singapore.

Both Restaurants Have A Special Kids Menu But Texas Roadhouse Is More Child-Friendly

family at Texas Roadhouse
family at Texas Roadhouse - Facebook / Texas Roadhouse

Despite their distinct dining experiences, Texas Roadhouse and Ruth's Chris Steak House cater to families. Both chains also offer special menus for children. The kid-friendly options at Texas Roadhouse include all-beef hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, mini-cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, grilled chicken strips, and steak bites. The menu also features special "Ranger Meals" with fried chicken strips, sirloin steak, and ribs. Not quite as extensive, Ruth's Chris' kid's menu consists of five options: grilled cheese on toast, hamburgers, chicken fingers, grilled salmon, and filet medallions.

While children are welcome at both establishments, Texas Roadhouse is a better choice for family dinners than the more upscale Ruth's Chris. The chain's senior investor relations director, Tonya Robinson, emphasized this jokingly in an interview with The Motley Fool, saying, "You can take your whole family. And oh, by the way, we play really loud music, so we're not going to hear your kids screaming."

While Ruth's Chris bills itself as a family-friendly establishment, it might not be the best place to take kids, as attested to by some diners. For instance, one TripAdvisor reviewer says: "I think they accept kids but like everyone else that has answered, I've not seen any children in there." Another diner agrees, commenting, "I wouldn't take kids. It's not really kid friendly."

Ruth's Chris Steak House Has More Dessert Options

Ruth's Chris cheesecake
Ruth's Chris cheesecake - Facebook / Ruth's Chris Steak House Ann Arbor

Modern steakhouses often surprise diners with sumptuous dessert menus, offering the perfect sweet finale to a meal rich in savory flavors. However, not all desserts are created equal. While Ruth's Chris clearly aims to impress with its imaginative dessert menu, the same can't be said for Texas Roadhouse, which offers just three simple choices.

Texas Roadhouse's dessert repertoire includes Granny's Apple Pie Classic, Strawberry Cheesecake, and a Big Ol' Brownie. While customer feedback about these treats hasn't been easy to come by, the sparse reviews suggest divided opinions, as exemplified by the feedback concerning the chain's cheesecake. One TikTok reviewer raves about the chain's Strawberry Cheesecake, noting, "These strawberries are actually good [...] they taste fresh, which is rare for restaurant cheesecake." On the other hand, another patron isn't as impressed, saying, "I received a horrible piece of inedible dried plain cheesecake with 2 strawberries (from a can) on top. I couldn't eat more than 2 bites, it was so dry."

Ruth's Chris offers a more varied selection of dessert options, such as Creme Brulee, Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake, Warm Apple Crumb Tart, and Chocolate Sin Cake. In addition, the chain appears to occasionally surprise its guests with complimentary desserts, particularly if they're celebrating a special occasion. The overall customer feedback about the desserts also seems positive, with one diner describing the restaurant's cheesecake as delicious and another calling the creme brulee heavenly.

Ruth's Chris Steak House Has A Prix-Fixe Menu

Ruth's Chris filet and shrimp
Ruth's Chris filet and shrimp - Facebook / Ruth's Chris Steak House - Pikesville - MD

For the uninitiated, prix-fixe menus allow diners to choose from several dishes within each course for a set price. The dishes offered are usually restricted to a handful of options, often featuring seasonal ingredients or the chef's standout creations. Starting at around $55 depending on the selected entree, Ruth's Chris prix-fixe menu is pretty good value, particularly because it lets diners sample a variety of dishes they wouldn't normally be able to enjoy at the same price.

The set menu at Ruth's Chris consists of a four-course meal including a starter, entree, side, and mini dessert. The dishes are usually a little smaller than if you ordered them from the main menu, which is great for those who enjoy variety without overindulging. As a starter, guests can choose from options such as a Caesar salad, house salad, or Louisiana seafood gumbo. For the entree, the restaurant offers dishes like a salmon filet, filet and shrimp, and filet and lobster tail. Meanwhile, the choice of sides includes creamed spinach, steamed broccoli, and garlic mashed potatoes.

Texas Roadhouse Is Famous For Its Rolls

Texas Roadhouse rolls
Texas Roadhouse rolls - Colinhui/Getty Images

Many guests report that as soon as they step inside Texas Roadhouse, they are welcomed by the enticing aroma of freshly baked bread. However, this is no ordinary bread. These legendary rolls are baked on the premises every five minutes to ensure ultimate freshness. Then, they arrive at your table with a delicious honey and cinnamon butter. In all honesty, it hurts us to think that the chain's founder, Kent Taylor, initially toyed with the notion of offering free popcorn before opting for the now iconic rolls.

Texas Roadhouse roll enthusiasts will be pleased to know that they can order the popular starter by the dozen, as TikTok user @WayneDang proves. In a post that garnered 6,000 comments, they pick up a tray of freshly baked rolls and a tub of honey and cinnamon butter from the restaurant. Another TikTok user, @Jordan_The_Stallion8, reports that Texas Roadhouse rolls can also be ordered frozen for Thanksgiving. All you need to do to get your hands on the signature rolls is pop your name on a sign-up sheet at one of the restaurants a week before picking up the goods.

Ruth's Chris Steak House Has More Upscale Appetizers

Ruth's Chris seared ahi tuna
Ruth's Chris seared ahi tuna - Facebook / Ruth's Chris Steak House - Atlantic City

Unlike the more casual Texas Roadhouse, which keeps to traditional American starters, upscale Ruth's Chris boasts a broader assortment of appetizers. The starter menu at Ruth's Chris showcases the chain's commitment to turning gourmet ingredients into dishes that combine classic flavors with an innovative flair. A few highlights from the chain's menu include Sizzling Crab Cakes, Veal Osso Buco Ravioli, and Seared Ahi Tuna. Perhaps Ruth's Chris' most outstanding appetizer, however, is the Chilled Seafood Tower, a tiered dish that brings together Maine lobster, colossal lump crabmeat, and jumbo shrimp.

Embracing robust and hearty flavors, Texas Roadhouse features a menu of comforting starters that the entire family is bound to love. With the exception of the Killer Ribs, all are easily shareable. Some of the crowd-pleasers on offer include Fried Pickles, Rattlesnake Bites, Tater Skins, Texas Red Chili, and Boneless Buffalo Wings. However, the star of the show might just be the chain's Cactus Blossom, a large deep-fried onion cut into petals and served with a Cajun sauce for dipping.

Ruth's Chris Steak House Has More Seafood Options

Ruth's Chris chilled seafood tower
Ruth's Chris chilled seafood tower - Facebook / Ruth's Chris Steak House - Atlantic City

While both Ruth's Chris and Texas Roadhouse are renowned for their steaks, the restaurants also offer an enticing selection of seafood options, catering to a wider range of taste preferences. Nevertheless, seafood lovers with more discerning palates might feel more at home at Ruth's Chris, since the restaurant offers a more diverse range of ocean bounty.

Catering to both traditional and adventurous seafood enthusiasts, Ruth's Chris impresses from the outset with an appetizer menu that features Seared Ahi Tuna, Sizzling Crab Cakes, and Calamari. For those who can't make up their mind, the chain's Chilled Seafood Tower offers a variety of marine morsels including lobster, crab, and shrimp. Moving to the main event, patrons can feast on entrees such as Garlic Crusted Sea Bass, Salmon Fillet, and Barbecue Shrimp. To complete the meal, there are also entree complements like shrimp, lobster tail, and lump crab meat.

The seafood selection at Texas Roadhouse is relatively modest, primarily consisting of classic American dishes that cater to more casual dining preferences. The sole seafood appetizer is grilled shrimp on toasted bread. For the main course, the restaurant serves grilled shrimp over rice, grilled Norwegian salmon, and fried catfish.

Texas Roadhouse Specializes In Margaritas

Texas Roadhouse sangria margarita
Texas Roadhouse sangria margarita - Facebook / Texas Roadhouse

While both Texas Roadhouse and Ruth's Chris serve a range of cocktails, Texas Roadhouse clearly distinguishes itself in the margarita department. Offering both traditional and more unique takes on the classic cocktail, the chain showcases a menu of several enticing margarita options. In contrast, Ruth's Chris offers just two signature margaritas.

At Texas Roadhouse, the classics truly shine with offerings like a House Rocks Margarita and House Frozen Margarita. Both are citrusy concoctions made with Dorado Gold Tequila, with one served on the rocks and the other slushy-style. For those in search of a bolder flavor, The Legend Margarita mixes three types of tequila and is uniquely garnished with black lava salt. For a fruity twist, Texas Roadhouse offers mango, strawberry, and raspberry margaritas. Meanwhile, the Sangria Margarita is an ideal choice for those preferring a gentler touch. Fans of these beverages can also take a piece of their Texas Roadhouse experience home with the Legendary Margarita Candle, infused with vibrant aromas of citrus and the chain's signature margarita sour.

Although Ruth's Chris may not have such an extensive margarita selection, its offerings stand out for their uniqueness. Fiery and refreshing, the chain's Spicy Margarita features Ghost Spicy Tequila Blanco and 21 Seeds Cucumber Jalapeño Tequila, as well as Cointreau, and Tres Agave Nectar. Meanwhile, the chain's Pear-Fect Margarita combines the smooth taste of Don Julio Blanco Tequila with Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur.

Ruth's Chris Steak House Has A More Impressive Wine List

wine served at Ruth's Chris
wine served at Ruth's Chris - Facebook / Ruth's Chris Steak House (Tulsa)

It's no secret that the richness of a perfectly cooked steak pairs superbly with a glass of wine. Vino also goes hand-in-hand with seafood and numerous other dishes. In fact, we can't think of a meal that wouldn't benefit from the right wine pairing. It's little surprise that restaurants that invest in a diverse and high-quality wine selection often see happy patrons. While both Ruth's Chris and Texas Roadhouse understand the gastronomic appeal of wine, Ruth's Chris features a far more extensive wine list than its steakhouse counterpart.

Classified as a fine dining restaurant, Ruth's Chris tailors its wine list to complement the food. This selection includes an array of premium wines from around the world, encompassing rare vintages and wines from leading and boutique vineyards. Many of the chain's wine offerings are available in six or nine-ounce servings, in addition to being offered by the bottle. In contrast, Texas Roadhouse takes a simpler approach, focusing on a handful of whites and reds that cater to a broader audience without overwhelming them with too many options.

Ruth's Chris Steak House Is Better Overall

Ruth's Chris Steak House exterior
Ruth's Chris Steak House exterior - Jhvephoto/Getty Images

When considering which restaurant is better overall, it's important to remember that both Ruth's Chris Steak House and Texas Roadhouse offer very different experiences. With a focus on fine dining, Ruth's Chris boasts an elegant atmosphere and meticulously crafted menu designed to cater to those seeking a high-end affair. On the flip side, Texas Roadhouse is more laid back. The chain offers a low-key, fun environment and hearty American-style fare that suits casual get-togethers.

Choosing between dining at Ruth's Chris or Texas Roadhouse comes down to personal preference. Nonetheless, we believe that Ruth's Chris takes the lead. The restaurant sets itself apart with its sophisticated ambiance, premium ingredients, and superior cooking techniques. Furthermore, Ruth's Chris offers a menu that's more inventive and varied than what is served at Texas Roadhouse. Last but certainly not least, the wine selection at Ruth's Chris is particularly impressive, catering to even the most discerning palates.


steak on a wooden board
steak on a wooden board - Gmvozd/Getty Images

Our quest to compare Ruth's Chris Steak House and Texas Roadhouse took a multifaceted approach. Given that both establishments are renowned steakhouses, our initial focus was on the quality and preparation techniques of the steaks. However, our evaluation extended well beyond this.

We carefully considered the ambiance and decor of each restaurant, as the dining environment can have a significant influence on the overall experience. Additionally, we also explored each chain's menu, paying careful attention to diversity and creativity. Finally, we took a deep dive into online reviews, since at the end of the day, customer feedback counts the most.

Read the original article on Mashed