Ruth’s Chris Celebrates the American Craft Cocktail
It was a perfect late-summer night to stroll through downtown Boston and breathe in the crisp but still warm air and walk off a few calories before digging into Ruth's Chris's five course Hand-Crafted Cocktail Dinner to celebrate the American Cocktail. This Ruth's Chris location falls in Boston's Downtown Crossing's old city hall building and its entrance welcomes you with beautifully string-lit trees which give just the right amount of privacy to its street-side patio. But enough about the great ambiance, let's get down to what's important here: the food and drinks.
Diageo sponsored this fab celebration of Ruth's Chris Steak House's New Orleans heritage - a heritage well known for its cocktail craftsmanship. Each course began with one of Diageo's local experts describing each beverage in detail. It was a nice change to sit for a meal at a relaxed pace while learning a fact or two about what we were about to imbibe in. In this day in age, it's safe to say that's a rarity for most of us. It was also nice to be thrown into a table with strangers to enjoy the experience together and meet new people who share a love for fine food and beverage. Ok, ok, onto the food and drinks.
The first course was a maple-bourbon-glazed jumbo shrimp with warm five bean salad. This was a very well put together course and a bigger portion than expected. The beverage pairing was a Seelbach: made-up of sparkling wine, Bulleit Bourbon, and Cointreau. The sparkling wine really enhanced the flavors of the dish (I know this may sound cliché, but it really, really did) and the bourbon added just the right amount of a slight spicy kick to the calmer flavors of the dish. This was really an excellent pairing as the drink enhanced just the right amount of additional flavor to each bite of the dish.
Next was a seared ahi tuna steak with slaw and a crispy rice cake. This was paired with a Moscow Mule. The Moscow Mule was made up of Ketel One Vodka, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, Ginger Ale, Fresh Lime Juice and a candied ginger garnish. Similar to how the bourbon stepped up the shrimp dish to another notch, this Moscow Mule did a similar favor to the tuna. The ginger added just the right amount of bite to the simple but perfectly cooked rare-to-medium-rare tuna steak. The candied ginger garnish acted as a starring role as opposed to the, still important but, supporting role a garnish usually takes on. The entire drink tasted strongly of candied ginger which brought a refreshing yet full flavored taste after each bite of the dish.
The third course was a slow roasted pork atop an arepa corn cake with avocado. This was interestingly paired with an Agave Bees Knees, which we learned is typically a gin drink, however, tequila was a better pairing for this particular dish. The slow roasted pork was a very upscale pulled pork which paired perfectly with the corn cake to add a bit of a crunch to the dish. Adding to the mix was the beverage, which was very, very sweet. Imagine Winnie the Pooh bear's honey pot topped with a float of tequila. The sweetness calmed down the spiciness of the pork, with perfection. While the beverage may have been too sweet to drink in its lonesome, it was the absolute perfect pairing bite for sip with this course.
This brings us to the fourth course: a sizzling filet mignon with crispy fried shallots and horseradish crème fraiche (with sides including creamed spinach and potato and tomato gratin) paired with a New Fashioned made up of Bulleit Rye Whiskey, Cherry Heering Liqueur, Fee Brothers Black Walnut & Orange Bitters, Orange Rind, and Italian Amarena Cherry. The New Fashioned stood up to the medium-rare cooked steak and accentuated the juiciness of the dish. This was a pairing where both the food and the beverage were very bold, but it worked in such a complimentary way.
...And then there was dessert! A chilled Vanilla Irish Coffee (dark roasted coffee, Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon Irish Cream and Cinnamon Whipped Cream) matched with a chocolate dipped cookie trio, seasonal berries and crème anglaise. This was a finale that did not disappoint and was a chocolate filled treat. While there may have been less science involved in this one, you can't go wrong with coffee, chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, cookies, and whiskey.
Like Sonny & Cher, Bonnie & Clyde, Thelma & Louise, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse & Diageo made quite a pairing. What a great homage and evening of celebration. See you all next year.