Ruth's Chris Steak House Vs Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse: Which Is Better?

So many things can go wrong when cooking steak. It's possible you've abandoned the YouTube tutorials on grilling the perfect ribeye, and, shrugging in defeat, ponied up the reserve to book a table at a professional steakhouse. Because the chophouse, at its best, is a paradise of pleasures, showcasing high-end delicacies served in immaculate settings. Two chains we find dominating any discussion are Ruth's Chris Steak House and Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse. These carnivorous havens are some of the industry's most notorious, centering the lavish side of life with polished dining rooms and excellent beef slabs poised to melt your brain if they don't melt in your mouth first. 

But unless you've frequented them yourself, or restaurants of a similar persuasion, you might be wondering whether there's one establishment that outflanks the other. Granted that your wallet will be emptier either way you cut it, there's still something to be said for gauging all possibilities on the table. We've dissected each establishment on an array of factors relating to cuisine and ambiance in the hopes of uncovering which one is better overall. Whether you agree or disagree, you'll still want to see our findings. 

Del Frisco's locations offer a unique experience

Chophouses cultivate a grandiose atmosphere, in part, to ready visitors for the high-caliber meats on the way. Commanding a mood in its 150-plus dining rooms isn't a problem for Ruth's Chris. But it's safe to say visiting Del Frisco's will knock your socks off before you've even tried the food. The mahogany-heavy interiors and tableaux of wine bottles decorating the walls are breathtaking, and the chophouse scouts out some immense real estate to showcase its cuisine. 

Certainly, the facilities themselves are fancy, but what gives Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse its allure is embracing local landmarks with intriguing history. At the Philadelphia outpost, customers will encounter the illustrious architecture left behind by the city's First Pennsylvania Bank, while Texans in Fort Worth can dine in the same space where cowboys and outlaws once congregated. 

Receiving a history lesson in addition to a world-class meal? That's cool beyond a doubt. On top of that, the regional flair lends some character to the environment, which poses an excellent complement to the out-of-this-world cuisine. 

Both serve prime chops

Prime beef is of unparalleled quality. Only a small sliver of the industry's yield even qualifies to earn this classification, so when a chophouse touts the capital-P label, diners know they're in for a cut that's consistently moist and robustly marbled. And when this is one of your priorities when hitting the chophouse, Ruth's Chris Steak House and Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse alike meet this high standard. 

Of course, Ruth's Chris is famous for broiling its beef at a sweltering 1,800-degree-Fahrenheit heat, and this technique is responsible for browning its prime meats to melt-in-your-mouth perfection. Notable options for the classy carnivore include the Porterhouse for Two that delivers over 2 pounds of savory tenderloin, but the bone-in ribeye and New York strip are equally hearty and juicy. At Del Frisco's, the prime chops encompass the entirety of its red meat. This includes a handful of ribeyes, plus strips, and a sophisticated Tomahawk.

With both restaurants prioritizing the nicer end of protein, diners are promised a flavorful and memorable meal no matter what name is posted on the sign. There is a small caveat to keep in mind, which is that Del Frisco's sole offerings are premium, whereas a handful of choice options are listed among Ruth's Chris fancier selections. 

Del Frisco's has more appetizers

Even while gorging yourself silly on the finest beef around, you'll still want an appetizer or two to activate the taste buds ahead of the main meal. Neither establishment is shabby on light noshes consisting of the usual surf-and-turf persuasion. Yet in terms of quantity and variety, we found one chophouse dominated overall. There's an art to crafting a memorable starter, and restaurant-goers who desire a bit of complexity and gastronomical flair will want to choose Del Frisco's over Ruth's Chris. 

To start, Ruth's Chris offers 10 appetizers on its menu, and with the exception of the Veal Osso Buco Ravioli, every option incorporates some type of seafood. On the other hand, Del Frisco's hawks nearly double the selection and categorizes its starters by temperature. Into the raw bar experience? Look to the chilled section for staples encompassing Tuna Tartare served with umami-suffused flourishes or top-rate caviar spread on toasted French blini rounds. The hot appetizers, naturally, emphasize approachable bar bites — think Wagyu meatballs or Cajun-inspired crab cakes — but the centerpiece, as noted by Gayot, a trusted guide to dining establishments, remains the Thick-Cut Nueske's Bacon, a mighty slab of sizzled pork that's coated in pepper and boasts a decadent bourbon-y glaze. 

Both steakhouses offer a lot of side dishes

Lusciously seared steaks are the primary selling point to visiting Ruth's Chris or Del Frisco's. That much is clear. Yet there's no doubting any chophouse dinner without tasty side dishes would be sorely lacking. Both establishments tout some strong pairings that succeed in cutting through the red meat. Technically speaking, Ruth's menu slightly edges out Del Frisco's by just two extra choices, but visitors can comfortably partake in a plethora of options, served in a la carte portions for sharing table-side. 

There's plenty of overlap between the menus, which means customers can comfortably venture to either steakhouse and leave happily fed. There are the usual contenders like fluffy spuds, roasted vegetables, and cheesy macaroni made with lobster meat. To that point, it's also the case that each eatery will have a different approach in crafting its specialties. The sides at Del Frisco's veer on the swanky, experimental side — see the creamed corn spiced with shishito peppers or a truffle-y double-baked potato — while Ruth's Chris embraces homey recipes crafted with noticeable French flourishes, such as au gratin potatoes and asparagus spears with sumptuous hollandaise. 

Del Frisco's carries more specialty cuts

One reason Del Frisco's is so expensive? Besides grade-A beef, that is. The establishment has a penchant for sourcing cuts that are oh-so-special. Ruth's Chris sources its steaks from the Midwest and exclusively wet-ages them for the grill. This is a far cry from Del Frisco's, which stocks its restaurants not just with prime beef, but also with imports requiring a bit more expertise to prepare accurately. The menu lists dry-aged selections fermented for 45 days, along with highly coveted slabs of Kobe and Japanese A5 Wagyu that offer top-notch tasting thanks to the rich marbling and texture. 

Brian Christman, an executive chef for the restaurant group, told The San Diego Union-Tribune the establishment carries "the best cuts of beef, lamb and best fish you can buy anywhere on the planet." The hefty price tag of its succulent specialties undoubtedly backs this up. A 6-ounce portion of Kobe currently costs $240, with the rest of the range topping $100. Some of the specialty chops are imported, lending an international flavor to the proceedings. 

Ruth's Chris caters to broader dietary needs

A carnivore's paradise, steakhouses deal in the fatty, marrow-laden flesh of livestock. It's notable one such temple to broiled bovine happily caters to the dietary needs that the average steakhouse often ignores altogether, and that's Ruth's Chris. Unlike its competitor, the brand has developed a robust selection of entrées, sides, and desserts that appeal to a wider spectrum of eaters. 

It's a stereotype at this point: One person is forced to cobble together some leafy greens while the rest of the table mates indulge in the spoils of the carving block. But to date, Ruth's Chris has items that most people can eat — and enjoy. There are expertly crafted dishes for vegetarians and for gluten-free and keto lifestyles as well as a brochure called "Lighter Recommendations" that boasts meals below 750 calories.

In general, a good number of items are ready to eat as is, or can be with the proper tweaks, which are spelled out on extra menus for specialty diets. Take Ruth's Chris Chopped Salad, for instance. Those abiding by the keto diet are told to remove the croutons and crispy fried onions, but if you're seeking to make the salad meatless, the chain will instruct you to skip on the bacon bits instead.

Guests will find more seafood at Del Frisco's

The yin to red meat's yang, seafood is a major element in the fine dining sphere. Neither Ruth's Chris Steak House nor Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse lacks in the aquatic category, but we've observed the latter to be superior in its scope. We weren't able to get a proper reading on the supplier for Ruth's Chris, but for Del Frisco's, Seafood Source has reported in the past that the restaurant obtained its wares from Foley Fish, an operation out of New England netting and shipping every catch to the establishment directly. 

There are raw bar staples such as Tuna Sashimi and oysters, not to mention an illustrious seafood tower bursting with the goods. But delivering on exceptional main courses centering the fish is what puts Del Frisco's on a higher plane. Whereas Ruth's Chris slings a couple of standalone entrees, most of the seafood dishes appear as appetizers — your shrimp cocktails, your crab cakes, etc. This isn't the case for Del Frisco's, which boasts an expansive array of intriguing fishy mains alongside its happy hour fare. Partake in pan-seared scallops sizzling with hints of citrus, or awaken the taste buds with a garlicky Chilean sea bass, grilled and glorious. 

Prix fixe dining is offered at Ruth's Chris

Savoring an incredible steak is irresistible once in a blue moon, but not as an everyday expense (unless, of course, your boss is paying for it). So when available, taking up a prix fixe (fixed price) menu is common sense. The format consists of smaller entrées served at a reduced charge, which still provides the pleasure of sampling everything your heart desires, but without straining your wallet in the process. Unsurprisingly, it's reaped impressive profits for Ruth's Chris in the past, per Nation's Restaurant News, and more to the point, the menu has stuck around regularly. 

Though the entrée you select will dictate your check, rest assured that opting for this bundle of sorts will be lighter on the bank account. Everyone knows how quickly a single strip with truffle fries and broccoli can add up when purchased separately. When going the fixed price route, customers can snag an entire feast — the appetizer, main course, side, and dessert — for half of the cost of a traditional chophouse spread. The choices are fairly nice, too. Try a buttery salmon filet or combo plate with shrimp and beef, and pair it with the iconic creamed spinach or seasoned broccoli. 

Ruth's Chris pours more cocktails

Bubbly and aromatic, mixed drinks bring a celebratory feel to any sit-down affair. If you're not much of a wine person, you might prefer nursing a Manhattan or mule when raising your glass for a toast. So which chain will be better for grabbing a cocktail? Del Frisco's has no shortage of classy beverages (one that's commonly recommended is The VIP), but we have to hand it to Ruth's Chris for its extensive range. 

Simply put, the chophouse showcases a massive selection of fizzy drinks, and it's typical for the lists to be dependent on location. Off of the "Specialty Cocktails" in Columbia, South Carolina, you'll see inventive sips that embrace a sense of adventurousness while sticking to the staples that have endured at steakhouses for time immemorial. For a twist on the minty mojito, the chain juices up its creation with blueberry and refreshing ginger ale, while the down-home punch of a Georgia Peach Tea treats the Southern sipper with a splash of deep eddy peach vodka. Don't forget to check out aperitifs prior to your meal or try a liquid dessert such as the Chocolate Espresso Martini. 

There are more wine choices at Del Frisco's

Liquor-based beverages might be Ruth's Chris Steak House's domain, but if a world-class merlot or chardonnay sings to your lips, you'll be content booking your table at Del Frisco's. The chain has a thing for fine wines, maintaining a massive cellar that touts an impressive global range. Consider that Wine Spectator magazine's Best of Award of Excellence, a highly coveted achievement recognizing breadth and depth of wines along with superior presentation, has been bestowed on over a dozen of Del Frisco's establishments over the years. That level of expertise can't be matched easily, let alone the staggering supply that beats what most chains offer.

Restaurants have been known to harbor as many as 2,000 bottles at a time, but opting for a glass narrows the pool to around 45 choices. Represented in this vast arsenal are varieties from France, Italy, and New Zealand, but American pours, specifically from the lush Pacific Northwest, are also showcased. Sample Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley, an Italian Pino Grigio, or a Shiraz from Australia's Barossa Valley. Restaurant locations are given the liberty of curating their selections, so sitting in Los Angeles or Boston's Back Bay might entail a different rotation during your stay. And hey, isn't that what makes us love wining and dining so much? 

Both are known for signature desserts

Assuming you're not stuffed by the salty, marrow-entrenched experience, wrapping things up with dessert is a given. And regardless of whether you pull the trigger on Ruth's Chris or Del Frisco's, it's safe to say you'll be in good hands either way. Decadent tarts, feather-light layer cakes, and more are available between the two, with their respective kitchens crafting a number of creations on site. This is good news, especially for visitors who've already blown enough money on dinner to question whether an additional $20 is worth it for dessert (yes, it is).

Del Frisco's Warm Butter Cake is a harmonious confection that's stirred intense longing among fans. Forging butterscotch-y flavors with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream, the stunning sweet prompted one customer to call it a "must have." No stranger to signature sweets either, Ruth's Chris is prized for its Creme Brûlée and its Bread Pudding. With the latter, the custard-like base is filled with raisins and vanilla, but Jack Daniel's whiskey sauce infuses every bite with smoky resplendence. When assigning a glowing five stars to the confection, one visitor took to expressing their adoration of the treat, raving, "I hope they never discontinue this most delicious dessert!"

Ruth's Chris is better geared toward families

Parties with tots in tow won't need to hesitate contacting Ruth's Chris for a table. The chain is quite transparent on its kid-friendly appeal. Proclaiming in a blog post that "kids enjoy eating here, too!" the chain promotes a substantial children's menu, which contains an assortment of miniature crowd-pleasers for diners under 12. This varies from grilled fish to more predictable choices like cheeseburgers and grilled cheese. Not fine dining, but excellent for small palates. 

On the contrary, the same can't be said for Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse. The opulence of its dining rooms, never mind the lavish menu and rigid dress code, signal an adult-oriented vibe that deviates from the former's. Perhaps there isn't a "No Kids Allowed" sign at the entrance per se, but it sounds like Del Frisco's ambiance is very high-brow, and thus less suitable for the little ones. On Tripadvisor, a user inquired about the steakhouse's food options for kids, and the responses seemed to prove this point. "This would not be my choice of a restaurant to go to with young children," replied one commenter, who was joined by others in confirming the place wouldn't be ideal for kids to tag along. 

Which chain is better?

One could make a case for either establishment. When it comes to a splurge-worthy feast, Ruth's Chris Steak House and Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse are definitely consistent options, delivering some mouthwatering cuisine in comfortably posh environments. At the same time, it's possible one of these chains could claim the upper hand, given that when customers step inside a steakhouse, they expect to be floored, bamboozled, even utterly in awe by the experience from start to finish.

For that, Del Frisco's reigns supreme. We think visiting a chophouse should be extravagant, and this chain makes the grade in nailing the fine dining feel. The beef and seafood are absolutely top-tier. The seafood, something Ruth's Chris is also good at, was shown to possess a fresher quality, and the abundant wines outshine the former's in just about every way. It will definitely take some effort on behalf of the diner to reach one of Del Frisco's locations — only 17 cities across the country are lucky to have one, so it's very exclusive. But for a meal that'll stick with you, it's worth the (potentially) far distance. 

Our metholodgy

Personal taste can increasingly color the perception one has toward steakhouses, especially high-end chains. Our methodology entailed intensive analysis into the quality of Ruth's Chris and Del Frisco's beef, with attention given to cuts classified Prime by the USDA. We also examined each chain by physical space and prioritized the key factors associated with a classic steakhouse outing, such as wine, cocktails, and desserts. What mattered most was uncovering the chain with the most top-tier experience, so footprint took less of a priority compared with the above aspects.