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Capital Grille vs. Ruth's Chris Steak House: 5 Major Differences

Not sure which upscale steakhouse chain to visit? Here's how these two popular options compare.
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Steakhouses are frequently associated with luxury for a reason. Between the extensive wine lists, high-quality beef options, and comforting side dishes, a lunch or dinner at one of these restaurants is often filled with indulgence.

For those seeking this kind of dining experience, there are various restaurants to consider, including the popular Capital Grille and Ruth's Chris Steak House. Both of these chains are now owned by Darden Restaurants, the Florida-based company behind popular casual-dining brands Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse. Darden acquired Ruth's Chris back in June.

Aside from their newly shared ownership, both steakhouse chains are considered upscale establishments and offer similar menu items. However, each chain has qualities and offerings that the other one doesn't, helping to deliver a distinctive restaurant experience. The next time you're looking to dine at a steakhouse, consider these five differences between Capital Grille and Ruth's Chris.

The restaurant footprint

ruth's chris steak house
Photo: The Image Party / Shutterstock

As with any restaurant, your location could impact which steakhouse chain you choose to visit. According to its website, Ruth's Chris currently operates 134 restaurants across the United States, with FSR Magazine noting that it has a larger presence in suburban and smaller markets. Meanwhile, Capital Grill lists 66 U.S. locations on its website, focusing on urban markets and major city centers.

Although both steakhouse chains have an international presence, too, Ruth's Chris is notably larger. The chain currently has 24 international locations, while Capital Grille only has two—one in Costa Rica and another in Mexico.

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The steaks

capital grille kona crusted new york strip with shallot butter and an espresso martini
The Capital Grille / Facebook

New York strip, ribeye, filet mignon: these are some of the popular steak cuts you'll find at both Capital Grille and Ruth's Chris. But despite these items being offered on both menus, there are some key differences in the chains' steak preparations. Specifically, Capital Grille highlights that it dry-ages its steak for 18 to 24 days before being hand-carved and grilled. While some of these steaks are made simply, others have additional flavorings, such as the Kona coffee-crusted, dry-aged bone-in New York strip and the porcini-rubbed bone-in ribeye with a 15-year aged balsamic.

Conversely, Ruth's Chris does not grill its steaks. Instead, the chain notes that it broils each cut of USDA Prime beef before serving it on a 500-degree plate. Guests can choose to elevate their steak by opting for an "entrée complement," such as a truffle or blue cheese crust. Or, they can order it "Oscar style," which includes a crab cake, asparagus, and béarnaise sauce.

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The main menu options

ruth's chris veal osso buco ravioli
Ruth's Chris

A meal at either of these chains can include multiple classic steakhouse dishes like shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, and lobster bisque. While both chains share multiple menu items, each one still offers dishes that are only served at its restaurants, with menus varying by location.

As previously mentioned, Capital Grille offers some creative steak options, such as the gorgonzola-crusted dry-aged New York strip with a cabernet reduction or the sliced filet mignon with cipollini onions, wild mushrooms, and fig essence. Other exclusive options include the roasted chicken breast with mushrooms and parmesan risotto and the seared salmon with avocado, mango, and tomato salad.

Meanwhile, some menu items you can only score at Ruth's Chris include the veal osso buco ravioli, mushrooms stuffed with crab meat, and garlic crusted sea bass.

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The kids menu options

steak and fries

Dining with children can sometimes be a challenge, making kids menus a lifesaver for many families. Keeping this in mind, Ruth's Chris advertises a children's menu on its website, which features a choice of an entrée, such as a four-ounce filet, roasted chicken, chef's broiled fish, or the chef's local selection. Then, there's a choice of a side dish like garlic mashed potatoes, french fries, or broccoli. And since no meal would be complete without a dessert, kids can end their dinner or lunch with a bowl of ice cream. As noted by the steakhouse chain, the children's menu selection can vary by location.

The Capital Grille, on the other hand, doesn't have a kids menu posted on its website. However, the chain does offer some kid-friendly options. Some of these include chicken tenders, buttered noodles, mac and cheese, and a burger.

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The prix fixe menu options

ruth's chris winter classics menu meal and red wine
Ruth's Chris Steak House / Facebook

A prix fixe menu can be an appealing option when dining out, since it's often less expensive than ordering à la carte. That being said, Ruth's Chris and Capital Grille each have their own fixed-price offerings which are both a little different from the other. Ruth's Chris currently offers a Prix Fixe Special Menu that includes a starter, an entrée, a personal side, and a dessert. The cost of this varies depending on the location, ranging from around $50 to $65.

At Capital Grill, customers at certain locations can order a "plate" for lunch. Priced at around $30, this option features a choice of the field greens salad, Caesar salad, or New England clam chowder, along with your choice of entrée among three options. These include seared salmon, roasted chicken breast, and sliced tenderloin steak frites.

Brianna Ruback
Brianna is a staff writer at Eat This, Not That! She attended Ithaca College, where she graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Communication Studies. Read more about Brianna