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Now, full disclosure: I went through a break-up phase with Ruth's Chris a few years after the restaurant opened in Sarasota. The service and, quite frankly, the kitchen didn't reach the caliber of the company's other restaurants, and when you pay $40-plus for steak on a plate, you expect everything to be perfect.I am a true fan of a big steak. Call me "carnivore extreme." If my doctor let me, I would eat steak four nights a week. So I was really excited about my recent meal at Ruth's Chris

Let’s start with the chopped salad and shrimp cocktail. The shrimp--jumbo with a bright cocktail sauce--is a perfect classic steakhouse starter. The chopped salad with crispy onion slivers on top was seasoned perfectly and wonderfully fresh. And a tip: don't ask for dressing on the side. Let the chefs compose, and enjoy.Well, now it is. Thanks to a dynamic new team that has a defined focus, Ruth's Chris is back on top. Three visits in the last six months have all been above and beyond in both food and hospitality.

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Now for those big steaks. My tomahawk rib eye was seared at high-heat, then served on a butter-laden, sizzling plate. I picked up my knife and went for it; apologies to my dinner companions, as I didn't look up while taking down this meal. 

Next up: an ahi tuna steak, as high quality as Nobu would use, seared simply to a perfect medium rare and served with fresh, stir-fried vegetables. It's a wonderful option for the carnivores or non-carnivores. 

As if my cholesterol were not top heavy enough by now, we  also opted for the sweet potato casserole and the lobster mac and cheese. Both were sinfully delicious, and easily shared between three people. Add a glass of Duckhorn merlot and the experience is just darn perfect. 

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And yes, there is dessert in this story, too. While I didn't love the banana cream pie, the fresh, seasonal berries with sweet cream were delicious, and the white chocolate bread pudding is a perennial favorite. Oh, and there is an exceptional chocolate martini as well. 

The restaurant also has a great happy hour and several upcoming wine dinners, including an out-of-the-box vodka dinner (!), so get on its mailing list. In the meantime, welcome back, Ruth's Chris Sarasota.

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