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Lots of sizzle found at the mall

Times Staff Writer

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the New Orleans-based chain, has just opened a location in Woodland Hills -- with decor said to be inspired by the 19th century designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Best known for his Glasgow tearooms, Mackintosh might be surprised to find himself posthumously collaborating on a shopping mall steakhouse.

On a Friday night, I can’t get a table. Not on Saturday either, until I practically beg to come after 9:30. Steak fanciers must be legion here, because the place seats 289. But I persist. I’m curious to see what it looks like.

It looks like this: Above the bar, a wood panel punctuated with square cutouts is reminiscent of Mackintosh’s furniture designs. The cavernous dining room features a gently curved wood wall. That’s it? Except for the somber Mackintosh-esque palette, I guess.

The place is not somber at all. Waiters with name tags rush about the room in a blizzard of service. Order a cocktail; it arrives with its shaker and is poured at the table. One person brings the wine; another decants it. Whether the wine needs it, it makes for a good show.

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The Ruth’s Chris in Beverly Hills is a successful chain steakhouse. What’s not to like about prime aged steaks, perfectly cooked and sizzling in butter? The kitchen here has some catching up to do. The steaks are swimming in butter, and two ordered medium rare arrive overcooked. A marinated veal chop is the star of the evening. Along with Maine lobster (pick out your guy from the tank up front), the restaurant offers Portabello “T-Bones.” This must be for vegetarians, though I can’t imagine any who would join a steak fest.

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Ruth’s Chris

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Steak House

Where: 6100 Topanga Canyon, Woodland Hills.

Contact: (818) 227-9505.

Cost: Appetizers, $5.25 to $17.95; steaks, $25.95 to $32.95.

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Hours: Open for dinner daily. Valet parking.


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