Where: 3815 State Street, 805-563-5674, ruthschris.com/Steak-House/17062/Santa-Barbara
What: Sophisticated, spendy steakhouse; part of national chain
How much? If you have to ask, you can’t afford to go: steaks average about $40, everything is a la carte
The dish: The interior is welcoming and enveloping and will completely make you forget you’re in Santa Barbara, let alone a mall – it’s big city chic, big beef style. Indeed, there are 114 locations serving Ruth Fertel’s signature steak (she bought the Chris Steak House in New Orleans in 1965, hence the name and Cajun-leanings) and it’s said that while only 2 percent of all beef is grade USDA prime, Ruth’s Chris serves half of that. That high quality steak gets sizzled the way you like it in an oven at 1800 degrees, so it will be luscious. When in doubt, go for the T-bone or Cowboy as the bone adds even more flavor. Add on a host of the usual steakhouse starters and sides, from a chopped salad to creamed spinach, and you’ll be well-fed. This location features Santa Barbara county wines, so uncork that fine Pinot Noir with your steak and pray you’re on expense account.