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It's T(-bone) minus 13 days at the new Ruth's Chris Steak House in the Silver Legacy.

The restaurant, soon to be the flagship room at the downtown Reno property, opens Dec. 3. Dinner reservations are being taken on the website.

The debut completes a process that began when executives from Eldorado Resorts Inc., parent of company of the Legacy, started eating at Ruth's Chris Steak Houses as they visited the company's gaming properties across the country.

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RUTH'S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

Address: In Silver Legacy Resort Casino, 407 N. Virginia St.

Phone: 775-325-7573

Hours: Lounge happy hour, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Dinner, 5 to 9:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

On the web:Here's the beef

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"The corporate team would go from city to city, and they found the product to be consistent," said Rob Stone, vice present of food and beverage for the Row, the trio of downtown casinos owned by Eldorado Resorts.

"That piqued their interest as far as that brand. Having a brand that you know, that can draw convention business, that can draw local business, that's recognizable."

On Nov. 19, a full two weeks before opening, @RGJTaste received an exclusive tour of Ruth's Chris as the interior was coming together and staff training was underway and Ruth's Chris executives were on the ground.

Local landmarks

Ruth's Chris replaces Sterling's Seafood Steakhouse, the Legacy's top dining room since the property opened in 1995.

Beginning the first week of September, the restaurant underwent a down-to-the-studs renovation, emerging with about 7,300 square feet that incorporates the old footprint and what was once a Mexican spot next door. The restaurant seats about 250.

In back at Ruth's Chris, there's an entirely new kitchen, including three broilers (with one set aside for happy hour).

Out front, there's a capacious bar and lounge, the main dining room, and a private dining room (dubbed the Biggest Little Banquet Room) that opens off the main room. 

Cubes and polyhedrons enclosing starbust fixtures illuminate the bar and dining room. The fixtures, Stone said, pay homage to the spiky star atop the Reno Arch, while the silver and blue carpets celebrate the colors of the University of Nevada.

Throughout, images of Western Nevada — mines, the Reno Rodeo, Mount Rose and Slide Mountain, trains, a wind farm outside Tonopah — populate the walls. The decor of newer Ruth's Chris restaurants "take on the characteristics of their city," Stone said.

"That's what they captured here."

Familiar faces

The new restaurant is serving Ruth's Chris standard menu of steaks and chops (most USDA Prime Grade), seafood (including a chilled shellfish tower spiked with sriracha-lime sauce), soups and salads, and sides like classic creamed spinach or a snarl of crisp shoestring fries.

The craft cocktail list runs to more than a dozen pours, including a blackberry sidecar and bourbon-Cognac sazerac.

The wine list, though partly determined by Ruth's Chris corporate, will also offer wines from Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery of Sonoma County, the house founded by Don Carano, the late Eldorado Resorts patriarch, and his wife Rhonda, who runs the winery today.

Richard LaCounte, a longtime Reno chef, will helm the kitchen. Gary Steininger, the former general manager of Sterling's, reprises his role at Ruth's.

The restaurant is hiring about 85 people, Stone said, and "a third of the front of the house will be familiar faces from Sterling's." (Or other Reno spots, like leading local mixologist Ilona Martinez, who will be keeping bar.)

Signature sizzle

Some folks will recall that about a decade ago, Reno food buzz had it that Ruth's Chris was looking at ground floor space in the newly built Montage condominium downtown. And then the Great Recession happened.

A decade later, an image of Ruth Fertel, the divorced single mother who founded the company, hangs at the entrance to the Reno steak house (as it does in all Ruth's Chris restaurants). 

The chain began when Fertel bought Chris Steak House in New Orleans in 1965. The purchase agreement prevented her from using the name elsewhere, so when the restaurant moved and expanded in 1976 after a fire, Fertel named it Ruth's Chris Steak House to maintain some continuity

"I've always hated the name," she once told Fortune, "but we've always managed to work around it.

Today, Ruth's Chris plates sizzle at a signature 500 F in more than 150 restaurants around the world. Reno is the latest.

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Johnathan L. Wright is the food and drink editor of RGJ Media, part of the USA Today Network. Join @RGJTaste on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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