I think Ruth's Chris or a similar restaurant could do very well in London. Heck, I'd love to see a restaurant of that sort in other parts of England, too - my city doesn't have any good steakhouses. Unfortunately, given that even the most pedestrian food in Britain seems to be priced at twice the American equivalent, I'm afraid a dinner at a British Ruth's Chris would probably be a very expensive proposition.
I've been ranting about overly-loud music in restaurants for ages. What's worse, I get the impression that volume levels have risen dramatically in the last year or two, especially in nightclubs and bars (and no, it's not because I'm becoming an old duffer!). As far as I'm concerned, the music in a restaurant should be no louder than is absolutely necessary to create an unobtrusive background into which the conversations of others blend.
A friend of mine owns a Japanese teppan-yaki place; it's a great restaurant, but he only plays one or two tapes (they're not even CDs!). I'm just amazed that I haven't learned Japanese yet...I certainly know all the chord changes to the songs he plays....
Even more annoying was the Mexican place I used to go from time to time on Cold Spring Lane in Baltimore (anyone know the place I'm talking about?) where the only background music was the greatest hits of the Gypsy Kings. Day in, day out - whenever I went, you'd get the same music, and always a bit too loud for comfort. Is it any wonder that I can't stand the Gypsy Kings anymore?
It's not just in restaurants, though - recently, on a weekend visit to London, as a friend and I were walking down the high street of a prosperous neighbourhood, we passed a store of The Gap. My friend had heard that some of their new clothing was interesting, so we stopped in. What did I find? Nondescript shop assistants folding the bland clothing which the boring customers hadn't bought. That, and some Really Cool, Very Happening hip-hop-esque music being blared throughout the shop. So the salespeople were sorta bopping along while the shoppers swaggered around the shop Puff-Daddy-style (or P. Diddy, or Pimp Dumbly, or whatever he's calling himself). I found myself wondering a few minutes later: What would happen were one to turn off the piped-in attitude-music? I don't think it would take a behavioural psychologist to figure it out.
And don't get me started on noise pollution from branches of record stores which have open street fronts (HMV, Virgin etc.) - or inane ditties at Christmastime. Is it possible that I'm the only person in the United Kingdom who's not sick of hearing the same medley of overplayed 'hits' for two months every year in every store and restaurant?
I think I'll invest in hearing-aid and cochlear-implant companies. Another 30 or 40 years, and I'll be able to buy as many minute repeaters as I like - the rest of the population will be too deaf to hear 'em!