Last night I took Sarah to Hy’s Steakhouse for dinner. Hy’s is an old boy’s steakhouse. Founded in 1956 by Hy Aisenstat in Calgary, Hy’s Encore (as it was call back then) open it first Vancouver steakhouse in 1960 at the Sands, located on Davie Street. In 1962, Hy’s moved to its current location at 637 Hornby Street, and has remained there ever since.
Hy’s was the place for Vancouver’s elite to do business. Stock traders, captains of industries, and lawyers would lunch at Hy’s while signing multi-million dollar deals. In the evening, they would return with their wives, or “niece”, for dinner. Political correctness and Hy’s don’t go hand-in-hand. During lunchtime, all the servers are female to give the dealmakers a lot of eye candy. At dinnertime, all the servers are male so the wives or girlfriends don’t get jealous. Hy’s is very discreet at night. The lights are turn very low to make sure no one sees you with someone you’re not suppose to be with.
Not much have changed at Hy’s in the last 40+ years. The lights are not as low as the last time I dined there, but the dinner staff is still all male, which Sarah really liked. Anyway, this is what we had.
Cheese Toast For Two
This is Hy’s signature appetizer – melted cheese on white bread. It’s super soft and really tasty. It’s also as fattening as it looks. I’m sure there’s like a thousand calories in that bread.
Dungeness Crab Cakes
As crab cakes goes, this one was OK. I’ve tasted much better at Gotham Steakhouse, which is also own by Hy’s. The lemon dill mayonnaise worked very nicely with the dish however.
This dish wasn’t at all what I was expecting. By far the worst Tuna Tartare I ever tried. The Tuna Tartare at Feenie’s blows this one away by a country mile.
12 oz Filet Mignon
This was Sarah’s steak, the Filet Mignon. When the steaks come out at Hy’s, it’s carefully orchestrated. One server will put the steak down at your table, another server will follow with the selection of toppings for the potato, and another server with a pepper grinder follows to ask if you want any pepper on the steak. Then five minute later, the original server who took your order will come to your table and ask, “How is everything? Are you happy?”
The Filet Mignon was tender and very tasty. However, it was too big. We should have just gone with the 8 oz.
14 oz New York Strip
I didn’t asked for it, but I think my New York Strip got a “Chicago” treatment. That’s when they char the steak with very high heat to lock in the juices. Personally, I don’t like a Chicago steak. I order the steak medium rare, but they overcooked it a bit. The steak wasn’t too bad, but I’ve tasted better steaks at the Keg, which is also own by Hy’s. The quality of the steaks at Hy’s is no higher than the ones served at the Keg. The main difference is the price – Hy’s is a lot more expensive.
It says on the menu that accompaniments like sautéed mushrooms are extra but a plate came with our meals at no charge. I’m not sure if that was a one night only deal or if this is the current practice. The mushrooms were good, much better than that overstuffed potato.
Hy’s Famous Cheesecake
I wanted to try a different dessert by Sarah wanted to try the cheesecake because it’s Hy’s signature dessert. Sarah liked it but I didn’t care too much for it.
Dinner at Hy’s Steakhouse came to $150 with tip. Hy’s is position between the Keg Steakhouse at the low end and Gotham Steakhouse at the high end. However, the pricing puts it almost at Gotham level. Given the choice, Gotham wins hands down. Hy’s and Gotham are aimed at different groups. Gotham goes after the young money who want to see and been seen. Hy’s attracts old money and is much more discreet.
If you want get a taste of the food quality at Hy’s without spending $150, then just dine at the Keg. You won’t get to experience the same level of service or the power broker feel the room gives off, but you’re save quite a bit of money. I think it will be while before I go back to Hy’s Steakhouse. And if I do, it will be for lunch.
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