Sister restaurant to “Gotham’s”, the city’s oldest steak house, and voted the number one place for steak by Vancouver magazine”. All that makes “Hy’s” worth visiting, as the perfect destination for a fancy girl’s night out. You would hardly notice the entrance of this upscale dining establishment. A heavy door against a stone building. Though the presence of the valet waiting by the curb helped. He helped with the opening of our car’s door, then followed through by leading my guest and I indoors.
We were early for our 9pm reservations, the only time we could get a table reserved on a Saturday night. We went in at 8pm hoping to be able to enjoy a drink or two in their lounge. Waking in we were greeted by the hostess who took our coats in exchange for a numbered ticket. We choose a seat from one of the four empty double recliner tables. Both the table and the chairs were equally low. The kind of seating you could imagine lounging in while you nurse a strong drink on the rocks. It was a 10 minute wait before the bartender finally approached us with coasters and a query for drinks. The coasters were embroidered napkins, marked with a lower case “h” in cursive at the corner.
Wanting to order a bottle we requested the wine menu. It came as a page from their website pulled up on their in house tablet. In the end we took the sommelier’s recommendation on a blended wine. We asked for a bottle with a $70 cap, and after a wait and a peak into the heavily stocked wine cabinets behind us he presented us with the perfect bottle for $45.
The “Wente” Sandstone merlot 2010 was suggested as our perfect pairing with our red meat. With flavous of blackberry, cherry, plum, and hints of roasted oak. My guest was given a taste before he settled the cork on the table and pour us each a glass. Merlots are usually muskier and dirtier tasting. This however was palatable. The sommelier did a good job choosing. When we ordered another bottle, I was disappointed to not have our current greasy and used glasses changed out to match the freshness of the new bottle.
When the time came and our table was ready, we were lead through a brick walled tunnel into their dining room and wine cellar. Here we were seated at a very private booth, just before the ramp that lead down to the entrance of a very smokey kitchen. The booth came with red pleather seats, and a heavy table dressed in a white cloths. The chairs were upholstered in red velvet. With the head seat marked with their trademark “h” on its back. Looking around the decor wasn’t flashy, a set up that made you feel regal, with staff that left you feeling pampered. Patterned carpet and oil canvas paintings. We guessed the portraits were of presidents or at least members of parliament. The touches of Christmas came in garlands, strung up lights, and red and yellow babbles. This place gave off an old school traditional feel. Cigars and whiskey. Truly reminiscent of the oldest steak house in Vancouver.
The head servers were dressed in white coats and black ties with matching aprons. The runners wore the more simpler, white dress shirts. They looked like doctors, with their lab coats embroidered with the restaurant’s logo on its back. They were hired for their ability to provide their patrons with exceptional service. And you certainly felt it through their patience and calm speech. We stayed until we were the second last table remaining. And not once were we told to of an impending closing time.
We were given complimentary garlic toast to start off our meal. Though in reality it came after our crab appetizer did. My guest didn’t know how she felt about the use of tin foil at a fine dining establishment. I agreed that the presentation could have been a lot more dressed up. It was delicious, but take a bite, and oil dripped out the sides of your lips. Though it is hard to beat the indulgence of warm and soft bread coated in melted butter.
“Dungeness crab cakes” with house made coleslaw. At $18.95 I was a little taken a back that it was just one cake. Though in hindsight we should have clued in when we ordered the “crab cakes” and our server corrected it to “cake”. It was definitely delicious enough. You could tell this was made only with real crab and an assortment of fresh ingredients. Within bites we make out larger pieces of crab. The process of making this was probable hand cut, hand peeled, and home made. Though as good as it tasted we still wanted to have two per order. At $10 each, we would have seen more value in the order. I also expected more than its simple presentation provided.
The “Prawn cocktail” came with a house made cocktail sauce. At $17.95 this too left us feeling like things were a little lacking. I appreciated their larger than usual size and their shelled and chilled nature. The prawns had a sweetness complimented by the tartness of the tomato based cocktail sauce.
We shared their “Bone-in rib steak” at 16oz for $47.95. And as we had at “Gotham’s”. we requested the English cut. English cut is when they cut your steak up into manageable pieces. Each strip was cut with the grain, exposing the perfectly pink medium rare centre. We enjoyed the marbling of the meat and the tenderness that the fat brought out.We deemed our steak as good as the one we had at sister restaurant, “Gotham’s”.
Each steak came with your choice of potatoes, done one of four ways. Neither of which is mentioned on the menu, so we were delighted to be given the option by our server. We selected the twice baked potato, rather than the once baked, panfried or French fried. Our potato came on the plate with the steak. It was boiled, scooped out of its skin, mashed and whipped with butter, then scooped back into its casing before it is baked golden in the oven. Our twice baked potato was dressed at our table, right in front of us. Here we were able to pick and choose what we wanted our side topped with and with how much. Though our server was already generous with the butter, sour cream, green onion, and bacon bits. If you are going to do it, do it big. I loaded this spud with all that I could.
After being disappointed with the dessert offerings we passed on some after dinner sweetness and opted for more wine. The desserts were the likes of cheese cake and chocolate cake. Nothing we couldn’t get elsewhere.
I always wonder why at places like these, with prices like these, would families bring their children here for dinner. I wonder how much their children appreciate this fine meal over a “McDonald’s” happy meal. At least at “McDonald’s” your food comes with a toy and a smile on its box.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – No.
The food was good, the were staff pleasant, and the decor was decent; but I felt the prices were steeper than expected or advertised. This was especially the case with the appetizers. We had a good time and wouldn’t mind coming back, but both my guest and I agreed that we had a more enjoyable dinner at “Gotham’s”. If you decide to visit hungry and dine until full, be sure to set aside the proper amount to accomplish this goal. Don’t deny your cravings.