A long set of stairs leads you to the front entrance where you must demonstrate your strength to open the colossal, heavy wooden doors of Hy’s. While it is not a palace (though Hy’s logo is a shield resembling a coat of arms) it is quite the institution.
Having opened originally on Richmond Street in 1974, the famed steakhouse has been in its Adelaide location, which was Laurentian Bank’s former home, since 1999. The original bank vault is now a walk-in fridge.
With a mezzanine level, in addition to the lounge, the Richmond Room and the Garden Room, Hy’s exudes an aura of grandeur without compromising on intimacy. The mahogany wood gives it an almost Titanic-like feel.
Regulars all have their favourite tables, and if you’re really lucky, Jimmy, one of Hy’s longest-standing staff members of 40 years, will serve you. He can be found in the Richmond Room (also dubbed Jimmy’s Room) on most nights and most loyal customers know him by name. The most popular room at Hy’s is the Garden Room, which overlooks a minty landscape where you will find their signature garden gnome as well as freshly grown mint used in the cocktails at Hy’s.
Table 301 is definitely the “best” table in the house, and you will know exactly which table that is once you walk by it. Think of the iconic Jack Astor’s Elvis booth minus the tackiness and a full frontal view of the wine rack.
For those who want to get in on the action, the lump charcoal grill, which serves as the focal point of the main dining room, is where you’ll catch the chef piling on slabs of Hy’s signature dry aged steaks and searing them at 1,500 degrees to a charred perfection.
They’ve recently revamped the menu; I’m told it’s been 10 years since the last change. Steak connoisseurs will be pleased to know that only the best Canadian prime beef is served at Hy’s.
The new menu is a compilation of old Hy’s classics, like the Steak Diane, a filet of beef tenderloin flambéed tableside with brandy and topped with Dijon mustard and fresh mushrooms. It’s just one of many dishes that are served tableside, and many guests are tempted by the wafting aromas to order it. Who’d have known that you could have a dinner and a show without leaving your seat?
While Hy’s has built its reputation for its beefy offerings, diners can also delight in lighter fare, such as the Ahi tuna tartare mixed with ginger and ponzu and served with taro chips and edamame. The dish was inspired by the popularity of Hy’s steak tartare for those wanting to save their stomach for the main course.
Popular lunch offerings, which err on the lighter side of things, include their seared jumbo scallops served in a passion fruit beurre blanc, or the duck confit salad with quail eggs and poached pear.
For a more casual endeavor, you should opt to sit in the lounge while sipping on a classic Old Fashioned. It is the standard measure of a good bar; sort of like spaghetti is the standard of measure for an Italian restaurant.
For a romantic night out, it’s also important to note that from Wednesday to Saturday nights from 7pm onwards there is a rotating line-up of live music from instrumental guitar to jazz piano.
What are some of your favourites at Hy’s? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.