You'd think after a filling and somewhat similar meal at the Shore Club the night before, it wouldn't be a great idea to visit Hy's Encore. Think again. Just like the time I had Pho 3 times in one day or the month I had Subway everyday, I can handle monotony, especially if it is good food. Okay, the Subway thing was more out of desperation than anything else. In actuality, Hy's was my scheduled 2nd birthday dinner. Due to Chinese New Year, the meal got pushed all the way to the end of the month. I ain't complaining though... I didn't have to pay! Now, unlike my visit to Gotham, Black+Blue and most recently the Shore Club, we brought the kiddies with us. Considering that Hy's is not exactly a kid-friendly restaurant, this was somewhat of a daring adventure. No matter, put an iPad in front of them and it's all good. Now I must point out that despite appealing to a more mature clientele, the staff was more than accommodating.
So without a hope in the world of a kid's menu (apparently they do!) and a particular meat theme going on, what to order for the little ones? How about Hy's famous Cheese Toast? Oh yeah baby, how about for the whole table? For something that does not seem like a complicated food item, these sinful, buttery and cheesy toasts of joy absolutely rock. Every
artery-hardening bite made us want for more. Oh yeah, the kids couldn't get enough of it as well. Next up was the Dungeness Crab Cake with house-made coleslaw. This was a pretty good attempt with lots of leg meat and minimal filler. The outside was crisp and nicely browned while the inside was fluffy and naturally sweet and savoury. Loved the sweet red peppers which were sweet, yet didn't overpower the delicate crab. The lemon dill mayo on top was quite mild which, in my mind, was fine since I wanted to taste crab, not sauce. The side of coleslaw was refreshing and light being mostly tart.
While not the most exciting dish to talk about, we decided on the Prawn Cocktail with horseradish cocktail sauce because my mom loves prawns. Besides, she's not into tartare nor carpaccio anyways (too bad eh?). Well, as you can clearly see, the prawns were quite large and meaty. Pretty standard and not much to complain about really. On a side note, every time I have prawn cocktail, it reminds me of my first cruise in 1997. Viv and I ordered a tonne of these at dinner and ate prawns like there was no tomorrow. I think in subsequent cruises, we were smarter than that. However, there was that lobster tail eating contest on one cruise in 2002... Big German Guy bested my 9 with 11 lobster tails! I digress. Our last appie was the Oysters
Rockefeller, baked with spinach and Hollandaise sauce. For me, this version (which was considerably different from the original) were only okay. I found the sauce to be quite salty, even with a liberal dousing of lemon. The spinach was quite nice though, it was not mushy where it actually retained most of its colour and texture.
Onto the mains, I only had my eye on one thing - The 22oz Porterhouse! I requested it to be prepared medium-rare and it was more or less so. I say that because some parts were closer to medium. It was probably due to the 2 different cuts of meat in one steak, especially with a bone involved. Hence, the filet portion was more cooked than the strip. It wasn't a huge deal since the meat was fantastic. There was a good char on the outside and the strip was flavourful while the filet was super moist. My choice of starch was the twice-baked and stuffed potato which was a touch dry and mealy. I wasn't a huge fan of it, even with all the fixins'. Viv wanted something other than a steak and went for the Baby Back Ribs. By virtue of being a steakhouse, we weren't expecting much and the ribs pretty much exemplified a non-BBQ version. These were your typical par-boiled then grilled type finished off with a vinegary BBQ sauce. As such, the ribs in general were pretty dry and lacking in any depth-of-flavour. As mentioned, the sauce was not all that smoky and was more tart than anything else. Again, I will cut them some slack because ribs are not their specialty.
In the same vain, my dad had the Wild Salmon Filet with a lemon butter sauce. Hey, the reason he chose this dish was mostly for health reasons. He loves steak, but just not a lot of it. The piece of salmon was itself very good being naturally flavourful. I would've personally liked to see that it was cooked a touch less though. The sauce was nicely balanced where it wasn't overly rich nor too tart. On the other hand, my mom had the belief that you either go big or go home when visiting a steakhouse. So she went for the feature of the day, which was the Steak Medley consisting of one 3oz piece each of the filet, striploin, ribeye and one cut of lamb rack. Completing this carnivorous delight was a large king crab leg, veggies and baked potato. This meat monstrosity had multiple personalities though because all of the meats were cooked to varying degrees of doneness. The lamb was perfectly medium-rare as was the striploin. The filet was closer to medium while the rib steak was well done. Once again, I can understand why that would be, especially with the relatively small cuts of meat. However, when one is paying a pretty penny, the meat should come out perfect despite the challenges at hand. With all that being said, my mom still enjoyed her dish and I would have to concur since most of the meat was good except for the rib steak.
So what to get the kiddies for their main at a steakhouse? Why Aged Cheddar Mac 'n Cheese of course! To our pleasant surprise, this was very good. Due to the use of aged cheddar, there was a tasty sharpness to the sauce which was cheesy and creamy. We felt that it was rich without being overly heavy (if that makes sense). The noodles were soft while not being mushy and the crunchy top added a nice texture. Another side that was impressive was the Sauteed Mushrooms. This was a fairly large portion of perfectly cooked button mushrooms kissed by spicy seasoning. Normally, sauteed mushrooms are pretty standard when it comes to flavour with the usual garlic and butter. But this was a unique version which tickled our tastebuds.
We also got the Steamed Asparagus, but I didn't bother taking a picture of it. It was good though. Perfectly steamed and not over-salted. Lastly, we had the Creamed Corn and it was very good. The best part of it was the consistency of the cream which was not watery nor too thick. The corn was sweet and it was pleasant all-around. Now despite some execution issues surrounding the proteins, we still enjoyed our dinner at Hy's. Some might point out that with the price we paid, our expectations should be higher. That is true, but if you have never worked in a restaurant kitchen before, you can't possibly understand the variables at play. So we have to look at our meal as a whole, which was enjoyable due to some highlights to go with some issues as well.
- Professional service
- Meats were good despite some execution issues
- Unlike some other steakhouses, there are included sides (we added more sides though)
- Execution issues with the proteins