With our recent visit to Hy's and Black+Blue, a visit to another steakhouse might've seemed redundant. However, there were 2 things at play here. First of all, Viv and I were invited by the owner of Onyx Steakhouse & Lounge to try his restaurant out. Second, the place is located in Port Moody. Unlike most of the other steakhouses in town, Onyx is located in a suburb and a small one at that. Of course we are all familiar with the big boys in Downtown such as Gotham, Hy's, Black+Blue, Joe Fortes and Shore Club. And to a lesser degree, Chop and Carver's in Richmond. I'm not going to add The Keg into the mix because their price points are lower in comparison. On the topic of price points, Onyx is roughly $8.00 - $9.00 less than that of the Downtown steakhouses for the same cut of beef. However, it must be noted that Oynx uses 40-day aged Certified Black Angus Beef while Hy's and Gotham serve 28-day aged Canadian Prime Beef. Typically, Canadian Prime has more marbling and "Angus" is more of a marketing term. However, when it all comes down to it (as long as the meat is high quality), the meat must be cooked properly.
For starters, we had the Calamari at the suggestion of our server. That was a surprising recommendation since we could have fried squid anywhere else. Well, any reservations were quashed since the calamari was very good. The squid was tender, yet not mushy and did not have any fishiness to it. With a light batter which was crispy and not greasy, it went well with the preserved lemon tzatziki featuring crunchy bits of cucumber. The few dabs of srircha added a nice kick which made this version a bit different. For our second appie, we went for the Steak Tartare consisting of beef tenderloin, capers, dijon, gherkins and horseradish. It was served with crostinis, arugula and creme fraiche. Okay, this has to be one of the ugliest tartares I've ever had, however, the flavours were pretty good. We opted for the spicier version and it had nice kick. The meat was very tender yet still retained some texture. With the combination of capers, dijon and gherkins, there was a good amount of acidity as well.
Onto the main event where Viv went for the Petit Filet with port demi-glace. Referring back to my Hy's post where my mom had the small cuts of steak which were prepared to varying degrees of doneness, there was no such issue here. Despite being only 5 ounces, the filet was beautifully cooked. With just a touch of unevenness with the top and bottom of the steak, it was as close to a medium-rare as possible. The accompanying port demi-glace was silky and added the necessary flavour for the mild-tasting tenderloin. For myself, I had the 12oz Striploin with peppercorn sauce. Once again, the steak was prepared beautifully and was super tender. I loved the charred crust on the outside. It added both texture and a smoky flavour. The peppercorn sauce was impactful and exhibited plenty of depth without overpowering the meat. I liked this steak very much.
We went for a few sides as well starting with the Truffle Lobster Mac 'n Cheese. After the substandard version I had at the Mac Shack, this one kicked arse. First of all, the sauce was both creamy and cheesy being thick enough to adhere to each piece of pasta. Therefore, the entire dish was not dry nor was it too saucy either. We felt there was just enough truffle oil that it didn't overwhelm the cheese. Moreover, there was a decent amount of lobster nestled within the pasta to make an impact. This was a nicely executed mac 'n cheese. We also had the Poutine which was not as successful. Although the fries were okay texturally, the strong taste of oil made them heavy. We liked the flavour of the gravy as it had depth, but it was floury and not very smooth. The cheese curds were fine, except most of them were completely melted. To round out our meal with something healthier, we had a side of Broccolini which was prepared perfectly. It was vibrant in colour and crisp in texture - fully cooked while not overdone. We liked how it was presented plain with minimal amount of seasoning.
By now, we were in a meat coma and dessert was the last thing on our minds. However, when our server asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu, she didn't have to twist our arms. Hey, we gotta try dessert right? Mijune would be proud... So the 2 things that seemed the most interesting were the Creme Brulee Trio and the Sticky Toffee Cake. The Creme Brulee Trio consisted of Chocolate, Tahitian Vanilla Bean and Bailey's (from right to left). We found the torched sugar topping on all 3 to be just right (not too thick). As for the custard itself, all 3 were on the thicker side yet still being smooth. We felt the chocolate to be not too sweet and definitely chocolaty while the Bailey's to be balanced. It had just enough booze without being overwhelming. The Tahitian vanilla bean was good due to the good amount of real vanilla bean in the custard. Much like the other 2, it wasn't overloaded with sugar (could be due to the light topping). The Sticky Toffee Cake was a pretty heavy dessert after a big steak, yet I enjoyed it very much. By virtue of being comprised of sugar and/or molasses, toffee is usually pretty sweet. Sure, this cake itself was on the sweeter side, but not overbearingly so. There was a smoky sugary depth to it and I loved the soft moist texture. The chocolate toffee sauce was thick and sweet. Combined with the French vanilla ice cream, then the dessert ended up to be quite sweet. But I still liked it. In fact, I liked my visit to Onyx. The steaks were prepared to our liking and they were of a good quality. Interestingly, compared to Hy's, Gotham and Black+Blue, Onyx has been the only one to prepare our steaks to the right doneness. And despite the fact we were comped for this meal (which means they knew we were there), they still had to execute and that they did.
*Note: This was an invited dinner where all food was comped*
- Correctly prepared steaks
- Due to several factors, their pricing is less than the other steakhouses
- Surprisingly good desserts (there is a pastry chef onsite)
- Although pricing is considered reasonable for a steakhouse, it still ain't cheap
- Seating on the main floor is a bit cramped