By Wendy Kam Marcy
Deemed as Canada's premier steakhouse (they've been in business since 1955!), get ready for drool worthy sharing plates and steaks charred for perfection and tender as butter. The service is polished and the wine list is lengthy.
We are talking about Hy's Steakhouse. The perfect setting where serious power lunches take place. But don't let that intimidate you from bringing your date or family here. Aside from the distinguished Bay Street suits, there are sure signs that they also cater to a younger crowd. For example, their new menu is split up into modern and classics, and they host a happy hour giving you a good excuse to linger around the Financial District after work.
I always start off with a Caesar salad because I think it sets the tone for the quality of ingredients a restaurant uses and the way the dishes are prepped. While it sounds simple enough, a lot can go wrong with making this traditional salad such as it being too creamy or over garlicky. But the mixture of crisp romaine lettuce with sharp Parmesan cheese and crunchy croutons was made just right and the dressing itself was flavourful but not too intense.
Next up, I nibbled on escargot garnished with fresh herbs and splashed with lemon. If you've never had escargot, they are basically cooked land snails so they have a chewy texture and remind me of eating mushroom caps.
French onion soup is one of my comfort foods but when it's served in a restaurant I often find it much too salty or the cheese not melted properly. Neither was the case here. The onions were sweet and blended well into the cheese and slices of golden toast.
There are over half a dozen sandwiches to chose from, a medley of salads, seafood dishes and even rice dosas for vegetarians but seriously, you come to Hy's for the meat and the filet mignon is a fitting choice for any occasion. They serve a petite version for lunch that is equally exceptional in taste and texture. I like mine medium done. Sides come separately so make sure you put in an order of seasonal vegetables or a baked potato to complement this main.
We capped off our satisfying meals with Crème Brûlée, a delightful eggy treat. Hy's version nailed it with their delicious contrast between the crunchy brittle caramelized topping and smooth, creamy custard.
My favourite dessert though is their Banana Foster. A savory sweet offering of butter, brown sugar, creme de banana liqueur, dark rum, lemon juice and cinnamon drizzled over bananas and topped with a heap of vanilla ice cream. This dessert will satisfy any sweet tooth and is prepared table-side where the rum is used to ignite a flame. The perfect grand finale finish.
Hy's Steakhouse is located at 120 Adelaide Street West in Toronto. They also have locations in Whistler, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Calgary. Call ahead for reservations at (416) 364-6600.