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Hy's Steak House
Honolulu, HI 96815
Date of Visit: 03 December 2003
OVERALL EXPERIENCE (5 is Best)
It was time to get out of town for a while, so the ChiefCowEater headed back to LAX on 2 December 2003 to catch a flight to Hawaii for several days of R&R.
Hy's Steak House is an Oahu fixture, and award-winning restaurant: People's Choice category winner of the Hale Aina award; Zagat Survey voted it one of Honolulu's top five restaurants; and a recipient of Wine Spectator Magazine's Award of Excellence. Since my hotel was only a short walk from Hy's, I decided to stop in one night to check it out.
Hy's is not a typical Hawaiian Islands restaurant because it resembles a mainland 1960s-era private club. Dark wood panels adorned with rich oil paintings abound, as do the tuxedo-clad waiters. I won't go into more detail as it is all covered in the two restaurant Web site noted above. I will mention that the uniqueness of Hy's prime hand-cut steaks comes from their grilling over kiawe wood. This wood adds a unique, rich flavor to the meat. And it may take some getting used to.
Their wine list is not that extensive and their wine-by-the-glass offerings are extremely limited. Certainly more attention needs to be paid to the by-the-glass offerings. I started with a glass of Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc ($8.00) as I cruised the menu. I then ordered the half-dozen fresh oysters ($11.95) as a starter, along with a glass of Edna Valley Chardonnay ($8.00). As soon as the oysters were set before me, I knew something was wrong; they just did not look right. They had a brown tinge around their edges and looked "mushy", small, and not firm. I tried one, and sent the rest back. Hoping that this was not a prelude to the rest of the meal, I ordered my main course.
Being a sucker for New York Dead Cow, I ordered the 13-oz New York Strip ($37.00). As a definite plus to Hy's, the entree comes with choice of sides so I opted for the baked potato and chef's choice vegetable. To drink, I ordered a rather expensive glass of Kendall Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon ($15.00).
As I mentioned earlier, Dead Cow cooked over a kiawe wood grill has a pronounced flavor. The first few bites of my beautiful New York Strip were unique. But in a few more bites, I decided that this taste was pleasant enough for the moment. (Note: I don't think I would plan a trip back to Hawaii just for kiawe-grilled Dead Cow!) But the steak was well prepared and flavorful...as it should have been be for $37.00.
Service was prompt and courteous. The dining environment was comfortable but almost felt rather stuffy for Waikiki.
On my next trip to Oahu, I probably will not revisit Hy's. I just think there are better Dead Cow places on the island. If you are on Oahu and have a craving for Dead Cow (and who reading this would not??!!), I would head to Morton's of Chicago which is near the Ala Moana mall. There is also a Ruth's Chris a few blocks from Morton's. I would say that if you are in Waikiki, walk down to Hy's and at least stop in for a drink. It is worth the visit. Mahalo and Aloha.
ALL RATINGS FOR HY'S STEAK HOUSE
Preparation/Food Quality (becaue of the oysters)