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A Modern Touch to a Classic Steakhouse

By Alana Folen Photos By Anthony Consillio
May 18, 2014

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The defining element in Hawaii’s dining scene is its magnificent expansion of variety, where chefs are determined to succeed and new restaurants are eager to lure patrons in an instant. While the variety is enticing, however, dining enthusiasts more often than not revert to the classics.

Hy’s Steakhouse is a classic dining establishment. Revered as an A-list steak house, the restaurant first opened in Calgary, Canada in the 1960s, and in 1976, Hy’s decided to call the Islands home.

Located within Waikiki Park Heights Hotel, Hy’s has established itself as a well-received, fine-dining establishment full of history. The lights are dim and the grand dining room resembles that of a European gentlemen’s club.

According to general manager Bob Panter, many of the carvings and arch-ways in the restaurant originated from the Baldwin Estate in Philadelphia.

Yet, Panter also is a firm believer in changing with the times. After all, you can’t keep stagnant for long.

“Just recently, the upper dining area underwent a complete makeover — the area needed updating — and now it has a more modern appeal,” he says of the “Executive Level” of the restaurant, which seats 83 people. Patrons also can reserve the Executive Suite for private dining functions. The room has a 24-person capacity and requires a $1,600 minimum purchase.

“We’re very pleased with the finished product,” says Panter, referring to the Executive Level. In addition to the makeover, guests can expect updates to the menu.

Evidently, a steakhouse wouldn’t be a steakhouse without stellar cuts of beef, including New York, ribeye and filet mignon, to name a few. These slabs can be accentuated even more with variations in preparation, seasonings and sauces.

All entrees come complete with vegetables du jour and choice of baked potato, garlic mashed potatoes, or white/brown rice.

Erwin Manzano serves as executive chef at Hy’s. His more than two decades in the restaurant industry gives him leverage to produce award-winning USDA Prime-grade steaks broiled over native Hawaiian kiawe wood. The final product? Superior steaks that are savory and perfectly seasoned — the most tender cuts of meat encased in a mouthwatering crust fortified with flavor.

Hy’s boasts a rather ambitious menu — well-rounded for a steakhouse.

“The King of T-Bones,” Porterhouse Steak ($88.95) draws the attention of patrons with 34 ounces of succulent meat. And Hy’s impresses the seafood aficionado with one-and-a-half pounds of Alaskan King Crab Legs ($99.95) accompanied with all the necessities — drawn butter, lemon and a touch of parsley. Steak Oscar appeals to those with avant-garde palates. Priced at $69.95, the disj is a delightful rendition of the classic Oscar, in which an exquisite filet is served glazed in meat drippings on a bed of steamed spinach. And what garners more appeal are morsels of Alaskan king crab meat sauteed with cloves of garlic, shallots, white wine, butter, salt and pepper placed atop the hearty steak. Currently, Steak Oscar is off-the-menu, but readily available upon request. Though, come June, the highly-requested entree will be added to the restaurant’s revamped menu.

“The updated menu will continue to feature our classic dishes, but what you’ll really notice is the incorporation of seasonal ingredients. The menu will change with the seasons, highlighting a true farm-to-table concept. With this in mind, freshness is always a priority,” explains Manzano.

“Hy’s steaks always have been superb, and guests ask how that is accomplished. I attribute it to the smokiness from the kiawe wood, and broiling our steaks at a heat of more than 500 degrees. When you combine those two factors, the end result is exceptional,” he adds, mentioning that all steaks are seasoned with a special salt made exclusively for Hy’s.

And now diners can unwind in the lounge for happy hour from 5 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The happy hour menu debuted this month and features specialty cocktails, wines by the glass, large beers and selected fare at affordable prices. Oysters en Half Shell ($15), Ahi Poke ($12) and 2 Prime Beef Blue Cheese Sliders ($13) have proved to be top-sellers. The sliders consist of broiled prime beef topped with melted blue cheese, ‘Nalo Farms baby arugula and Hamakua tomatoes nestled between two taro rolls and served with french fries. Grilled Asparagus with Poached Egg, Shaved Parmesan and Truffle Oil ($8) is yet another small wonder off the establishment’s happy hour menu.

Without a doubt, Hy’s Steakhouse has mastered its symphony of flavors, but the complete dining experience crescendos with live weekly entertainment by local musicians Audi Kimura and Wendell Au. Kimura performs Tuesday through Saturday from 6:30 to 10 p.m. and Au treats guests to guitar instrumentals from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday and 6:30 to 10 p.m. Monday.

Hy’s Steakhouse is full of surprises, capturing a style that exudes elegance and class. Reservations are highly recommended. Come on in.

Hy’s Steak House

Waikiki Park Heights Hotel
2440 Kuhio Ave., Honolulu
922-5555
Open daily, 5-10 p.m. (last seating at 9:45 p.m.)