Like Beef?

This month is a riot of ribeyes, a sizzling collection of six steakhouses.


Published:

(page 3 of 4)


My friend, who had the Porterhouse, said something interesting: “There’s no hiding in this steak, no butter, no seasoning, just salt. This is a steak with nerve.”

We drank a meritage from Duck-horn’s second label, Decoy, $20 a glass and worth it. It ought to be required to drink a fine Bordeaux blend with red meat of this quality.

You couldn’t sell us dessert. Instead, we had a final cocktail from the first-rate bar: a muddled bourbon old-fashioned for me, a lemon drop made with limoncello and thyme for my friend. “Ahh,” he said, as he tasted it.

The bill for two, including tip, was $308.

We had such a good time, I learned something:  There is more to a steak dinner than steak.


RUTH'S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE
RESTAURANT ROW // 500 ALA MOANA BLVD. //599-3860 // DINNER NIGHTLY 5 P.M. TO 10 P.M. // VALIDATED PARKING, MAJOR CREDIT CARDS


Photo by Monte Costa

Ruth's Chris steak is seared at 1800 degrees.
We intended to visit the new Ruth’s Chris on Waikiki’s Beachwalk, but realized, just in the nick of time, that a parade was shutting down Kalakaua Avenue, making Waikiki an even worse traffic choice than usual.

We diverted to Restaurant Row. “I haven’t been here in years,” said my wife. I said I was there all the time. “Yes, but with the boys.”

However, I have one of the few wives who can be amused by watching sports on television. She walked in, was caught immediately by a game on the widescreen TV. “Let’s watch the
end,” she said. “Oh, no, it’s tied. If it goes to overtime, I’ll get too hungry.”

The bartender gestured at a stool directly in front of the screen. “You can have anything on the menu right here,” he said. Happiness and overtime prevailed.

We had not planned it, but we’d arrived early enough for the Prime Time Special, which happens not in prime time, but from 5 to 6 p.m. In that hour, you can have a three-course meal—salad, steaks, sides and dessert—for $39.95.

That’s one of the best prix fixe meal deals in Honolulu. The salads, sides and desserts are smaller than normal portions, which only means they are sanely sized. The ribeyes, though not bone-in, are the usual 16-ounce, heavily marbled monsters, topped in the Ruth’s Chris fashion with sizzling butter. Your taste buds, if not your cardiologist, will approve.

A word on portions: Steakhouses practice wretched excess. No one has ever accused me of being a light eater, but I never finished one of the steaks.

“What, steak again?” said my oldest daughter one night, as I came home toting take-out containers. She’s spoiled.

I didn’t find the Ruth’s Chris steak perfect, cooked a tad past medium-rare around the edges, but the salads and creamed spinach were among the best, as was the bread pudding in whiskey sauce for dessert.

The game over, my wife turned her attention to the menu. She took home her bread pudding, and ordered instead a banana tart, a huge round of chocolate banana custard topped with caramelized bananas. That ran up the tab to $100, but it seemed to make her happy indeed.

HY'S STEAK HOUSE
WAIKIKI PARK HEIGHTS HOTEL // 2440 KUHIO AVE. // 922-5555 // DINNER MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY 6 to 10 P.M., SATURDAY AND SUNDAY 5:30 TO 10 P.M. // VALET PARKING (TIP ONLY), MAJOR CREDIT CARDS

Did time stop? I walked into Hy’s for the first time in a couple of decades, and it was exactly the same, the ornate carved wood, the old-style library, the dead-on competent bartender and, finally, our waiter, Ernie Juliusburger, who’d been there 30 years. There’s something relaxing about dealing with a dignified, veteran, totally professional waiter.

The seafood appetizer cost only $3 less than the one at Beachhouse, but it was smaller, lacking things like abalone and hamachi, the lobster and shrimp a little less vivid, the best thing a solid portion of ahi sashimi. The presentation, however, was perfect, glass fish plates for each of us, with a lemon wedge tied up in cheesecloth.

The steaks were good, though perhaps not quite up to the standard I’d been eating. There’s no bone-in ribeye, so I ordered the Delmonico steak, which seemed a slightly thicker version of the same cut.

Quick vocabulary note: Delmonico’s, founded in New York in 1827, was the first real restaurant in America. It’s somehow remained a byword for upscale quality. There was, in fact, a Delmonico steak at the original Delmonico’s, but no one can figure out just what cut of beef it was. Probably not a ribeye, though, since ribeye only became the premier steak cut when modern cattle-raising brought about its luxurious marbling.

Most steakhouse steaks are done these days in superhot gas broilers, 1,200 degrees or more. Hy’s are kiawe-grilled, which gave my ribeye a lovely charbroiled crunch to all the edges.

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