Hy’s Steak House Celebrates 40th Anniversary with New Dinner Series
Beginning in April, Hy’s will offer monthly wine dinners and chef’s table events.
Kiawe-grilled prime filet mignon.
Photos: Katrina Valcourt
Forty years is an especially long time in the often fickle and unstable restaurant business, but, on a rainy evening in early March, Hy’s Steak House teemed with guests. It has survived this long because it appeals to visitors and locals alike, despite the touristy location at the Waikīkī Park Heights hotel, offering intimate and indulgent experiences worth the occasional splurge. And now there are two more reasons to stop by the Hale ‘Aina-winning steak house: new monthly series of wine dinners and chef’s table events to celebrate the restaurant’s 40th anniversary.
SEE ALSO: Happy Hour at Hy’s Steakhouse
We recently attended a preview of the upcoming dinners, mingling over Champagne and an amuse-bouche of Osetra caviar and crème fraîche atop a sweet-potato chip. (Later, executive chef Justin Inagaki told us that Hy’s is one of only two restaurants to serve this caviar, from Big Island-raised sturgeon. Since it’s fresh and doesn’t have to be preserved, it’s unsalted—a rarity in caviar.) Diners around the restaurant sunk into luxurious leather booths, enjoying perfect steaks and conversation, the ambiance enhanced by romantic dark woods, warm lighting and wine. The drab weather, rather than ruining anyone’s plans, seemed to make the sprawling restaurant that much cozier.
Sashimi trio of salmon, ‘ahi and hamachi.
The dinner was hosted in a private room by three men: Inagaki, assistant manager Jonah Galase and master sommelier Patrick Okubo, who introduced each course and wine pairing as the food arrived at our tables. (Galase, by the way, made everyone in the room feel special. Upon meeting each of us, he quickly memorized our names and used them each time he addressed us throughout the evening or introduced us to other guests. What a nice touch!) The first course, a sashimi trio of salmon, ‘ahi and hamachi, came fresh from the auction that morning. Okubo, passionate about all things wine, delved into the story behind our 2015 Red Car Rosé of Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast, and what made it pair perfectly with the sashimi.
Another Sonoma wine, the 2014 Russian River chardonnay from Jordan Vineyard and Winery, accompanied the second course: crostini, creamy lū‘au purée, sous vide butter-poached colossal shrimp with saffron, and more of that Big Island caviar. The dish immediately wowed. Inagaki explained that the lū‘au dish was adapted from his grandmother’s recipe. I piled the ingredients together in a small tower and practically swallowed it whole—it was that buttery.
Crostini, creamy lū‘au purée, sous vide butter-poached colossal shrimp with saffron, and Big Island caviar.
Hy’s is famous for its cheese bread, and we were treated to a special cheese biscuit between courses, along with a dragon fruit and amaretto granita served in a liliko‘i shell. Next came the kiawe-grilled prime filet mignon, topped with a hunk of pan-seared foie gras, doused in an indulgent truffle demi-glace. A medley of Aloun Farms vegetables grilled and sautéed was a standout, despite minimal dressing. This course showed Hy’s at its best: a synergy among all the elements of a meal, with vibrant colors, textures and tastes. Okubo selected two wines to go with it: a 2013 Gap’s Crown Vineyard pinot noir from Lutum, a New World wine, and a 2014 Domaine Chanson pinot noir, an Old World. Each became my favorite in alternating sips.
the dessert platter.
Dessert featured half a dozen items: a Kona vanilla bean crème brûlée; a Hawaiian Crown chocolate brownie; a macadamia nut caramel crunch; ‘Ewa dragon fruit macerated with Chambord, crème de pêche and prosecco; pineapple coconut ice cream; and an apple-banana mousse, all sitting on a swirl of liliko‘i syrup. A sweet, sparkling Moscato d’Asti ended the meal.
Dragon fruit and amaretto granita served in a liliko‘i shell.
With its happy hour that debuted in 2014 and now these dinners, Hy’s is vying to stay relevant by bringing in a younger crowd that is passionate about local and authentic dining experiences. In addition to the wine dinners, Hy’s will host a monthly chef’s table that will focus on local produce. The first chef’s table will feature a pork lū‘au bisque, Kona-raised Maine lobster, a pineapple granita, papaya-marinated and kiawe-grilled prime tenderloin, and a poha berry flambé, along with optional wine and local cocktail pairings.
Stay tuned for the 40th anniversary finale event on Nov. 11, a prix fixe dinner that will involve celebrity chefs and master sommeliers.
2440 Kūhiō Ave., hyswaikiki.com, call 922-5555 for reservations, each dinner limited to 20 people. Wine dinners are $150 per person, including wine, and take place April 12, May 24, June 21, July 19, Aug. 23, Sept. 20 and Oct. 18. Chef’s table dinners are $100 per person and will be held on May 10, June 7, July 5, Aug. 9, Sept. 6 and Oct. 4.
READ MORE STORIES BY KATRINA VALCOURT