Steak Dinner in Downtown TO
Just arrived in TO and we would like to do Steak for dinner tonight. What is your take on:
Any other places we should try?
Hy's has a great atmosphere - high ceilinged spaciousness or ask for a booth and a more clubby sensibility. The steaks are good, indeed everything is good enough but perhaps not as good as it should be given the prices. Barberian's is no less expensive and has an outstanding wine list, but a much more relaxed and less corporate feel - more diverse clientele - superb steaks, a larger menu and is, I would say, overall better value for your buck.
I have a great story about Barberians...
I went to Barberians for the first (and last) time in October 2002. I will NEVER forget the derogatory and rude statement that Aaron (yes, the owner), made to my sister as we entered the restaurant.
She was wearing a beautiful classy black wool blazer and he asked her for her "coat". When she told him she would like to keep it on, he said:
"Would you keep your coat on at your dinner table at home?"
We were all (there were 2 other people with us) literally shocked into silence. We looked at each other and immediately considered leaving (which we should have) but did not.
I remember the food being OK (I mean it's just steak after all), but I also distinctly remember having a disagreement with our server over the temperature of the Californian Cab Sauv he served us. It was chilled. And by chilled I mean closer to the 7-10 degree mark. And much too cool IMO for this type of wine.
So, yes, I think the name Barberian suits the place quite well.
I am sorry to hear about your poor experience at Barbarian's, Splendid Wine Snob. I was there on Saturday and had quite the opposite experience. I was waiting for my husband to park the car and standing at the bar. The host asked if I wished to be seated and I said I would wait. The bartender came over and gave me a glass of champagne while I was waiting. I thought that was a great touch.
Not being much of a steak eater myself, I can give you my husband's take on all of these retaurants. This is in respect to their Porterhouse steaks, which is his thing:
Barbarians: A few dollars more for Porterhouse, but a better cut than Hy's. I find it to be really nice there, but the service seems a bit less personal to me than Hy's, for some reason. Though the service was totally fine.
Hy's: Great Porterhouse. I like the service, atmosphere and food at Hy's better. They give you great garlic bread! And I agree with Bigtigger about the booths, they are great. They also have a lovely room at the back which is quite opulent and a bit more private.
Harbour 60: Not if you're paying. Everything is a la carte and I find the prices are frankly insulting (I recall paying almost $40 for 3 jumbo shrimps). I would certianly stick with the other two.
Hope that helps and that you have a wonderful meal wherever you go.
yes harbour 60 is expensive but they use only USDA Prime beef and that is pricey meat. Based on current USDA prime costs I would guess that their cost on that $55 16 oz NY strip is about $30 or over 50% food cost where the norm for most restaurants is 30% and most steakhouses 40%. Dollar for dollar I believe they are on par with other high end steakhouse in Canada and the US who serve only USDA prime
Of the three I've only been to Barberian's. I've dined there six times over six years and each time the food and service has been excellent. Yesterday I was looking for a restaurant for a belated Valentine's Day dinner and made a visit to Harbour 60's website. I concur with mindyt's husband about the prices, yowsers!! I've been to other high end steak places around Toronto and in other cities like Calgary and Vancouver and find that I still like Barberian's overall.
I have a friend who's been to Barberian's and Harbour 60. He slightly prefers Barberian's more.