Archive for Restaraunts

Get the Mad Men Experience at Hy’s Steakhouse

I love Mad Men. I love it because it’s about marketing and advertising, and I love it for the incredibly interesting characters, their quips and one-liners, but mostly, I love it for the clothes.

roger sterling quote

This season, the final one, has entered the ’70’s, but when it first went to air, it was set in the ’50’s. I’m nostalgic about the ’50’s. Not because I was alive back then, but because there’s something about that time that felt more innocent, simpler, wholesome. It was a time when housewives ruled the home, when you got dressed up to go out to dinner, and before the world became all about packaged and processed food. Life was slower. Simpler. Pot roast or roast chicken on Sunday was a normal thing.

I feel like today, we are swinging back towards that era. We’re feeling done with the fast food movement, and are moving back to slow food. To quality ingredients that might cost a bit more, but are worth it. To locally sourced. To artisan food and craft cocktails.

Here in Vancouver, if you want to play dress-up and go back in time to the Mad Men era, you need to go to Hy’s Steakhouse.


Hy’s has been in business at the same location on Hornby St for 52 years. It is old school. You enter the restaurant through a set of double doors, into a foyer, and then through another set of doors into the lounge. That foyer is actually some kind of magic time machine, because the moment you set food through that second set of doors, you are magically transported back in time 50 years.

Everything here is dark grandeur. There is dark wood paneling on the walls, and tons of warm leather and marble. The chairs are upholstered in burgundy velvet. The doorways and lamp sconces are garnished with curlicues. The tables wear crisp, white tablecloths, the napkins are monogrammed, and all the servers wear white jackets. Even the artwork is of the era.

peggy olson manhattan

The Peggy Olson Manhattan

The menu is classic NY Steakhouse, with a great deal of the menu being table side. You can get dinner and a show here. Your steak is prepared over a charcoal grill, and you can watch the chef do it, as he’s in the middle of the room, behind a pane of glass. Many of the dishes, like the caesar salad, or the Steak Diane,  are prepared or carved table side.

But if you want the full Mad Men experience, you need to go during Happy Hour. Between 4 and 6 pm, you can get a Mad Men inspired drink, and some ’50’s inspired appies.

shrimp cocktail hys steakhouse

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and an Old Fashioned

The cocktails are $8, and they include: the Don Draper Old Fashioned: Canadian Club rye whiskey, Angostura bitters, Amarena cherry, the Roger Sterling Gibson Martini: Russian Standard vodka, onions or olives, the Joan Holloway Bloody Mary: Russian Standard vodka, tomato juice, roasted garlic, the Betty Draper Gimlet: Russian Standard vodka, fresh pressed lime, and the Peggy Olson Manhattan: Makers Mark bourbon, bitters, vermouth.

Which do you choose? Your favourite character, or your favourite drink?

Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters Rockefeller

Appies are $2.50 each (which is probably how much they cost in 1950), and include: a jumbo shrimp cocktail (so elegant and refined and clean), fresh oysters with horseradish, red wine mignonette, fresh lemon and cocktail sauce, bacon-wrapped scallops, devilled eggs, and Oysters Rockefeller. The best of this bunch was the Oysters Rockefeller. The oysters are shucked, then lightly cooked, returned to their shells with some creamed spinach, and then topped with hollandaise and browned. They are rich and creamy and super indulgent, and something you’d never likely make at home. The ultimate treat with your Old Fashioned or your Gimlet.

I had no idea such a place even existed in Vancouver. What a pleasant discovery. Now, who wants to dress up and go for cocktails?


Vancouver’s Best Veggie Burger Is…

A couple of weeks ago, Vancity Buzz published a list of Vancouver’s best veggie burgers.

So, I’m pretty serious about a good veggie burger–I even put my friend’s taste buds to work last summer, testing different veggie burger recipes to see if we could find the ultimate one.

Well, after seeing that post, we decided to take it on as a challenge. Who made the best veggie burger in the city?

There were three of us: Jenn, who is a vegan, Michelle, a vegetarian-loving carnivore, and me, who is best defined as a “flexitarian.”

We decided we’d all go and pick up a veggie burger from a different place in the city, and then reconvene at my place, to see which one was the best.

The contenders were: The Market Grill (at Granville Island), Meet on Main, and Moderne Burger. We’d all had the veggie burgers already at The Whip and also at The Naam (and agreed they were both pretty great).

The Market Grill: 

market grill

They have two options: one is more of a traditional burger. It’s served with swiss cheese (we swapped that out for guacamole in the interest of keeping it vegan), mushrooms, fried onions, mayo, lettuce and tomato, on a house-made veggie patty. The second is a spicier option, topped with salsa and cajun sour cream. We sampled the first version, which came with wedge fries.

The patty is a lighter colour than any of the other ones we tried. If you are trying to pull of the old switcheroo and trying to convince people they are eating meat, you won’t be able to do it with this burger. It was tasty, though.

Meet on Main: 

meet on main

Instead of a veggie patty, this burger comes with roasted portobello mushroom. Topped with mayo, feta, roasted onions and peppers, it tasted like the Mediterranean on a bun. The mushroom was juicy and meaty. This is, indeed, a great veggie burger, and the fries that came with it were our favourite of the three. It’s also worth mentioning that this was the only one that came with a salad as well, and we really enjoyed the acidity of the house-made dressing. The bun, however, was a grave disappointment. This one was definitely in the running for our favourite, but was knocked out of the running by the plain, boring, white bun.

Moderne Burger:

moderne burger

This burger has it all. While none of us are meat-eaters who want a burger that makes us think like we are eating meat, this one, we all agreed, was the most satisfying of the three. It’s done on a grill, which gives it that smoky, caramelized flavour. It looks like meat. The toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, and we added mushrooms) are perfect, and a lot of care is taken to assemble the burger properly so that the bun doesn’t get soggy. The brioche bun adds an element of sweetness, and is tough enough to stand up to the hefty patty.

The conclusion: 

Moderne Burger is Vancouver’s best veggie burger (it was unanimous). From what I understand, their meat burgers are excellent, as well. It was clear to us that they are giant burger nerds. They really know what they are doing, and it shows. I feel like this burger is the kind of burger I could easily feed to my meat-eating friends, and, while they’d know it wasn’t meat, they’d still be okay with it, because it provides that drippy, messy, satisfying burger experience.

Where is your favourite veggie burger in Vancouver? Let us know in the comments below.

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