Walking into Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse in the southernmost part of the Short North, I didn’t know what to expect. From what I had been told, Hyde Park was notoriously posh and pricey, but well worth every penny in the end.
After passing through the doors, it was evident there were two parts of the restaurant — equally nice, but clearly divided and for two different purposes.
For our purposes — my father and brother were taking me out for my 21st birthday — the bar-type area might have been more appropriate, but the restaurant was relatively quiet, so we opted for the dining area filled with comfy booths and white table cloths.
The entire restaurant has a very “cool” vibe. Not “cool” in today’s tense, but “cool” in the retro meaning of the word. The dim, maroon-tinted lighting, coupled with the deep, dark colored booths, provided a very calming atmosphere, while the smooth sounds of Frank Sinatra and other crooners furthered the retro vibe.
When the menu finally came, I admit, I felt a little more at ease. While the prices were all that I imagined them to be — and maybe even a bit more — the style and the names of the dishes caused me to chuckle.
Hyde Park features steaks named after Ohio State and Cleveland football greats, such as Steak (Jim) Tressel, Steak (Urban) Meyer, Steak Woody (Hayes) and Steak (Bernie) Kosar (all around $40 a piece). For a restaurant of this quality, I was a bit surprised to see something tongue-in-cheek on the menu.
I ordered the veal chop, which had no Ohio-themed name, but was absolutely incredible. The meat was perfectly cooked, tender and juicy while the flavor oozed with every bite.
The side items we ordered — which come in a family style for sharing — were the asparagus and the mashed potatoes, both of which were great, but had nothing on the meat (my meal with the sides cost about $50).
If there was one thing to complain about, it was the fact that every piece of meat comes with fried onion straws. To me, the meat was so perfect that had it been on the plate individually, I could not have imagined a more succulent dish. The onion straws weren’t bad, but may have dumbed down what was an otherwise brilliant dish.
As it was my birthday, we decided to order a couple of desserts — the apple pie and the fresh fruit with cream (around to $10 each).
Normally, when you think of a fresh fruit dessert, it’s almost always underwhelming. Not at Hyde Park. The berries were legitimately some of the best I’ve had in my life and the whipped cream was clearly made in-house and provided the perfect topping for the crisp, flavorful berries.
Admittedly I didn’t try too much of the apple pie, as my father and brother scarfed it down, but what I did try was great nonetheless.
While the experience might have been costly, I firmly believe it was worth every penny. I walked out of the restaurant incredibly satisfied, having had some of the best meat I’ve ever experienced.
It might not be a worthwhile weekly or monthly venture to Hyde Park, but should you be celebrating a very special occasion, I could not imagine a better food experience.