If you are up to date on our blog, and I expect that you are, you will know that actual Valentines Day for us was spent playing trivia. If you are one of the few who didn’t read that post, you can enjoy HERE. We decided to celebrate a day of romance a few days later at Hyde Park in Birmingham. We first saw Hyde Park when we happened to be in Birmingham for other reasons. The place was intriguing, nestled in a strip, near the Birmingham Theater, boasting prime steaks and seafood. We checked out their online menu and although the menu didn’t have prices listed (your first sign that it is going to be a pricey night) we decided to splurge and try it out.
We made reservations in advance, for a very early dinner as we wanted to beat the dinner rush. We are finding more and more that we seem to be becoming those crotchety old people who want to eat early so they don’t have to deal with the masses of annoying people. We are enjoying the spoils of “early bird specials”. Those old people are on to something! I must say although we are eating like old people, we are still super young at heart and still pretty hot. LOL
We started our dining adventure with cocktails, Omar ordering his classic Tanqueray Martini, up, with 3 anchovy stuffed olives. I stuck with my classic Tanqueray and Tonic, with just the right squeeze of lime.
We were pleased to be offered a complimentary amuse bouche, which is a fancy french word that translates as “uber fancy food served very tiny.” Actually it translates as “mouth amuser”, designed as a small bite to show off the chef’s skill in blending and creating flavor profiles and is typically served before your order is taken. The manager brought a small sampling of their crispy tuna sushi roll, with an avocado crema. I am not a sushi lover and try to steer clear of raw fish, but this one bite was delicious.
As we haven’t been eating as much as before, we decided to split an entree and get some accompaniments. I ordered a Caesar Salad that I assumed I would be splitting with Omar and French Onion Soup. Omar ordered the calamari and our entree to split was the bone-in, 36 day, dry aged 26 oz behemoth bone in ribeye with boardwalk fries.
The Caesar Salad was ok. The lettuce was fresh, with nice shaved Parmesan but I felt the dressing lacked that certain tang that Caesar dressing needs. You can order anchovy on the side and as much as I hate anchovy, I need a tiny bit in my dressing that was missing if you didn’t request it.
The French Onion Soup was good, not great and definitely not the best I ever had. It wasn’t packed with flavor or onions, but was far from inedible, but far from delicious.
The calamari was excellent, light, not greasy, and surprising crispy even though it was in a Thai sweet hot chili sauce, along with cherry peppers, carrots, green onions and nuts.
The steak and fries arrived, a plate of which looked like a Fred Flintstone Brontosaurus Steak, and tiny fries, nestled carefully in a paper cone, salted to perfection. The aged steak, cooked a perfect medium rare, was tasty, but honestly I don’t see the difference with an aged steak or a brand spanking new steak. The flavors are supposed to deepen, the enzymes in the meat are supposed to break down fibers, making the steak more tender, but to me, it just tasted like an everyday steak. Good, but not blow me away amazing. Frankly, Omar and I get these massive Cowboy Ribeyes from Sams Club, grill them at home and they are just as good. The fries though, were amazing. They do fries right. Small Pomme Frites, cooked to perfection, salty with interesting aoilis to dip. We opted against desert, although they brought to a nearby table a stacked carrot cake that appeared to be at least 7 layers and looked so decadent and delicious.
The waitstaff was incredibly attentive, from the manager, to the waiter, to the person filling our water to the bus staff. A fine dining experience, with exceptional service. The ambiance is cozy, with white table clothes, wood and stone walls, deep rich paint colors and walls of aged bottles of wine.
We enjoyed our evening, felt very well taken care of by staff, but were simply not blown away with the food. Sometimes I feel we are getting too snobbish with our reviews, but we feel it is our duty to give people good, honest reviews. We would recommend Hyde Park, and would return, but probably wouldn’t splurge for the aged steak.