From our archives, Compass Magazine, Dec. 2001:
By: Uvia Chang Translated by Annie Chen and Matt Godsey
Photos by Paul Patterson and provided by Y.Y’s Steak House
Y.Y.’s Steak House is located on Cheng Kung Road in the city’s historic Central District amid the ambiance of Taichung’s “old town.” This seems somewhat appropriate, given the fact that this unique, veteran restaurant and its owner serve up good old-fashioned steaks, prepared just as they have been for the past 37 years.
Upon passing through the glass front doors, you are instantly welcomed by gentle lighting, soothing music, and rich wood decor. The wood tables draped with red table cloths and the ticking of antique European-style clocks, give you the pleasant sensation of traveling back in time.
Hsu Yang-Ya, better known as Y.Y., is both the owner and the head chef. Originally from Shanghai, Y.Y. is more than 70 years old, having spent more than 50 of those years in the restaurant business. Despite his age, he is still quite energetic, not to mention friendly and warm. Chef Hsu came to Taiwan when he was in the army. Having studied English while in Shanghai, he can speak it fairly well and loves chatting with foreign guests.
When he arrived in Taiwan, he studied many foreign recipes and gained a great deal of knowledge and experience about Western cuisine. However, he felt that Western-style steak lacked variety and flavor so he created his own unique cooking techniques. During his tenure as the head chef of both the American and Argentine embassies, his distinguished guests were consistently impressed by the flavor of his steak.
He later opened Y.Y.’s Steakhouse in Taipei on Chungshan Road. Although most of his customers were foreigners, many famous Chinese also heard about it and became regulars. Chinese brush paintings hanging on the walls were given to Y.Y. by famous artists. When asked about them, he smiled and said, “they thought the steak was so delicious that they gave these to me as souvenirs!”
In its 36-year history, Y.Y.’s Steakhouse opened several branches. However, just about a year ago, Chef Hsu moved the original Y.Y.’s to Taichung, so area steak lovers now have an opportunity to taste the master’s own handiwork. Hsu himself will make sure that your steak is prepared to perfection. Every cut comes from frozen beef that has been flown in from America and is fresh, tender and juicy–the kind of meat that is truly appreciated by steak connoisseurs. The open kitchen allows customers to watch their steak being cooked. The second floor has private dining rooms that seat six to 22 people and can be reserved for families or groups.
This month, US filet mignon is on special (NT$1,090) and includes a green salad, garlic bread and an onion soup that has simmered with secret ingredients for four to five hours to make it thick and fragrant. The main course is filet mignon served teppanyaki-style on a sizzling dish. Diners may choose to add mushroom or black pepper sauce, but the filet mignon is best without any sauce so that its original flavor can be fully appreciated. The main course also comes with a deep-fried filet of cod and mixed vegetables. Dessert is ice cream or a traditional Taiwanese dessert, and comes with coffee or tea.
In addition to filet mignon, there are a number of main course selections, such as porterhouse steak (NT$1,490), a particularly choice steak (each cow only produces five or six of these cuts) that has been individually vacuum-packed before being shipped from the US. American prime sirloin steak (NT$1,090) is also served, as well as New York steak (NT$1,090). There are also alternatives for those who don’t eat beef, such as French-style lobster (NT$1,850), a whole live, deep-sea lobster baked French-style to keep the meat tender, as well as French-style lamb chops (NT$890). Another unique dish is kosher steak. This steak has to be cleaned and prepared according to a specific set of procedures, so prior reservation by phone is required. Y.Y.’s Steak House
With so much available, there are plenty of reasons to try this elegant, reasonably-priced restaurant. You will be surprised to discover that Y.Y.’s taste of the past is every bit as delicious today as it was yesterday.
Parking: Customers are welcome to park for two hours free of charge (with validation from Y.Y.’s) in the nearby Yu Hsi Parking Lot between Kuang Fu Road and Tzu You Road.
196, Cheng Kung Road, Taichung
Tel: (04) 2220-9157~8
Hours: 11:30 am-2 pm, 5-10 pm daily