If a steakhouse can be called elegant -- and why can't one be called elegant? -- E.B. Green's fits the description. The tables are set far apart in a two-tiered set-up. There's a magnificent chandelier in the center of the room, and flowers bedeck both sides.
Customers enter to a small sophisticated lounge, where, if they are lucky, Jackie Jocko is at the piano. It's all very sophisticated, very much like the old "Thin Man" movies that you can still catch on television now and then. Think ice-cold martinis; think Myrna Loy.
Then you get to eat.
Understand that the food served here is simple food. You won't find fadish ingredients here, and you won't find unusual presentation. The menu is beef, fresh seafood and a poultry item or two -- huge portions without a lot of sauce. In order to carry this kind of uncompromising cooking off successfully (and in order to charge the prices E.B. Green's charges) you have to start with the best.
They do that. The steaks are thick and beefy in this restaurant -- ranging in price from $32 to $79. (That last price is a 48-ounce Porterhouse for two.) The 16-ounce Queen Size Prime Rib ($29) can probably not be bettered in terms of either taste or texture. And when it is accompanied as the Companion's was, with smooth creamed spinach ($5 for two or three people) and crisp hash browns -- served in a cake, the way steakhouse hash browns are supposed to be served -- you may well be ready to stand up and sing "The Star-Spangled Banner."
I should have prefaced this review with a brief explanation of the show biz that surrounds the ordering procedure. Your waiter wheels a cart up to your table, on which are laid out the various cuts of meat available. All are neatly encased in plastic wrap and sparkling, of course, but vegetarians will not stand up and cheer.
There's Sea Bass ($15) or Swordfish or even whole fresh lobster if that appeals. A 2-pound lobster is $59, and Lobster Thermidor made from that same 2-pounder runs the same price. As an aside, I haven't seen decadent Lobster Thermidor (in which the meat is removed from the shell, combined with a rich cream sauce, replaced and run under the broiler) for years. It's nice to know it's still out there.
Other entree possibilities for those who disdain red meat include Southern-Style Chicken for $21.95 or Duck Breast for $27.
I opted for the Veal Chop ($41), which I ordered sliced off the bone. I was ever so slightly disappointed. The meat was tasty and of excellent quality, but it had been napped with an herbal sauce that got in the way of its flavor.
I also didn't understand the Monkey Bread, which comes out along with the crisp Italian-style loaf. The Monkey Bread is sweet -- it's like a sticky bun. And I don't understand what it's doing in a meal with such all-out protein.
But those are the the last quibbles I have about my meal that began with a rich sherry-accented Lobster Bisque ($8) and went on through perfect Caesar Salad with anchovies.
Other appetizers include Shrimp Cocktail, of course (the menu is charging $14.50 for this but describes the shrimp as "colossal"), Salmon Cakes ($8.50) and Bacon-Wrapped Scallops ($9.25).
A la carte vegetable choices include broccoli, asparagus spears and sauteed mushrooms in addition to the creamed spinach.
Dessert was a winner for us, too; we sort of fell into a warm Chocolate Souffle ($7.50). It has to be ordered when you order your entree. The server brought out the cute puffy little thing, punctured it with a whoosh and added a little chocolate sauce to the center for a little overkill.
Yes, in case you asked, there are ways to shave a few dollars off your check at E.B. Green's. A Prime Rib Sandwich runs $13.95, and a Kobe Beef Burger is $13.75. The 24-ounce sliced New York Strip serves two for $45.
All are excellent, no doubt. But, this is not the place to count pennies.
Rather it's a place to indulge and relax. Come hungry.
E.B. Green's - 4 stars (out of four)
WHERE: 2 Fountain Plaza (in the Hyatt Regency), 855-4870. About as elegant as a steakhouse can be. Restrained decor. The menu centers around huge servings of beef and seafood of very high quality. Credit cards: American Express, MasterCard, Visa.
FAVORITE DISH: Prime Rib
NEEDS WORK: Monkey Bread
PRICE RANGE: Entrees include 16-ounce New York Strip for $32, Filet Mignon for $35, Salmon for $26.
NOISE LEVEL: Moderate
HOURS: Dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 5 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
HEALTHY CHOICES: Dover Sole Amandine; Cornish Game Hen
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes, on the top tier (specify when reserving). Enter through the hotel lobby.
PARKING: Valet parking
KID APPEAL: Older kids if they are very hungry.