April 22, 2013

Alexander's Steakhouse, San Francisco - Travels

I'm not much of a fine dining person.  I am more impressed by places that produce stellar food with common ingredients and off-cuts than restaurants that use rarer, expensive cuts because as I heard from a Top Chef episode, it's not hard making great dishes with Wagyu and Kobe beef.  Also, I can't justify spending most of my disposable income in one sitting and secondly, I'm not "foodie" enough to decipher small nuances in foods.  It's either good or really good to me.

All that being said, when my boss wanted to take us out to Alexander's Steakhouse, I certainly didn't say no but I did have some pangs of guilt (I wasn't even paying!) glancing through the menu, calculating how many meals I could have instead of the 3oz portion of Wagyu beef for $135.

Dinner time

Picture on left, of me, is taken by my husband's cellphone.  The saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" really applies here.  Seafood isn't really part of my usual meal plans and several years back, I discovered I am allergic to some shellfish.  Sushi and sashimi, just forget about it.  Imagine my surprise when a glass shot of hamachi, beautifully arranged with avocado and truffled ponzu came to the table.  "Come on! You have to try it!  Trust us, it's so good!" I was heckled by the others.  I felt like I was on an episode of Survivor and I had to take one for the team in order to make it to the next round.  Everyone else loved it so please, I don't want you to think it wasn't excellent but it's just not my thing, as you can visually see.



Before each course, there was a palate cleanser and a variety of breads were served.  We enjoyed Caesar salad with an egg done just so that when you cut into it, the yolk perfectly complemented the rest of the  vinaigrette.  All of us groaned with delight when we bit into our pork belly to finish off our appetizer and salads portion of the evening.

Alexander's Steakhouse

But the reason you come to Alexander's Steakhouse is to eat some steak!  We enjoyed the ribeye steak (not pictured) alongside the truffled french fries and barrel-aged nuoc mam brussel sprouts (not pictured) but the star was the Wagyu beef.  I don't remember the one order (bad note taking!) but I did really enjoy the Ohmi Takara Ranch Japan A5 Wagyu, it was like butter when you ate it.  Those two bites of Wagyu on my plate cost approximately $55 (am I the only one raising my eyebrows?).  All orders of Wagyu come with a 12 variety of tasting salts and I was so fascinated with all the tastes.  I asked the salt "sommelier" about 62.5 questions, which he thoroughly enjoyed answering, since he said that he loved learning so much about all the salts of the world and wants to share his knowledge and nobody usually asks!  (He hit the jackpot when I came in!)

Alexanders Steakhouse San Francisco

(Candy floss as a palate cleanser?  Why yes indeed!)  My jaw hit the floor when the dessert plates started coming out.  You certainly get a bargain at $12 a plate when these beautiful works of art come out.  The in-house pastry chef inspired me with all the beauty, textures and tastes.  I've easily spent $10-$12 on dessert before and wasn't thrilled so this is beyond bang-for-your-buck.

Desserts

While I don't fine dine often, it truly is an experience.  Incredible service, highly trained staff with plenty of knowledge willing to share and, of course, incredible food and atmosphere.  Glad I was able to experience it.

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