Thursday, March 24, 2011

Alexander's Steakhouse: Just Go

I've never been a big steak lover, but I loved the steak at Alexander's Steakhouse.

Primal yet elegant, traditional yet innovative, Alexander's has over-the-top steaks. We knew the restaurant had great Zagat ratings (26/30 for food, 24 for decor, 25 for service) and came highly acclaimed. We knew it had a wall of meat in the lobby and offered all kinds of choices: Wagyu from Australia or the Lone Mountain ranch in NM, dry aged or wet aged, all with their distinct sauces, and even non steak options. What I didn't expect was that I'd have one of the best meals I can remember.

On the one hand, dining at Alexander's brings to mind the elements you'd expect from a top-rated restaurant: elegant, sophisticated, and civilized, the sound of tinkling wine glasses and murmured conversation, with sparkling dishes and silverware.

On the other hand, eating the food brings to mind completely different words: primal, bloody, raw, guttural, instinctual, primitive. It felt like we were in a well appointed cave, connecting back to our caveman roots. The fire roared, with the smell of smoke and the sound of sizzling, thick, juicy pieces of meat still dripping red inside.

The menu isn't traditional meat and potatoes fare. Our waiter informed us the chef is half Japanese, and so many items have a distinctive Asian touch. We enjoyed:

- assorted breads with butter & salt
- shrimp chip with avocado salsa nestled inside
- hamachi shots- two kinds of ginger, jalapeno, black sesame seed
- 6 oz. filet mignon, medium rare, with three kinds of sauces
- 24 oz., 28 day dry aged NY steak with shiitake mushrooms and peppercorn sauce
- truffle fries with parmesan garlic dip
- crimini mushrooms with leeks and sherry
- hibiscus seltzer palate cleanser
- O2 chocolate cake ball with raspberry sauce to melt the dome, revealing cake with Valrhona pearls; malted milk ice cream with cocoa nibs
- cotton candy (arrived with the bill)

What a fun surprise to get the shrimp chip appetizer, a mix of Asian and Mexican flavors. I remember those chips well from my childhood. My medium rare filet mignon melted in my mouth. It's hard not to moan out loud, juices dripping profusely, as you tear into the food. The hamachi shots (drinking down sushi?!) and chocolate O2 dessert complemented the bloody meat perfectly. The crimini side dish transported me to mushroom heaven. The little in-betweens balanced out the main courses nicely, a great give-and-take between savory and sweet, traditional and unexpected. Brad had the 24 oz., 28-day dry aged NY steak and couldn't finish it. The leftovers made a very nice dinner course for him the next day. The truffle fries were rich, rich, rich, and so hard to resist. Surprise cotton candy at the end made for a fun and sweet finish.

We will definitely be back for more. If you haven't tried Alexander's, just go.

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