448 Brannan Street
A few years ago, one random Saturday afternoon during a stroll through SOMA we walked past Alexander’s Steakhouse. A quick scan of the posted menu, loaded with various cuts of steak, was all I needed to add the place to the ever-growing restaurant list – all we needed was the excuse to go. Thank you, birthday.
Alexander’s Steakhouse has a menu that gives any beef lover the meat sweats, just looking at it. Not only do they have some of the standard American cuts (filet, ribeye, t-bone), they also have a selection of 10 different wagyu options…the real wagyu, not your “Kobe beef sliders.” The abundance of wagyu is representative of an overall Japanese influence that appears throughout the menu. Beef and Japan, a combination made in heaven.
For this meal we went with the “chef’s table” experience; a customized course menu built around a stated budget and some general guidelines of likes/dislikes. The seating is for one party, up to six people, and overlooks the kitchen.
We were welcomed with a little glass of sparkling to start the evening off, then presented with the menu.
Cocktail – Hapa
Nikka pure malt whiskey, Buffalo Trace bourbon, benedictine, tamarind, lemon, Scrappy’s firewater bitters
This cocktail was brilliant. A subtle booze flavor that hits the tongue with spice that fades into mint. I would absolutely return to the bar here, just to have a drink or two. The $35 Old Fashioned is on my list of things to try, when I feel the need for excess.
yuzu, serrano, soy, cilantro
A delicate shooter, both crispy and creamy with a smooth avocado finish. A good start.
cauliflower, ossetra caviar, gold
english pea, lemon, wasabi
Coal Grilled Miyazaki A5-12
fermented chipotle, sansho
This bite sized beauty was cooked in an oak over over bincho coals, at a very hot temperature without adding any smoke. Only one side was cooked, leaving the other semi-raw. The grilled side was wrapped around a little daikon. The beef melted while the daikon greets with a crispy crunch.
roasted sunchoke, smoked corn crème fraîche
The “main” course, if there was one. This all-star cut of meat, from a “cold weather cow that is always eating,” packed more flavor inside than any other meat I have ever tasted. Rich and layered in fat, the small looking portion was actually more than enough. Cut into small bites and eaten either plain or topped with one of the twelve different salts (pictured below), this course was a smile from start to finish.
The salts were brought in from all over; including Peru, Cyprus, France, and India. Each added a very different flavor profile to the meat.
Bread was also served, the butter was stuffed inside of a bone.
pine nuts, raspberry thyme
The nutty, earthy mushrooms were the first of the season and sat in an almond milk base. The ultra-thin glass the course was served in was practically transparent and allowed for a different viewing perspective you don’t always get with food.
koshihikari rice, rapini, egg
shitake, kombu, wakame, chicken
Watching the soup course prepare itself at the table was an experience. The liquid at the bottom boils and rises to the top where the it infuses with the ingredients at the top. The mixture is then filtered back down to create a concentrated broth.
Vermillion River Blue
cherry, honeycomb, pine nut
While labeled as a blue cheese, there was not an overpowering sense of the “moldy” taste. In fact, we liked this one so much we ordered a second serving. The Rainier Cherries were appreciated, something I miss from my Seattle days.
Key Lime Pie
The ice cream drizzle was done table side and the result tasted like a soufflé in a cup. Hidden in the back was a syrupy caramel macaroon.
No visit to Alexander’s Steakhouse is complete without their cotton candy.
The meal closed with a little palate cool down.
Alexander’s Steakhouse lived up to my expectations, but in a different way. I went in thinking the meal would be a parade of beef courses but was pleasantly surprised by the mix. I would absolutely return, likely with the in-laws, and order off the regular menu. And of course I will be dropping by for some cocktails.