Peter Dills: Alexander’s Steakhouse Gets to the Meat of the Matter, and It’s Worth It

Thursday, January 18, 2018 | 6:15 pm

When I first stepped foot in Pasadena in the early 1970’s there were just a handful of restaurants, and fewer steakhouses.  If memory serves, there was the Western, Steer and Stein, Monty’s, and of course Sizzler on Arroyo Parkway (yes, some considered that a steakhouse).

Fast forward to 2018 and my, how times have changed! I sometimes think that Pasadena is the new Mecca for the beloved Cow!! There’s not enough space in this article to name all the steakhouses, but some are better than others.

I often wonder, as I am sure you do, is the meat coming from the same source, what is the best 2%, and if it’s so special how come it’s everyone’s claim to fame?  Grass Fed?  Corn fed?  Bone in? Boneless?  For me, the way to go is dry aged. One of the best steaks I ever made at home was from a supermarket 50% off section.

So, what is the best steakhouse in Pasadena?

Well, it might not be a “traditional” steakhouse that serves clam chowder or gives you a bread basket!  Alexander’s Steakhouse makes its home at the old McCormick and Schmicks location on North Los Robles – it has the same floor plan (picture a 60’s James Bond Movie Geisha set with a Nuevo Art deco feel). Getting to the meat of the matter, a steak can run as much three digits, but before you think I’ve lost my touch with the everyday working class, I’ve said time and time again if you enjoy a meal it’s worth it.  Alexander’s is a special occasion restaurant, but I am not just talking anniversaries or birthdays; I am talking about life.  You deserve to give it a try.

The menu is divided into six sections starting with “For the table” (appetizers) and ending with Steaks – quite straightforward, I would say.  I posted a few pictures on Facebook and a few comments there suggested Japanese Fusion.  I’ve never been to Japan, but if that helps describe the menu, let’s use that term.

Daughter Lauren and I loved the restaurant from start to finish.  We started off with Hamachi Shots and dry aged tataki (explaining the ingredients and the menu descriptions would just be confusing, so just enjoy the ride like we did). Next up was Foie PB & J – yes, duck liver with peanut butter and jelly (my suggestion is to accept the bread service and put it on some bread, it’s quite good).

I think the hit of the night was the little gem salad with romaine, let’s call it a close cousin of the Caesar with some kick to it. I am coming back just for this salad, it was that good.

For you seafood lovers, the swordfish is line-caught off the coast of Monterey and cooked to perfection. However, we are land lovers and that what makes Alexander’s stand high above the crowd.  I have seen Wagyu steaks on menus at LA restaurants that are US-raised, but at Alexander’s they have the real deal. All Wagyu is imported from Japan except for the Imperial Wagyu; Japanese Wagyu is graded A5  –  ask your server for the definition.  Whether it’s chicken, pork, or steak I think the bone gives you the most tenderness, and the 18 oz. T-bone steak is a winner.  Grilled in their open kitchen, it was so good I see-sawed about whether to finish it or take it home.  My decision came easily since we also tried a variety of pre-main-course suggestions.

The sides are traditional in name only; we had the blue lake green beans.  The restaurant has a full bar with extensive wine list, and is only open for dinner.  If you are a foodie, steak lover, or just want a special night out, I gave it two thumbs up.

What Else You Need to Know:

Peter-DillsAlexander’s offers valet or underground parking.

111 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena (626) 486-1111

Join me every Saturday afternoon on KRLA the ANSWER and AM 830 KLAA on Sunday at 5 p.m., reach me at diningwithdills@gmail.com

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