By CANDICE MERRILL
9:43 pm | August 18, 2015
Like a good steak? How about a great steak? If several cuts above the ordinary is your goal then Alexander’s Steakhouse is your destination. Located a ribeye’s throw away from City Hall (where McCormick and Schmick used to be) it’s the newest steakhouse to hit the Crown City.
From the moment you walk in the door your nose will tell you that this is not your average steakhouse. The place smells of fresh wood smoke and the kitchen is open so patrons can watch the chefs work their magic.
The menu will also give you a clue that this is not your every day steakhouse. They’ve got a tasting menu with eight courses or an a la carte menu with a dizzying array of domestic steaks, dry-aged Greater Omaha Prime and the largest selection of Wagyu I’ve ever seen. The offerings definitely have a Japanese theme to them with starters of Hamachi Shots (an Alexander’s specialty), Dry-Aged Tataki, and Shishito Peppers.
We began our meal with the Hamachi Shots, which was fresh Japanese Amber Jack layered with dashi, avocado, fresno chili, ponzu, negi and arare. It is served in a shot glass which is placed on ice. Give it a stir and shoot it down. The mixture of fresh, tart, heat, salt and creamy is a delicious taste medley and woke up my taste buds.
A basket of homemade bread was brought to our table. I don’t usually mention the bread but OMG this was the bomb! Three different types of housemade bread (Japanese milk bread, Manchego cheese rolls and Squid Ink Bread) and three types of butter (sweet butter, marrow butter with a touch of honey, and rendered beef fat) made up the selections. I loved the Manchego cheese rolls, they were soft and tender and had plenty of toasted cheese, the Japanese milk bread was also delicious, nice and soft and squishy with a sweet taste. The squid ink bread had a deep flavor and was a lovely black color. The spreads were an experience in themselves with the butter having a high butter-fat content and a very creamy texture, the marrow butter with it’s slightly sweet taste and the rendered beef fat had a distinctive beef flavor.
Next up was a plate of Dry-Aged Tataki which was thinly sliced beef, seared on the outside and rare on the inside. It was served in combination with burdock root (thistle), charred onion ponzu, egg yolk and negi (green onion). The beef was so tender and played well with the tart ponzu and creamy egg yolk. Scrumptious, yummy, delish; you get the picture.
A bowl of Brentwood Corn Soup came next with a big corn taste and a delightful smoky flavor, it was served over cured beef tongue and topped with a pine nut gremolata. If you like barbecued corn, you’ll love this soup.
Colorful, juicy heirloom tomatoes made the base of the next salad. Creamy squares of lemon yogurt flavored with Sumac dotted the plate along with rich avocado, shiso and fresh wasabi. What a delicious and refreshing salad.
I bet you’re thinking “what about the steaks?”, I’m getting to them. My companion order his favorite prime rib, but Alexander’s did it one better by serving Cab (Certified Angus Beef) beef. The prime rib comes in a 12 ounce and 20 ounce cut. My companion opted for the smaller of the two. The plate was full of succulent prime rib surrounded with a natural jus. Creamed and freshly grated horseradish was served with the dish. The beef was succulent, cooked to a perfect medium rare and delicious.
Since I had never tried Wagyu Beef I decided on the Imperial Wagyu which is from the US with a Wagyu texture and an Angus beef flavor. Wagyu comes in three ounce cuts and that’s plenty. It is served with an assortment of salts, since the meat is brought to the table unadorned. The meat is extremely buttery, with plenty of marbling. The taste is unique, it’s beefy but it’s also very rich. If you’ve never tried Wagyu and want to give it a try I recommend the Imperial Wagyu it’s a nice balance between rich and meaty.
We also order two side dishes: Macaroni and Cheese and Eryngi Mushroom. The Mac and Cheese was sinfully rich with udon noodles, caramelized mornay and truffle panko. The Eryngi (King Oyster) Mushrooms were sautéed with roasted garlic, thyme and lemon vinaigrette. Big and meaty, the mushrooms would be a good choice for vegetarian patrons.
We also tried a trio of the many sauces offered with the steaks: Bearnaise, Bordelaise and Truffle Beurre Fondue. All were delicious but so is the steak and needs little adornment. I suggest just one sauce or as I like steak best: topped with bleu cheese (which you can order too).
We did share a dessert. It was a chocolate-lovers dream with different textures of chocolate: creamy, crunchy, light, dark, pearls, and the most scrumptious marrow caramel and maldon sea salt sherbet. Quite simply one of the best chocolate desserts I’ve tasted.
For those of you along for the ride and not that fond of steak, Alexander’s also has a large selection of what the restaurant calls “Not Steak” that includes pork, trout, lobster, chicken and shortrib and as I’ve indicated if you’re a vegetarian some of the sides and starters will fit the bill.
Alexander’s Steakhouse is located at 111 N. Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena. For reservations call (626) 486-1111 or visit www.alexanderssteakhouse.com/pasadena/welcome.
They are open for social hour: Monday – Friday, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Dinner: Monday – Thursday, 5:30 – 9:30 p.m., Friday – Saturday, 5:30 – 10:30 p.m. and Sunday, 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.