Alexander’s is one big wink to the steakhouse genre. Given the bull’s silhouette on the signage, the brick-and-glass exterior suggests an evening spent with a baked potato and a massive porterhouse. But one look at the menu, where ingredients like sea beans and matsutake abound, and it becomes clear that tradition is about to be upended. As the bartender points out, Alexander’s is a “Japanese restaurant that happens to serve steak.” Chef Jeffrey Stout’s prime rib is indeed a classic slab of tender beef, served in its own jus with horseradish on the side—but, in a nod to his Japanese heritage, he pairs it with a hamachi sushi “shot.” There are short ribs, but here they come tempura-fried; in addition to creamed spinach, there are truffle-buttered edamame and miso eggplant. Likewise, Johnny Slamon’s extensive, globe-spanning wine list offers familiar steakhouse staples (read: cabernet) peppered with intriguing options—say, a duo of Rioja blancos from López de Heredía or an array of German rieslings. Add in a notable sake list and a collection of artisan cocktails that make generous use of Japanese whiskeys, and it’s clear this isn’t your dad’s steakhouse.
448 Brannan (at 3rd St.), San Francisco, California
This story appears in the print issue of October 2011.
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