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Hubs and I celebrated our first year of marriage on August 16th with a fancy pants dinner at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino.  Hub’s little sister had given him a gift card to Alexander’s Steakhouse for his birthday, so we canceled our plans for dinner in San Francisco and made reservations for this well-known, well-reviewed steakhouse that we probably would have never visited on our own.

Alexander's entry

**It doesn’t look like it, but the restaurant was very dimly lit…think candles and low lights for ambiance.  Thus, some of the pictures I took ended up blurry.  Despite having opened up the aperture all the way, I still ended up having to shoot with shutter speeds of 2 seconds.  Its pretty hard to hold a camera perfectly still for 2 seconds, but I tried! **

The menu at Alexander’s Steakhouse is pretty straightforward and just four pages long.  Steaks will run you about $40-50 a person, unless you select the waygu cuts, which start at $100 each.  Did I mention this place is $$$$?  The steak entrees are just “steak on a plate and nothing else,” as our server informed us.  Sides of potatoes, rice or veggies are extra and have to be ordered separately.

Alexander's menu

Upon hearing that it was our first year anniversary, our server poured us two glasses of sparkling sweet berry lemonade so that we’d have something to toast with, which was a nice and unexpected touch.

Bread service included slices of sourdough bread, Parmesan crisps and what looked like rye bread with walnuts.  The bread was accompanied by coarse sea salt and whipped butter topped with chives, delicious!  I didn’t try the rye as I’m a big fan of sourdough and focused my attention on that.  The sourdough bread was tasty, but run of the mill.  Hubs loved the Parmesan crisps.  I agreed but also thought they were a tad bit oily, which might have been normal considering the main ingredient.

Alexander's bread

First the amuse bouche, compliments of the chef:

Alexander's amuse bouche

A gazpacho with a Vietnamese twist.  There were tiny chunks of shrimp and seafood, alongside cilantro, a hint of fish sauce, cucumber, daikon slivers, and other ingredients I couldn’t identify.  Mixed together in a tiny, yet elegant shot glass, this was a delicious start to the meal.  It smelled so appetizing and was definitely one of the highlights of the meal.  I could have eaten a whole bowl of this.

Next, the much anticipated hamachi shot.  Numerous reviews on Yelp had stressed that hamachi shots are “must haves” at Alexander’s, and I was determined to order this.  They normally come in a six-pack, but because I didn’t know if I would like it, I asked the server if I could just order a single hamachi shot.  The server hesitated, but happily, the kitchen was able to oblige.

Alexander's hamachi shot

The hamachi shots come served in a tiny glass, identical to the one which held the gazpacho.  A fork is provided to help “loosen” the ingredients from the glass, then you throw it back, like taking a shot, and consume all the ingredients in one bite.  The resulting flavors are amazing.  The hamachi itself is melt-in-your-mouth tender, smooth and silky.  The accompanying truffled ponzu sauce, chili, avocado, ginger and cilantro lend to the complexities of flavors that make eating this dish a delight. It was savory, salty, and the flavors just intensified and changed with each bite.  I would definitely get the six-pack next time.

Hubs had requested the popcorn crab, another great choice. Jumbo lump crab meat was lightly breaded, tempura fried, and accompanied with a sansho and sriracha mayonnaise dip.  We are both crab lovers and were impressed by this hot appetizer.  The crab meat was tender, fresh and lightly seasoned.  Although it had been fried, it actually tasted “light” and not overly oily.  The sriracha mayo was a nice accompaniment and helped emphasize the mild sweetness of the crab.

Alexander's popcorn crab

Due to the large serving size of popcorn crab, Hubs and I were full after the appetizers were finished…and we hadn’t even reached our main course yet!

Our steaks took a long time to cook, which we were kind of expecting, but after waiting over an hour after the appetizers were cleared out, I started to get antsy.  Our waiter had not stopped by since the appetizers were served either, not even to let us know that the food was still being prepared. This was a bit of a downer and one of the critiques I have on Alexander’s Steakhouse.  I really thought they had forgotten about us.  Seeing other tables who were seated after us finish their meals and desserts and leave didn’t help matters any.

Right before our entrees were served, one of the servers came by with an intermezzo, a lovely watermelon, strawberry and citrus puree to cleanse our palates.  It was surprisingly refreshing.

Alexander's intermezzo

I ordered the 2+ pounds bone-in rib eye with barbeque sauce, roasted onion and aged cheddar grits.  Needless to say, it was huge!  The server said to eat it by dipping the meat in the barbeque sauce and then in the aged cheddar grits.  It was indeed better this way.

Alexander's rib-eye

Unfortunately, the cheddar grits, and not the steak, was probably my favorite thing on the plate.  The cheddar grits had a soft, creamy texture and just oozed comfort.  I had asked for medium-well on the rib-eye, but it tasted well done, a bit tough and charred.  Without the barbeque sauce and cheddar grits, the meat itself did not have much flavor, nor was it tender or juicy, which was a big disappointment.  I ended up eating less than a fifth of the meat and brought the rest home, thinking I’d salvage it somehow and use it in another dish.

Hubs ordered the 10 ounce fillet mignon “a la diane.”  It came topped with a savory sauce and shitake mushrooms.  Unlike my rib eye, his filet mignon was flavorful, tender, and just plain good.  I tried a piece and was struck by the amount of flavor that little piece of meat had.  Not the best pic below as it was pretty dark by now and we took the pic with flash, but you get the idea.

Alexander's filet mignon

Since our server had stressed the need to order a side dish, we got a side of smashed red potatoes.  I was taken aback by how small the bowl of potatoes was but did enjoy this dish.  It was well-seasoned with lemon, oregano, chives, olive oil and salt.  Hubs is not a potato-lover, but even he kept going back to this dish.

At the end of the meal, we were given a complimentary dessert acknowledging our anniversary.

Alexander's anniversary treat

Alexander's anniversary treat2

Along with the check came a huge fluffy cloud of cotton candy on a cone.  Reminiscent of childhood and county fairs, it was a fun and lighthearted end to the meal.

Alexander’s Steakhouse
10330 N Wolfe Rd
Cupertino, CA 95014