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Early Critics Weigh in on Alexander's Steakhouse

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Since mid-September, chef Jeffrey Stout -- who happens to be part Japanese -- has been delivering his riffs on Certified Angus Beef® and Japanese interpretations of steakhouse favorites to the SoMa hungry. This is the second outpost of Cupertino's well-liked, five-year-old Alexander's Steakhouse, now filling in for Bacar -- so it enjoyed a bit of hype in the pre-opening period. Now a chunk of the blog- , newsletter- and user-generated-content has been filed. Considering his recent steakhouse streak, Bauer isn't far behind. So let's pause for a moment and reflect on what's been written to date.

The Steak News: Here's a recap of FoodNut's ribeye:

"Dry aged bone-in ribeye steak ($46) 14 ounce, smoky blue cheese fondue, blue cheese powder, was cooked to a perfect medium rare. Huge, juicy, and excellent. You could taste the high quality dry aged meat. This steak was a bit on the salty side when combined with the blue cheese sauce, so if you are not a salt fan, tell him to go easy."
Unfortunately, Virginia Miller ate a mess up: "Porterhouse Steak. At a whopping $58 it really better be perfect...We asked for medium rare but the massive steak came out about a third of it dry, virtually medium-well, the pink remainder more at a medium." Still most Yelpers are along the lines of Shaun C.: "they do steaks very well, maybe even better than anyone else." [FoodNut, Perfect Spot, Yelp]

The Compared-To-Cupertino News: - Food Nut notices some differences: "Alexander’s is expensive, with the cheapest steak costing $37. The menu is quite a bit different and in some ways limited compared to the Cupertino location. Several classics from Cupertino are missing. No truffle fries, mac and cheese, or popcorn crab! An expensive $155 five course tasting menu available. Japanese and American influences are clearly visible. Limited selections for vegetarians." [FoodNut]

The Good News: Virginia Miller of The Perfect Spot has a favorite: "Hamachi Shots ($4 each or $22 for six)! Silky hamachi in a glass with avocado, ginger, serrano and lime in a truffled ponzu sauce? The highlight of the menu for me." Alexander's also touts a 4.5 star Yelp rating, with lots of reports like Stephen Y.'s: ABSOLUTELY A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!! 5-stars all around... service, food, ambience. Great experience with a grape- flavored cotton candy exclamation point!" [The Perfect Spot, Yelp]

The Dessert News: Yelp's Cherylynn had the Cookies n' Cream: "GOOD, but nothing to rave about...I'm not sure how this dessert has a description of "cookies and cream" when nothing about it was reminiscent of it." But there's a lot of praise out there for some other sweet endings, like the Tropic Thunder: "their take on mango/sticky rice only 20 times better. Fantastic!" [Yelp]

The Cocktail News: BunRab weighs in with some words on the list which "reads differently than it drinks." But they seemed to like how things end up: "the balanced blends in her lucious 'lixirs are seriously sippable." The Perfect Spot adds: "I appreciate Jessamine [McLellan]’s vision. "While not all cocktails taste as exciting as they sound, all I sampled have thoughtful intention behind them, with a good sense of balance and possibility. I value her culinary approach to cocktails, accentuated by a wine background (she’s also a certified sommelier). There’s more here to try? she is a bartender to watch." [BunRab, Perfect Spot]

The Service News: Most of Inside Scoop's First Word report is purely descriptive, but there is this bit: "servers are numerous, almost to point of being overwhelming." While Ms. Miller says, "I was impressed not only by relaxed, yet attentive, informed service, but also by the fact that all management and waitstaff are working towards or have a sommelier certification. This shows in the adept skill with which our waiter (not the somm or master somm) selected our wine pairings. They work as a seamless team, each ensuring our comfort, yet never overbearing." [ISSF, Perfect Spot]

The Pricey News: FoodNut says, "The prices at Alexander’s are expensive, making this a special occasion place. Do not come here trying to skimp, save up instead...You may end up with a meat coma. It is one of the best steakhouses in the San Francisco along side places like Harris’ and House of Prime Rib." And nocharge of Chowhound wonders: "Not sure how this concept will work out with the astronomical price point in this location and with an ambience that is a bit more urban than that of many traditional steakhouses. Still, this place has way more interesting dishes than your standard Morton's-class, shrimp-cocktails-and-steak menu and I really find that very refreshing." [FoodNut, Chowhound]

Have you been to Alexander's Steakhouse and do you have an opinion to share? Please feel free to be open and honest here in the comments or send something in over the EaterWire.

· All Previous Alexander's Steakhouse Coverage [~ ESF ~]

[Photo: ISSF]

Alexander's Steakhouse

448 Brannan Street, San Francisco, CA