Known for serving high-end Japanese beef at its Cupertino, Mountain View, and San Francisco restaurant locations, Alexander’s Steakhouse is expanding into more casual territory today with the opening of ALX Gastropub in SoMa. The idea, says executive chef Jessie Lugo, is to do “fast casual — still with the standards that Alexander’s has — but with more approachable, lower price point food.” Enter ALX Gastropub, at 680 Folsom Street, Suite 125 — a big new space between 2nd and 3rd Streets within striking distance of Moscone Center, SFMOMA, and more.
While Lugo wanted to make ALX more approachable, per the shortened, cool kid name, she “didn’t want to cheapen the Alexander’s brand by making just a less expensive steakhouse.”
“I think you can do finer dining, with casual food done in an elegant, elevated way, whether it’s by technique behind the scenes or flavor combination.”
That means plenty of deluxe ingredients and elements. One example: A “Foie-gyu Burger” with sun-dried tomato jam and camembert cheese, the foie gras emulsified right into the wagyu beef burger for a $35 treat. Salads, flat breads, and shared items like goat cheese tater tots with homemade ketchup and pickle mayo are more affordably priced from $8 to $15. The entire menu is online here.
Lugo, who worked her way through the Alexander’s Steakhouse restaurant family, was granted a great deal of control over the ALX Gastropub project. Her first decision as executive chef was to hire Emily Lim, “one of my best friends,” to be executive sous chef.
To drink, beverage director Barry Horton put together a menu of beer (mostly local) and wine (an emphasis is placed on Napa) plus cocktails that will change with the seasons and feature ALX’s own barrel-aged spirits. One seasonally appropriate cocktail to try now: A “Stone Cold Summer” with scotch, homemade peach syrup, lemons, bitters, and soda water.
D-Scheme Studio designed the cavernous 5,525 square foot space, which is half 40-seat lounge area and 40 seat dining room, plus a 16-seat bar (with TVs tuned to sports). There’s also a private dining room with a capacity of 40. A big mural on the restaurant’s western wall depicts two ballerinas dancing with a ribbon. The work, by native San Franciscan artist Missy M., connects the lounge and dining room areas — and, thematically, offers a feminine sensibility often lacking in, you know, steakhouses.
ALX Gastropub is open for lunch from Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Happy hour is available Monday to Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. and dinner is served nightly from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.