Alexander's Steakhouse
 
 

Michelin pedigree, Japanese elegance, and world-class steaks

By Karen Young

This isn’t exactly a casual night out. Set in the foreground of Pasadena’s historic City Hall stands Alexander’s Steakhouse, a much-lauded recent arrival that traces its roots back to an original Michelin-starred location in the Bay Area. With gracious service as its calling card, this ambitious restaurant marries modern steakhouse flair with an elegant take on Japanese fusion.

Unless you had caviar for breakfast or own your own herd of Angus, a meal here is probably a splurge—but if you’re not holding anything back, neither is Alexander’s. Delicious “gifts” are delivered throughout the meal, from the amuse bouche to the refreshing palate cleanser to the swirl of cotton candy that comes as a good-bye treat. The airy location, situated among sleek gardens and fountains, echoes the same throw-budget-to-the-wind mindset, its several dining rooms liberally spaced with cushy chairs and tables covered in white linens. A glass wine room houses an award-winning collection, while the adjoining bar, the Bull & Barrell, is a great place to start out with a glass of stellar whiskey or Scotch.

Executive chef Matt Bata creates Alexander’s uniquely refined global cuisine in the tiled open kitchen, complete with a wood-burning grill and customized chef’s table for six. Specialties include 28-day dry-aged steaks, including a spectacular 18-ounce bone-in New York, and corn-fed, Certified Angus Beef from the Midwest. Most impressive, however, is the selection of Japanese Wagyu beef—the largest in Southern California, and including the prized Shiga Ohmi variety.
Steaks are accompanied by six salts, including Jurassic (mined from a deposit that dates back over 150 million years) and kala namak, which amusingly adds an “egg” taste to steak. Sauces feature such eclectic ingredients as yuzu, shiso, marrow, truffle, and harissa, while indulgent add-ons include foie gras and king crab Oscar.

The menu offers ocean trout, venison loin, and crispy duck breast under the heading “Not Steak,” but the real co-stars here are a striking collection of starters, like the dry-aged tataki with barley-miso vinaigrette and argan emulsion, hamachi shots splashed with dashi ponzu sauce, and an heirloom tomato salad with slivers of sweet melon and goat’s milk cheese. For similarly stunning sides, look to the truffle-fried potatoes and eryngii mushrooms grilled with a tart citrus vinaigrette.

The top-flight bar program by James Beard–nominee Erik Lund (Republique, Rivera, and MessHall) delivers precision craft cocktails, and to bring things to a close, pastry chef Gail Romulo delights with a mix of sweet and savory desserts. In particular, her sweet corn brûlée with corn flake crunch, crème fraîche ice cream, and blueberries is a daring surprise not to be missed. If it seems extravagant, it is—but there’s no watching your waistline here. Just go with it, and enjoy a meal you won’t soon forget.

hours

Dinner: Mon–Thu 5:30 PM–9:30 PM; Fri–Sat 5:30 PM–10:30 PM; Sun 5:30 PM–9 PM
Social hours: Mon-Fri 5 PM–6:30 PM

price range

$9 (uni tamago) to $350 (2 lb. Washugyu Wagyu Tomahawk)
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