A once tucked away, secret of Silicon Valley, Alexander’s Steakhouse is now one among many trendy spots along the new Main Street, Cupertino. Those familiar with the restaurant’s history may remember the days when it boasted a Michelin Star, from 2011 to 2013. The loss of that star, now almost four years ago, did little to mar the elegant dining standards and the upscale reputation Alexander’s Steakhouse worked so hard to achieve. But a change of venue, just within this past year, has meant a change in attitude. And one has to wonder if that change has affected restaurant experience for better or worse — if at all.
Walk into the restaurant and you’re still greeted with a mini-butcher scenario. Take a look at the different cuts — from a casual London broil to the most expensive of wagyu. The display is a testament to the fine produce Alexander sources and the respect with which the chef’s treat that produce with every meal prepared.
Off to the side is a casual bar scene where passersby can grab a quick drink or patrons can enjoy a slow cocktail while they wait for their table. The cocktail list includes everything from the classics to Alexander’s signature creations — but it’s a full bar, so fee free to craft your own.
The dining room leaves much to be desired. The simple table decor is fine enough, but it’s the volume of tables that they’ve pushed into the space that takes away from that secluded, intimate feeling from the old space. And, unfortunately, during my visit there were a few parties with tables slammed together with children wandering the dining room and, well, doing what children do.
The wine list is a small novel that contains numerous wines from every major wine producing region. Luckily, Alexander’s staffs knowledgeable servers that can answer your most basic or most wine-nerdy inquiries.
As can be expected, the wines are not cheap. The half-bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir I ordered was just under $100. Was it worth it? Well it was delicious — subtle, delicate, almost Burgundian — and it paired well with each of my three courses.
Don’t pass it up — foie gras’ legality is always in flux. This fun little appetizer is chilled foie gras, surrounded by an apple glaze, and dipped in nuts. You’ll never look at a candy apple the same again.
What I loved was the creamy, almost ice-creamy, texture. But it was more savory than sweet and the perfect way to wet the appetite. ($3 per pop)
Grilled octopus? Yes please. Perfectly cooked with a teriyaki-like sauce, I could nibble on these all day. The downfall of the dish is that sticky fried rice on the bottom. It’s dense, chewy, and does little to add any flavor. Instead, enjoy these bites with the bits of veggies served on the side. ($22)
I know. Go to a steakhouse and not order steak. But Alexander’s does it right and the Chilean Sea Bass is probably the best example of this. The fish is cooked to perfection — firm in texture, but flakes away forkful by forkful. The broth is quite subtle in its flavors, but does just enough to keep the fish warm and juicy. The added component of the mixed vegetables and noodles adds a freshness and much needed crunch-factor. Bonus point: this is one of the restaurants more affordable meals. ($45)
At the end of the day the food really is good and, I’d say, worth the price of admission. My only qualm would have to be the atmosphere — both interiorly and exteriorly. It’s just too casual, too laissez-fare for the quality of food they’re serving. If I could pick up the new venue and move it back to the old I would; if I could pick up the old-school service — complete with a dedicated sommelier, a “bread-guy,” and even designated “water boy” — and put it back I would certainly do that too. It’s those tiny details that makes you feel like your couple hundred bucks are going towards something meaningful.
19379 Stevens Creek Blvd Cupertino, California 95014; 408.446.2222; alexanderssteakhouse.com
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