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beef dessert Northern California reviews steak

Birthday Dinner @ Alexander’s Steakhouse

I’ve raved about Alexander’s Steakhouse before and have been trying to manufacture excuses to go back. My birthday was as good a reason as any to make my return. My previous post has all the background info on Alexander’s, so let’s cut to the chase.

We were greeted with a nice amuse of cold sunchoke soup with crouton.


Amuse - Cold Sunchoke Coup

I started off with my usual Hamachi Shot of Grade 5 hamachi, red chili, frizzled ginger, avocado, truffled ponzu, which was a great way to get your head in the game and start off the meal. It’s $4 for one and a six pack is $20.

Hamachi Shot

Next up were our appetizers. I ordered the “Steak and Eggs,” which was carpaccio, quail egg, deviled egg, and vegetable salpicon. The presentation was a little fussy, and I really wasn’t sure how I was supposed to eat it. In the end, it was really good, but I don’t think I’d order it again.

"Steak and Eggs"

My wife ordered the Smoked Salmon Pastrami served with Boursin cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and toasted rye bread. She made these into open-face sandwiches that were delicious, although I found the sauerkraut a little subtle. Still, if this is on the menu next time we go back, I think we’d have to get this again.

Smoked Salmon Pastrami

Before our entrees came out, we had an intermezzo—a watermelon shooter with cucumber foam. I normally hate cucumbers (it’s a texture thing), but as a foam, I thought it was great and complemented the watermelon really well.

Intermezzo-Watermelon Shooter with Cucumber Foam

I was really torn about what to order for the main course. I knew it was going to be steak, but there’s so many options on the menu. Do I go with the 10 oz. filet mignon with shiitakes, scallions and candied bacon? Or how about the 2 lb. bone-in ribeye with barbecue demi glace and roasted tomatoes? The Melange had been reconfigured since my last visit and featured a filet steak with green olives and bleu cheese and a Kobe patty melt panini to go with the braised shortrib and brie en cocotte. In the end, I decided on the 28 oz. dry-aged porterhouse with black truffle mousseline. (I requested the mousseline on the side and it got cropped out of the picture.)

28oz Porterhouse

It was cooked to a perfect medium rare (as it should be), and I really loved the filet section of the porterhouse.

My wife ordered the pan-roasted halibut with beurre noisette of porcini, butternut squash, chestnuts, and brussels sprouts. Alexander’s might be a steakhouse, but their seafood is also excellent.


Pan Roasted Halibut

We both ordered dessert, but I also received a complimentary peanut butter chocolate mousse cake, so the table got a bit crowded. Every knows that peanut butter and chocolate are two great tastes that go great together, and this little birthday cake was no exception.

Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

Continuing with the peanut theme, my wife had the Peanut Gallery, which was an assortment of peanut-based desserts, including peanut brittle, peanut butter chocolate mousse, caramel ice cream, and some chocolate popcorn with peanut butter powder, which was the best thing on the plate. The crunchy saltiness of the popcorn combined with the subtle sweetness of the chocolate and the little hit of peanut butter from the powder was pure bliss.

Peanut Gallery

I had the Midnight Train, which was like a deconstructed tiramisu. I forgot to get more exact details about this dessert, but from what I remember it was a tiramisu cheesecake topped with meringue cookies, caramelized sugar strips, whipped cream and lemon zest.

Midnight Train

Overall, it was a great meal to celebrate a late 30s birthday. My wife’s birthday is in a couple months…maybe I can convince her to go back for her birthday, too.

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beef grilling Northern California recipes Southern California steak

Summer Grilling – Steaks

I love grilled meat, but I love it even more in the summertime. This past 4th of July, we had a mini family reunion, and as usual, I was asked to grill some meat. I wanted to keep it simple, so I grilled some New York Strips and did an easy BBQ chicken recipe that I’ve been using for years.


finished steak

Steaks are pretty easy to make, and I don’t see why people are so amazed when I grill them. I had five steaks to work with, so I decided to do two different preparations. Three steaks were rubbed with olive oil to coat and then seasoned with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper on both sides. On the other two steaks, I used Emeril’s Southwest Essence as a rub. I don’t normally use Emeril’s products, but we had the bottle buried in our pantry, so I thought I’d use it. It worked out really nicely.

Classic Grilled New York Steaks

INGREDIENTS
New York Steaks
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
Olive Oil (approx 1 tbsp. per steak)


Classic Steak

DIRECTIONS

  1. One hour before grillling, remove steaks from the refrigerator so they can get up to room temperature.
  2. Rub each steak with olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle each side of steak with kosher salt

Southwest New York Strips

INGREDIENTS
Emeril’s Southwest Essence (or use your favorite rub)
New York Steaks


Southwest Steak

DIRECTIONS

  1. The night before you grill, pat the steaks dry with a paper towel.
  2. Sprinkle rub mixture on steaks so that there’s an even coating on all sides.
  3. One hour before grilling, remove steaks from refrigerator so they can get up to room temperature.

COOKING TIMES

For medium rare, I generally cook the steaks for 4 minutes per side. Add or subtract a minute depending on your desired doneness. If you want to make cross-hatched grill marks on the meat, turn the steaks 90 degrees after 2 minutes.

To check for doneness more accurately, use a digital instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature of the meat (med. rare is somewhere between 130-135 degrees)