Second appetizer: roasted corn blini with smoked salmon, sour cream, and trout roe, paired on the plate with a "green gazpacho" aperitif (vodka and cucumber with some basil and mint muddled in.) The green gazpacho is a little strong on the vodka for Lucie (and I can only finish ¾ of it myself), but the blini is amazing… the blini itself is soft, the smoked salmon is mild and flaky, and the caviar offers tiny little bursts of salty goodness that compliment the fish and contrast with the creaminess of the sour cream.
Third appetizer: gratin of lobster and eggplant -- the topping is actually egg whites and a few other ingredients instead of cheese; a quick run under the salamander browns it and gives it a cheese-like consistency without all the lactose side effects. Nestled on top of the gratin are a small pile of crispy eggplant chips for texture.
Course 1: seared tuna with caviar and uni butter -- also served with shiitake mushroom and some fresh wasabi (real wasabi, not that fake horseradish stuff you get with cheap sushi.) This is the first time I've had seared tuna at a restaurant that wasn't overcooked all the way through; this was perfectly crispy on the bottom and raw on the top half, just like it should be. Paired with this is a small glass of Gewürztraminer grape juice that is sweet without being overpowering, and beats the heck out of anything in a Welch’s bottle. Other than the main course, this is my favorite dish.
Course 1.5: a baby greens salad mixed with crispy prosciutto and champagne vinaigrette, topped with tiger prawns wrapped in phyllo and fried; small dollops of garlic aioli on the phyllo prawns remind me why the words “garlic” and “aioli” make such a wonderful couple. This is Lucie's favorite dish (also not counting the main course.)
Course 2: puff pastry with poached egg and hollandaise sauce, placed over a tempura batter crouton. Chef Stout comes out and shaves some summer truffles over the dish as part of the preparation. Lucie confesses that she thought about stealing some of the truffle to bring home, but ate it all instead. The next time we’re in
Course 3: arctic char (a type of fish, sort of between salmon and trout) with popcorn (yes, popcorn) and rosemary, topped with creme fraiche and a reduced port wine and truffle sauce. Scott is as bemused as we are about the addition of popcorn to the dish, but works out well, adding some saltiness to the sweetness of the reduction sauce.
"Intermezzo": what they call a "strawberry snow cone" to cleanse the palate -- strawberry sorbet made in-house and topped with crushed ice. Simple, fresh, and oh so very sweet.
And then, our main course. Scott brings out our servings of
Dessert is a simple plate of raspberry sorbet with fresh fruit (watermelon, blueberries, and raspberries) over a relish made with diced cucumbers and strawberries mixed with mint. I order a cappuccino to go with it… maybe I’m crazy, but I could swear that the cappuccino is made with Kona coffee.
As with all Alexander's Steakhouse clients, we also receive the whimsical freebie dessert of cotton candy as well -- two flavors, banana and grape. I’ve never had cotton candy that didn't taste like, well, cotton candy before; score one for the gourmet cotton candy machine in the kitchen!
Scott brings us the check (just sign; don’t look… just sign; don’t look…) and offers to take us on a guided tour of the restaurant and the kitchens. We accept, and he gives us a little bit of history of the place (what there is of it, since it only opened in 2005) along with some good commentary on the dry aged beef they serve in addition to the Wagyu as he leads us through the kitchens, through various private dining rooms (unoccupied tonight, since it’s the middle of the week), past four huge wine closets holding over 2,500 bottles of wine, past a humidor where customers can order cigars to smoke on the patio with dessert on summer nights, and past the locked case holding such liquors as the Hennessy Ellipse (only 1000 bottles made, only a dozen or so in the U.S., and costing $500 per shot.)