Alexander's Steakhouse, Cupertino, CA
This has been one of the hottest spots in the South Bay recently. Located on the former grounds of the Vallco El Torito (10330 North Wolfe Road, 408-446-2222), Alexander's is actually - as they put it - a "fine dining interpretation of the classic American steakhouse with hints of Japanese influence laced into the menu." The menu was complete with everything from mashed potatoes and wedge salads to hot stones and even an omakaze option. Clearly steak was the main draw here though, with many cuts around $40, as well as extreme Miyazaki beef options ranging from $175 to $250, depending on the cut.
I was a bit torn. Having just had the most amazing beef in Kobe itself a couple weeks ago, I could have backed off this time and gone for a "normal" cut of beef instead, especially since this Miyazaki beef was literally two times the price of the already budget-breaking price I paid in Kobe. And yet, I also figured that I knew how far that extra money could go, based upon that Kobe experience. Sitting on the fence right up to the point when the waiter asked me what I wanted, I took the plunge and went for the New York cut of the Miyazaki, the cheapest of the three Miyazaki options. Besides, I figured that maybe the price was more expensive because it was of better quality (and/or more quantity) than what I got in Kobe.
When it arrived, my heart sunk. Indeed, the cut was so small that I immediately muttered, "I'm going to need more food." Sure, the premium was partially justified as the marbled fat melted away in your mouth. But there were one or two pieces that were mildly tougher than I would have thought for this kind of price, and I wasn't a big fan of having sauce drizzled over it either. In contrast, my neighbor's prime rib - one of the cheapest cuts on the menu, mind you - was much more down to earth and simply tasted great.
Nonetheless, I was very impressed with the restaurant itself, with its impeccable service and snazzy decor (it was amusing to see the transformation of that central atrium of the old El Torito). And despite my personal experience with the Miyazaki beef, the food here was outstanding, even down to my (surprisingly oily but tasty) side of grilled artichoke, complete with jalapeno aoli. (What could be more Californian than that?) Would I come back again? Yes, I would. But I'll steer away from the Miyazaki beef...at those prices, I'd rather fly to Japan and eat it there.