Kickin' it Old Skool: Alfred's Steakhouse (w/pics) - long
With pics here: http://rainydaysandsundays-c.blogspot...
My coworker Joey is a simple man. He likes chicken with onions. He likes Chinese food. He likes lemon meringue pie. The list of foods he doesn't like or won't eat are much, much longer, so he knew that our trip to San Francisco (for adtech) would be a challenge.
He knew that I'd probably insist we go to lots of "weird" restaurants with "scary" foods with made-up names and gelatinous textures. So, for our first night - one that required us to make an adtech game plan for the days ahead -he wanted "something good." And something good for Joey, lucky for me, is lobster.
But Joey doesn't like the idea of eating a whole lobster; beady black eyes, tentacles that too closely resemble a possum's tail, the sharp claws, etc. He just wanted the tail. Simple enough, right? After consulting with San Francisco Chowhounds, Sam of Becks & Posh and my beloved Google, I found only a handful of restaurants that served pure and simple lobster tail. Alfred's Steakhouse was one of the only ones that A) served lobster tail; and B) was open on a Monday night. Eureka!
As soon as we walked in, I knew we'd be kickin' it old school up in dis hizzle. The waiters were a minimum of 50-some-odd years old, the ceilings were adorned with real crystal chandeliers, the booths were filled with Scotch-drinkin' business suits and the hostess was a crotchety old woman who probably eats people like us for lunch. Case in point: We arrived 20 minutes early for our reservation and the place was half empty. I approached said old woman and she scrunched up her face and told me "it'll be a few minutes." After 10 minutes, we knew she was not going to seat us until 8:30 p.m. exactly (our reservation time), so we hung out at the big oak bar and waited patiently.
Sure enough, at 8:30 p.m. on the nose, the hostess sat us at a comfortable booth. Our waiter - whose name escapes me - was dressed like Jeeves and referred to us strictly as "sir" and "madam." I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir (Joey stuck to water) and perused the menu. Talk about old school: This 70+ year old institution serves such flash-backs as pickled pig's feet, Oysters Rockefeller and Chateaubriand of beef tenderloin - carved tableside.
For our first course, I chose the Prosciutto di Parma with fresh mozzarella cheese. The prosciutto was deliciously paper thin and the fat melted like butter shavings on my tongue, and the cheese was milky fresh and creamy.
Joey opted for the crab cake, which he raved about. Lots of crab meat and a crispy exterior - how bad can that be?
For dinner, I ordered the petit filet mignon with a lobster tail. Joey got the lobster tail with ravioli and garlic mashed potatoes. Unfortunately you can't see my steak in this picture because it was on another plate and I forgot to take a photo. But the lobster was succulent and delicious, as was the steak.
Joey thoroughly enjoyed his lobster, ravioli and garlic mashed potatoes - so much that he was talking about his Alfred's dinner through the rest of our trip. I think it's safe to say it was his favorite meal in San Francisco. Considering Joey is kind of old-schizzle himself, I can see why it was a match made in Picky Eater's Food Heaven.
The damage for 2 glasses of wine, 2 apps, 2 lobster tails and a steak? $185.00 not including tip. And it was worth every penny!
Alfred's is definitely a classic. I LOVE old school, and I love this place. This is our standard "nice steak dinner out" place. We go so often that the maitre'd knows my partner by name. You can occasionally get a less-than-perfect steak or service, but I think Alfred's offers the best steak restaurant experience for the $$. (Harris' is better and more consistent in terms of quality, but is also noticeably more expensive.) I usually go for the City Dinner, while my partner goes for the big Executive Cut or the Porterhouse. The Caesar salad is very good (although they no longer prepare it tableside). I also enjoy the martinis - very generous pouring by the bartender. All-in-all... very yummy and somehow comforting.