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5A5 Steak impressions [San Francisco]

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I don't see many reviews of 5A5 Steak Lounge in the Jackson Square area, so decided to add a few thoughts after dinner last night with my husband.

Appetizers:

* Maguro shooter was simple and good, hamachi shooter was much tastier at Alexander Steakhouse. Both were reasonably priced at $4 each for a decent amount of fish.

* Lobster tempura: Perfectly cooked lobster, very moist and tender inside with lovely sweet lobster flavors. I'd prefer the tempura to be slightly crunchier but that's just me. The sweet & sour sauce was okay but I preferred the lobster without.

* Seared foie gras: Nothing exciting

* Truffle french fries: It seems hundreds of restaurants do truffle fries, but I liked how 5A5 rough-cut their fries and left the skins on, and fried them to a medium-brown color instead of a pale gold. This gave the fries a much more rustic look & taste than normal which I surprisngly liked.

Mains:

* Special bone-in filet: really quite disappointing. Some of it was a bit tough, and there was little beefy flavor. It seemed there was some strange sauce on top which detracted from the flavor. Would not order it again.

* 100% wagyu ribeye: Pretty expensive at almost $20/ounce, but very tender and flavorful. I got the 4 oz, and while it's more filling than normal steak due to the fat content, would recommend getting 8 oz as the right size with appeeizers. I liked the garlic puree with it although it wasn't really necessary. I was a bit disappointed that it was Chilean wagyu since the front of their menu boasted about having wagyu from Japan, but maybe i mis-read it. Next time I would order the $145 wagyu sampler -- seems expensive but at least it comes with 12 oz of beef.

Dessert was the earl gray panna cotta, which was nicely creamy and I loved the yuzu curd and lemon foam which really complemented the flavor. I'm normally not a fan of dessert but I liked how this was not very sweet, and was a nice ending to the meal.

Overall I wasn't wowed by 5A5 but thought it was fine for a business dinner or a place in the area. Prices are lower than Alexander's Steakhouse, so this would be a good place for a taste of 100% wagyu without having to shell out a couple of Benjamins. However I'd avoid the normal steaks. On Mondays, bottles of wine are half off which is a great deal considering their markup is very reasonable. We got a 2007 Frank Family cab for $42, which is a couple dollars cheaper than what we paid for a bottle at the winery!

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Alexander's Steakhouse
10330 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino, CA 95014

5A5 Steak Lounge
244 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

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  1. Went last night.

    I won't return. It's not horrible across the board or anything, but it's very expensive and so not worth the money. I'd say stick with whatever your other favorite steak house may be.

    First off, the room is quite stunning in a retro-nordic-ski-lodge, wallpaper magazine kind of way. Cool music and a long screen over the bar with a kind of fireplace video playing.
    But BEWARE! At 11PM the music turns way up (with what sounded mostly like Usher-derivative music), they start setting up the tables for bottle service with little reserved signs, and that video screen starts playing Victoria's secret runway show videos.

    They had offered us, and we accepted, the 'chef's table' which is an odd room off the kitchen -- bad because it lacks the style of the rest of the place; if you are in the 'exclusive' room, it would nice to have the room feel more special. Maybe some artwork? Or at least equal decorative treatment to the rest of the restaurant. On the other hand, the room was good because you get buffered from the 11PM changearound. I don't know what would have happened if we were sitting in the main room and they started the change from restaurant to night club while we were sitting there.

    Okay, the food.
    They feature big super-expensive steaks.
    I can't resist a big juicy t-bone. This was good, but not as good as other steak houses I've been to. I was reared on Peter Luger in NYC and all this did was make me want to find a way to get back there soon. My friend loves fillet mignon, he tried their wagyu, but reported that the fillet mignon at L'Ardoise (his favorite) was way better.
    There were some really lovely apps, though. We tried yellowtail shooters which were delicious. I had a duo of tataki, and my bf had kobe sashimi. All 3 of those things were great and I'd order them again. But the steak just does not warrant the expense. Also the sides seemed surprisingly heavy. 3 bites of the creamed spinach and I couldn't eat any more. (Yes I know that is a heavy side, but I always order it and there was something weird about this one). I think there's a heavy use of truffle oil trickery through a lot of their food as well. I love truffles but the truffle-oil trick IMO should only be used in 1 or 2 dishes tops -- I feel they broke that rule.

    So anyhow, we had a round of shooters, a round of apps, main courses, and several sides. Plus on average 2 cocktails each, no wine. Total came to $150 per person with tax and tip.

    There are sooo many other places I'd rather spend all that money for dinner.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pauliface

      Completely agree. I was very disappointed in the wagyu fillet. The starter scallops wrapped in bacon were not fresh and overcooked. The marbled potato and creamed spinach sides were substandard. And some of the servers practically threw the food at you.

      With those prices, avoid at all cost!

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      5A5 Steak Lounge
      244 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

      1. re: pauliface

        Their shooters are great. They have some of them on the happy hour menu -- 2 for $5 until 7:30 on weekdays. I haven't been overly impressed with their steaks considering the price, but will gladly go there for happy hour shooters in the lounge if I'm in the area.