Sushi Sunday at The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse in Palo Alto

by foodhoe on July 7, 2019

4269 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA | 650.213.1111 | website

Mr. K and I recently drove down to Palo Alto to check out the Sunday Sushi Platter that is available for a limited time at The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse.  The Alexander’s Steakhouse brand is known for high end steaks and American-Asian fusion cuisine and The Sea being an upscale seafood concept where Chef Yu Min Lin blends contemporary cuisine with Japanese sensibility and ingredients to transform The Sea’s menu into the extraordinary.  Chef Lin grew up in Taiwan and trained in Japan and was previously at the Michelin two-starred Providence in Los Angeles.  In 2008 with Chef Michael Cimarusti, he defeated the famous Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto, in “Battle Black Fish” on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America program.  Ooh!  His résumé includes stints at the French Laundry and Manresa, even more ooh…  Chef Lin is a sushi master who meticulously sources all his seafood and will prepare and design an incredible selection of seasonal fresh fish for the Sunday menu through September 1st, 2019.  The atmosphere in the sprawling restaurant is sleek and luxurious offering a variety of lovely dining spaces including options to host a private event.  Seafood is the main attraction, but steaks are also on the menu, the tasting menu is $135 ($200 with pairings) and requires full table participation.  The full menu is available in the spacious and more casual bar, which is where I would probably want to hang out.

The interior is posh and elegant, the lighting is soft and flattering, and the service matched the sophistication.

 

I enjoyed a lovely Crémant de Bourgogne, Val de Mer, Non Dosé N.V. ($13)

We couldn’t resist the tray of delectable breads which came by more than once.  They were all delicious: especially the sesame flat bread (right), cheddar biscuit (center) and a buttery furikake croissant which had a wonderful flakey crisp crust.  A word of warning, they do fill you up, and you need to save room for the main event!

Our server Han brought us an adorable amuse of fried smelt, fresh from the fryer which was gone in two bites.  He was fantastic, friendly and approachable and magically appeared whenever we needed anything.

Of course we had to order the famous Hamachi Shots ($28), which are served in 6 separate shot glasses, tender slices of yellowtail hamachi, layered with pieces of avocado, frizzled ginger, jalapeño, micro daikon and drizzled with a pungent truffled ponzu that was absolutely delightful. Yes, truffled ponzu is still a thing…

The Sushi Platter ($35) is a beautiful assortment of nigiri and rolls with two dipping sauces: soy sauce & wasabi and the other is a ponzu with truffle oil, as well as an assortment of pickles, pickled daikon, cucumber and ginger as a palate cleanser.  The platter has 9 compartments, the top row is filled with condiments, so I would say that the standard platter comes with 6 pieces of sushi.  We asked for additional items from the daily specials, which included hotate (scallop) and uni (urchin), and the chef threw in a tamagoyaki (rolled egg omelette) and a piece from a shrimp tempura roll.  Note: this platter included a few extra items and would be priced accordingly.

Han dropped off an order of the Lobster Rocks, comparing them to the famous Taiwanese snack called popcorn chicken that I adore.  The lobster meat is coated with a batter made from black squid ink then deep-fried, making them look like rocks served on a rich layer of almond purée, truffle emulsion, and mitsuba ($32).   They are fabulous, the sweetness of the lobster combined with the fresh, pungent earthiness of the truffle sauce dragged through the rich almond sauce was heavenly.  
 

I just swooned over the Urchin with champagne beurre blanc served with brioche toast.  The Half Moon Bay sea urchin are dramatically presented in the spiny shell and are so decadent and rich spooned over the delicately crisp brioche toast.  It melts in your mouth, suffusing your tastebuds with the intense flavors of the sea, lemony beurre blanc and a satisfying crunch from the toast. So very moreish….

Han encouraged us to look at the desert menu but we were too full, everything sounded so rich and decadent!  And I am glad we didn’t try to eat a dessert because he dropped off a plate of mignardises, bite-size morsels of browned butter coconut brittle and chocolates, which were perfect and all that we needed.

And then he brought us a cone of cotton candy, an Alexander’s trademark.  A wondrous cloud of pina colada flavored spun sugar, a familiar childhood treat that melts in your mouth.  I used to love this stuff…  And so our grand meal ended, we left feeling pampered and stuffed silly and with the cotton candy packed in a plastic sack to enjoy later.

Note: I was invited to dine as a guest of the house, which was incentive to drive the distance to Palo Alto.  We loved our sumptuous meal and felt that the $200-ish cost of the meal was reasonable for a grand night out and would definitely recommend it if you are in the area!  Thanks so much to The Sea and their excellent staff.

They definitely have the fine art of service down!

The restaurant is open for dinner nightly, Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and on Sunday and Monday from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.
The bar and lounge open at 5:00 p.m
Valet parking is available Monday through Saturday plus private off-street spots are an option.
An outdoor patio has room for 50. The Sea also has substantial private dining options with a half dozen venues of various sizes and a full conference center that can accommodate up to 200 guests.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Susan Volkan August 14, 2019 at 6:06 pm

Hi,

I’m looking for Sandy Wada. Is this you? Someone from Paly (Ralph Slocum, remember him?) asked me for your contact info for our 40th HS reunion and I volunteered to track you down.
Susan

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