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An Elegant Voyage Awaits at The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse

Wednesday, 9. January 2013 5:25

TThe chocolate souffle at The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse in Palo Alto.

If Tiffany’s recast itself as a restaurant, it would resemble The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse.

All vestiges of tiki-dom have been thoroughly excised from the former Trader Vic’s on El Camino Real in Palo Alto. In its place, the upscale The Sea launches itself in a shimmery, sophisticated palette of watery blues, grays and white. There’s a glass-fronted kitchen and one wall in the dining room with insets for vases of  striking white orchids.

As the name infers, The Sea is the newest concept by the owners of Alexander’s Steakhouse, with locations in Cupertino and San Francisco. Even before it opened, The Sea experienced some troubled waters, what with the abrupt letting go of Jeffrey Stout, the founding chef of Alexander’s and chief operating officer. But if my recent visit as a guest of the restaurant was any indication, The Sea seems to be navigating a smooth course in the hands of Executive Chef Yu Min Lin, whose impressive credits include a stint as chef de cuisine at Providence in Los Angeles, as well as stages at the French Laundry in Yountville and Manresa in Los Gatos. He’s also a trained sushi chef.

Executive Chef Yu Min Lin expedites at the glass-fronted open kitchen.

This is a restaurant that definitely pays attention to the details. You are provided hot towels at the start to pamper your hands. The table is de-crumbed after every course. The bread is made in-house and there are several to choose from. Coffee service at the end of the meal comes on its own compact tray, complete with a chocolate bonbon.

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Category:Chefs, General, Restaurants, Seafood | Comments (10) | Author:

Take a Taste of Lark Creek Blue at Santana Row

Friday, 7. December 2012 5:25

Flatiron steak at Lark Creek Blue in Santana Row.

Gone is the nautical theme, along with the fishing nets, boat wheel and seafood-centric menu.

Yankee Pier at Santana Row in San Jose was put out to sea this summer, then underwent a renovation and was re-christened Lark Creek Blue.

The vibe is now less kitschy and more sophisticated with dark wood tables, leather chairs, blue-hued walls, and striking drum lights in the dining room.

You’ll still find plenty of seafood on the menu, all of it adhering to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Seafood Watch” guide. But so much more, too, including Angus beef carpaccio with nori flakes ($11.50) , a 12-ounce Marin Sun Farms grass-fed ribeye ($39) and Bellwether Farm ricotto ravioli with confit tomatoes and black olives ($16.50). Each evening, a special “classic” dish is offered, too, from Southern fried chicken ($19.50)  on Mondays to Prime rib with Yorkshire pudding ($36) on Saturdays to an old-school crawfish boil ($23.50) on Sundays.

The warm-hued dining room with an open kitchen.

Recently, I was invited as a guest of the restaurant to try Chef Paul Bruno’s food. Bruno was formerly sous chef or executive sous chef at Mon Ami Gabi, Seablue and Michael Mina, all in Las Vegas.

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Category:Chefs, General, Restaurants, Seafood | Comments (6) | Author:

Hakkasan To Open in San Francisco, Fugu Sake For Those Who Dare & More

Thursday, 29. November 2012 5:26

Creative dim sum offerings at the soon-to-open Hakkasan in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Hakkasan To Open Its Doors Dec. 3

A splashy new, modern Chinese restaurant will debut Dec. 3 in downtown San Francisco.

Hakkasan — with branches already up and running or under construction in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, London, the Middle East and India — will encompass a 170-seat, 10,000-square-foot space on the second floor of the One Kearny building in San Francisco.

Known for its eye-popping prices and gilded interiors, Hakkasan tapped the Parisian design firm, Gilles & Boissier, to create a dramatic V-shaped bar to play off the building’s wedge-shaped design. Look for stone, glass, steel, dark-stained oak, Calcutta marble, colored mirrors, silks and embroidered leather to customize the look.

The restaurant, which will be open daily, will offer Cantonese-style dim sum, as well as an extensive wine and sake list.

Look for beautifully composed dishes like crispy duck salad with pomelo and pine nuts from Executive Chef Ho Chee Boon. (Photo courtesy of Hakkasan)

Executive Chef Ho Chee Boon, who has worked at the original Hakkasan in London, will be crafting dishes inspired by San Francisco’s dedication to organic ingredients. Look for “Jasmine Tea Smoked Short Ribs,” “Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly with Aged Vinegar,” and “Prawn and Pak Choi Dumplings.”

Ame Serves Up Fugu — In Sake

Yes, fugu, the prized Japanese fish that can be lethal in the wrong hands, will be served up at Ame in San Francisco in an unusual sake.

It looks innocent enough, doesn't it? (Photo courtesy of Ame restauarnt)

The restaurant, in the St. Regis Hotel, has taken the fins from the fish, roasted them, then steeped them in sake. The result is a drink that’s unique, rich and complex.

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Category:Enticing Events, General, Restaurants, Seafood | Comment (0) | Author:

Orange & Black Attack in Honor of the SF Giants and Halloween

Wednesday, 24. October 2012 5:25

Do you think of the SF Giants when you look at this risotto dish? You should! (Photo courtesy of Prospect restaurant)

Prospect’s Ode to the SF Giants

In honor of the San Francisco Giants’ winning streak, Prospect restaurant in San Francisco has created a new dish that sports the team’s trademark colors.

Black risotto with uni and a gently poached egg is a most appropriate dish to celebrate this classy baseball team’s triumphs, don’t you think?

The $16 dish is not on the regular menu. Those in the know just need ask for it.

Chef Pam Mazzola plans to make it available as long as the Giants keep winning or fresh sea urchin is available.

The "Humm Baby'' cupcake from Sift Cupcake + Dessert Bar. (Photo courtesy of Sift)

Sift Cupcake’s Sweet Salute to the Team

Starting today, Sift Cupcake + Dessert Bar in San Francisco, will be baking up the “Humm Baby” in honor of the Giants.

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Category:Bakeries, Cupcakes, Enticing Events, General, New Products, Restaurants, Seafood, Thomas Keller/French Laundry/Et Al | Comments (6) | Author:

Hakka-Style Halibut

Thursday, 4. October 2012 5:25

A taste from my childhood, courtesy of the new "The Hakka Cookbook.''

I’d like to raise a virtual glass of bubbly to Linda Lau Anusasananan, whom I’ve known for years since her days as the recipe editor for Sunset magazine.

I’d like to congratulate her on a job well done for finally publishing her “The Hakka Cookbook: Chinese Soul Food from Around the World” (University of California Press), of which I recently received a review copy.

It’s a true labor of love and deliciousness that Lau Anusasananan spent more than five years working on. Her brother, artist Alan Lau, did the lovely illustrations of ingredients in the book.

For Chinese-Americans like myself, we’re all the better for its publication, too, because it includes so many recipes for dishes that we grew up with and still crave to this day.

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Category:Asian Recipes, General, Seafood | Comments (19) | Author: