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.
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.