A truly magical experience, a one-of-a-kind dinner, with the most marvelous food, and wine pairing. The thing about Alexander’s is that every part of the meal is unique and spectacular. Everything is prepared with the utmost care, from the presentation to the ingredients. Opening in June of 2015, it weathered Covid, and a recent fire, and has come back as one of the most popular dining establishments in Pasadena.
The interior is both Craftsman and Asian design, with gorgeous lighting, screened partitions, and high ceilings, that enhance all the glitz and glamour of their special Spring Omakase menu.
Here’s What I Tried:
Their breadbasket is otherworldly with 3 different kinds of butter, one served inside a very clean marrow bone, just incredible.
Land & Sea, with Kaluga Caviar, A5 Wagyu Nigiri, and Hamachi shot paired with Rivarey Rioja Rose Spain, 2018. The Hamachi Shot, with avocado, dashi, ponzu, radish, and sprouts. It is done in layers with the top having a crunchy texture – rice balls, add to the whole dish being very smart. The Wagyu has Jonah crab, koji rice, and wasabi. It is both super tasty and inventive. It was one of my favorites of the night. My dinner started with a nice glass of Grandial Blanc de Blancs Brut.
Gazpacho; it’s a sweet soup of tomatoes and raspberry mist, with an avocado mouse, rock island shrimps, and diced Fresno chili peppers. One-of-a-kind flavors make this one simply delectable.
Harry’s Berries Strawberries with Brillat Savarin Cheese, Belgian Endive, and Santa Barbara pistachios. Paired with Pinot Grigio Ferrante Sicily, Italy, 2021. Everything is so fresh, the strawberries are sweet and firm, and with the wine – it all melts in your mouth.
Grilled Hokkaido Scallops with Passion Fruit Szechuan Dressing, paired with Macon-Villages, Louis Jadot Burgundy, France 2019. The scallops are cooked to perfection, with the Louis Jadot wine, it’s just pure delight in my mouth.
Grilled Duck with Cauliflower. Paired with Pinot Noir Miroballi Santa Rita Hills, 2013. The duck is cooked rare, and the cauliflower adds to the overall mouth-watering feel.
A5 Kagoshima New York, Lobster stuffed Zucchini Flower, and Jimmy Nardello Pepper Sauce are paired with Cabernet Sauvignon C 3 Wine Co. Napa Valley, California 2015. This is surf and turf at its best. I just can’t say enough about the A5 Kagoshima steak, it was like butter. This menu item also came with 6 different salts meant for the steak, each one was amazing, but you really don’t need anything for the steak, it’s just that good.
The story behind the Jimmy Nardello pepper.
The story of the pepper goes back nearly 150 years, to Connecticut in the year 1887. Well, really, it goes back before that. Chiles were native to the Americas and were “discovered” in the late 15th century by invading Spaniards. The Spaniards, in turn, brought them back to Europe. The chiles they found had of course been growing in Central and South America for thousands of years. The “peppers” they “discovered” came back to Europe and spread around the world. Different varieties became incredibly popular in different parts of the Mediterranean, Asia, and Africa. Because they grow well in the Mediterranean climate, poor people who couldn’t afford black pepper could grow them and add some spice to their diet. It’s hard to imagine Spain, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Tunisia, etc. without peppers, but up until about 300 years ago, that was the reality. The same goes for the cooking of the countries of Africa and Asia. Look at how critical chiles are to the cooking of Korea! If you want a taste test, take a trip to Miss Kim!
The reason the story of Jimmy Nardello Peppers starts in 1887 is because that’s when the seeds for this pepper came to the United States. Jimmy Nardello’s mother, Angella Nardello, brought them from her hometown of Ruoto in the Basilicata region of southern Italy. They ended up in the town of Naugatuck, near New Haven, in Connecticut. The town is known for being the original home of the Goodyear Rubber Company, Keds Sneakers, and Naugahyde. But for me, by far, its biggest claim to fame is the Jimmy Nardello pepper.
After arriving in the U.S., the Nardellos, like nearly every poor Italian family of that era, started a garden. Signora Nardello planted the special pepper seeds she’d smuggled in on the ship and she grew them and a wide range of other vegetables for her whole life. Mr. and Mrs. Nardello had 11 kids—Jimmy was fourth in line. Jimmy loved gardening. He lived a long good life, passing away in 1987. Before he died, he donated some of his mom’s special pepper seeds to Seed Savers. Twenty years later, in 2005, Jimmy Nardello Peppers was honored with a spot on the Slow Food Ark.
Crepe Cake, Matcha, Pistachio, Murray’s Farms Cherries. Paired with Barbadillo Cream Sherry Spain, NV. What a great way to end this incredible event.
My host Ryan Goldfarb was very charming and had so much knowledge about everything involved in my tasting. From the wine to the cow, he is an encyclopedia when it comes to all Alexanders has to offer. He says, “We care about our customers, and we do what it takes to make their experience memorable.” Chef Richard Archuleta is one of the best Chefs around, and he really cares about his fellow workers and his customers. On my tasting night, Shawn Kuo was Chef de Cuisine. Rounding out the very sweet staff was captain Jayse O’Brien, who kept my evening in check, with his very lovely demeanor. I can understand how their staff is so loyal and approachable. During their recent fire, they managed to keep their staff paid for four and a half months while the repairs were being done.
The Alexander’s Experience, where traditional American steakhouse meets a global palate. A world of refined influences finds its way into each unique, yet familiar dish. This is where comfort crosses into new and exciting offerings. A meal that makes a long-lasting impression.
I was just so impressed, loving every minute of my glorious tasting. When you have the opportunity to go to Alexander’s you too will be very satisfied. A truly remarkable culinary experience.
111 N Los Robles Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101
*Note some content was taken off of their website.