For being the heart of Silicon Valley, it’s surprising that Palo Alto largely flies under the foodie radar (but perhaps less surprising given its close proximity to the many food destinations to the north). But one new restaurant is pushing to make its Palo Alto location (a former Trader Vic’s nonetheless) on El Camino Real (and not even the chic portion of it) a dining destination. The Sea isn’t exactly new to the game — it’s by the same restaurant group that owns the two Alexander’s Steakhouses (one in San Francisco and the other in Cupertino) — which will certainly help build its momentum in the (surprisingly) sleepy town.
The hubs and I dined here on my birthday. Seafood is my soul food. I always, always gravitate toward the seafood options in all restaurants so it was a treat to find a seafood focused menu executed with the flawless precision that is found at the Alexander’s Steakhouses in Silicon Valley.
We began the evening with an amuse-bouche of smoked salmon followed by the lobster risotto. The amuse-bouche was delightfully intriguing. It almost didn’t even taste like a fish. And the lobster risotto was purposefully rich and dreamy — I mean, creamy.
Then, of course, the hamachi shooters — which are always a favorite at the Steakhouses. It’s truly a wonder how they continually source the most beautiful hamachi that I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat.
For main courses, my husband ordered the wild bigeye tuna and I ordered the white shrimp carbonara. We also shared a side of vegetables. The fish and the shrimp were clean and fresh (which is a high compliment from a total seafood freshness snob). But learning from experience, I would not suggest ordering the shrimp pasta in addition to the risotto — it was too much starch and fat for one meal and I took home leftovers (albeit, leftovers were still delicious the next day).
<seared big eye tuna with cranberry beans, shellfish, smoked paprika, tomato, arugula; mixed vegetables; white shrimp carbonara with baby shitake mushroom, brussel sprouts, black peppercorn, oven dried tomatos>
And, to my utter delight, we snagged one of the coveted chocolate souffle for dessert. Don’t you love the moment when the vanilla cream is poured into the souffle and plumps it up? It never fails to thrill me. And the nicest, simplest touch was the extra goodies that arrived with the check. If only every restaurant would be so kind to do this.
Overall, it was a fabulous meal with excellent food and an attentive staff (although the criticisms of being overly attentive does ring a bit true). I wouldn’t say this is the restaurant for the local crowd, but it would fit the bill for the “dinner with the client” circuit — and I’m sure everyone’s growing tired of Madera being the only other option for those dinners in the area (yes, yes, a gross exaggeration, I know).
I hope to return soon although it will either have to be for another special occasion or for the aforementioned company dinner. Best of luck to this new kid on the Palo Alto block. xx
The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse
4269 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306
ph: (650) 213-1111