Bay Area restaurant group Alexander’s Steakhouse debuted a branch near Pasadena City Hall in 2015 and instantly gave CUT a run for its money as L.A.’s ritziest steakhouse. The dining room boasts A5 grade Wagyu from four different Japanese prefectures, all rare treats, while the Bull & Barrel bar provides considerably more value during weeknight happy hour.
I sat on a burgundy cushion at their shiny black U-shaped bar and ordered a pair of hamachi preparations during a recent happy hour. I enjoyed executive chef Matt Bata’s hamachi lumpia, which looked like cocktail wieners, but was particularly impressed with the Hamachi Kama ($10) a sizable skin-on cut broiled with hamachi caramel, dressed with Fresno chili, mint, basil, and a squeeze of charred calamansi. This collar was beautifully cooked, with fluffy white meat at one end, flaky dark meat at the other end, and crispy, caramelized skin. I didn’t have a scale handy, but this collar must have contained at least six ounces of meat tucked behind bones and fins, meaning the flavor wasn’t just top-flight; so was the value.