Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop





What I Ate: March 4, 2009 (The Grill on the Alley)

Posted 5 March, 2009 at 12:29am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate)

I had a Trader Joe's Chicken Chile Verde Burrito for a light lunch.
Trader Joe’s Chicken Chile Verde Burrito

For dinner, I continued my Bay Area dining "Death March". With exactly 6 weeks left to go before our move to Austin, Tina and I hit San Jose's The Grill on the Alley (172 S Market St, San Jose, CA‎ - (408) 294-2244‎). I went there because I had heard from several people that they serve the best steak in South Bay (along side Alexander's Steakhouse). We started with their jumbo lump crab cake which tasted like it was all crab and no binder. The crab flavor was so good that it was almost like we were eating fresh crab. No fancy flavors, just crab and a few herbs to balance the flavor. The sauce was smooth, creamy, and didn't overwhelm the crab flavor. Very simple and straightforward flavor, but excellently prepared.
The Grill on the Alley - Crab Cake

We shared a rare bone-in filet mignon steak which came with roasted garlic Yukon mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach with mushrooms. The steak they serve at The Grill is wet-aged for about 28 days. They cooked it precisely to how we wanted it - the interior flesh was cooked until the fibers were about to start tightening; just before fiber striations form. The steak was minimally seasoned (which is good if you want to taste the beef - especially on a filet mignon where the beef flavor is not very pronounced). It could have used a little more salt, but that was easily remedied by sprinkling a little table salt on the beef. If you like your steak rare and minimally sauced, this is definitely the steakhouse to go to. The sides were also well prepared. The mash potatoes were dense but flavorful, and the spinach & mushrooms were well prepared. Both were served in generous quantities.
The Grill on the Alley - Bone-In Filet Mignon, Roasted Garlic Yukon Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms

We also had the grilled spring vegetables which had bell peppers, squash, onion, and tomatoes - also simple but really well executed.
The Grill on the Alley - Grilled Spring Vegetables

The flavors here at The Grill on the Alley were simple, traditional, and conventional - but superbly executed. I highly recommend dining at The Grill if you're like me and love a simply prepared steak, cooked rare to perfection.

2 comments to What I Ate: March 4, 2009 (The Grill on the Alley)

Nate, March 8th, 2009 at 4:03 pm:

  • Bell peppers, zucchini and tomatoes are spring vegetables? Uh, yeah.

    Glad you liked the Grill. How does it compare to Alexander's?

Michael Chu, March 8th, 2009 at 9:03 pm:

  • Yeah, I was surprised by the "spring vegetables".

    In some ways, I preferred the Grill over Alexander's. If you like your steak plain and rare, I think the Grill is better. Alexander's serves up a sauced steak and high concept sides (the Mac 'n Cheese steals the show). Alexander's is also a more romantic and charming setting. Both are excellent steaks, but I think I prefer mine simple and grilled perfectly - so the Grill is my choice for getting a steak. If you're big on the flavor and texture of dry aged beef, then Alexander's is where you'll want to be since that's not offered by the Grill.