Tuesday, April 15, 2008

San Diego - Alexander' s the (somewhat) great

Aesthetically speaking, Alexander's (3391 30th St) sublime setting was a vision in white, but then reality splattered all over my fabric cushion, and I realized sometimes the best ideas aren't practical. Service was deathly slow and all the white and waiting gave the hazy ambiance of arriving at the pearly gates, but this wasn't exactly heaven.

The Emperor Caesar's spicy salad was easily overthrown by their Goddess greens using feta and a simple, Italian vinaigrette as its weapon. Alexander's also needed to look up the definition of "stuffed" because their mushrooms with this namesake were anything but. Evidence of the absent snow crab was covered up with a heavy layer of extremely bland provolone. To make it worse, Alexander's doesn't offer salt and pepper on the table which is something I've never agreed with. I understand that chefs want customers to get the true experience of their cooking, but I don't think they should be the final judge if it would makes my meal more enjoyable to me (especially when these cheese ridden mushrooms were in desperate need of seasoning.) Don't shame me for wanting salt.

But, then pasta entered the room and I softened, endearing myself to Alexander's traditional, Italian comfort food (remember this is the spawn of Old Venice owners). Rigatoni with caramelized walnuts, broccoli and tomato were folded in a gorgonzola cream sauce that produced flexible flavor combonations with every bite. The spicy sausage bolognaise over penne with vodka sauce was so good that I dragged a friend back the next day for another taste!

My hungry hubby also was jonesing for his, "Theodore's Fix" pizza topped with Maui onion, pepperoni, sausage, peppercini and chili flakes. It was an A list selection of toppings, but an overload of cheese made it a second rate attraction. I wouldn't claim it's my favorite pie, but it was tasty. The North Park pizza (blue cheese, pine nuts and tomatoes) also hit the right ingredient medley, but left its big cheesy handprint all over the pie.

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