Marine cuisine: The last several months have been eventful, to say the least, for the folks at Alexander's Steakhouse. The Michelin-starred steakhouse took over the old Trader Vic's space in Palo Alto this summer -- then endured a major staff shake-up last month that sent Alexander's original visionary chef Jeffrey Stout out the door. They've plowed ahead, nonetheless, and last weekend marked the big opening of The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse, with a haute seafood-centric menu crafted by executive chef Yu Min Lin.
The venue has gotten a dramatic face-lift with a cool palette of light blues and grays, private dining rooms and a pricey menu that blends Japanese influences with California ingredients. Lin, a Japanese-trained chef, hails from Los Angeles' two-starred Providence restaurant. Here, his opening menu includes appetizers ($10-$18) such as hamachi shots with truffled ponzu and Togarashi tuna tataki, and entrees ($31-$65) such as wild Alaskan poached halibut with fresh peas, Meyer lemon and shimeji mushrooms, and Maple Leaf Farms Muscovy duck with bacon and cabbage.
The restaurant is open from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 5 to 9 p.m. on Sundays at 4269 El Camino Real; theseausa.com.
Oakland coup: First came the news that Oakland's Hudson was closing -- owners John Hurley and Justin Hafen say their empty-nest status has them longing to travel. But then came the stunning follow-up -- stunning in a delightful way. San Francisco's A16 is taking over the space at 5356 College Ave., with new exec chef Rocky Maselli, A16 wine guru Shelley Lindgren in charge of the Italian wine list, and a full bar, including Italian aperitifs and cocktails. You'll need to be patient for just a few months more. Plan on getting that first forkful of orecchiette and blistered crust pizza in early 2013.
Send your South Bay and Peninsula restaurant tips to Linda Zavoral, firstname.lastname@example.org.