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Chicken Fried Steak at Alfred's for Lunch

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Chicken Fried Steak at Alfred's for Lunch

Cynthia | Oct 10, 2003 10:53 PM

Post the words ‘chicken fried steak’ or ‘biscuits and gravy’ and watch the postings pile up. Help me find that link to the NorthBay restaurants for biscuits and gravy. If they do one, they most likely serve the other.

Meanwhile, today’s lunch at Alfred’s was on the edge of Chinatown on Merchant Street in the shadow of the Holiday Inn. Alfred’s has that sedate men’s club ambience of white linens, dark woods, and deep red walls with accents of brass. You could quietly entertain your parents here and satisfy your daily meat and potato requirement at the same time. Beef is corn-fed, no complaints. Service is compliant and unobtrusive.

Merchant Street Special $19.28 (Alfred's opened in 1928) for soup or salad, entree, and dessert

Soup of the day: Manhattan clam chowder—it’s red; looked tasty.
Salad: full plate of tossed greens with radicchio and frisee, crumbled Maytag blue cheese, sweet cherry tomatoes, salami, mortadella
french fries: thin cut and crisp
garlic mashed potatoes: sublime with garlic, light and fluffy
half rack of lamb: five bone-licking riblets, pretty in pink $15.75
New York cut steak: presented perfectly rare; rich beef essence, silky on the tongue $15.75
Maker’s Mark Whiskey Filet Tips: grilled and sauteed with shiitake and crimini mushrooms in a rich reduction of Makers Mark bourbon and butter $16.75
4 orders of chicken fried steak with milk gravy: breaded Panko-esque, tender, cooked medium rare (not grey?) and a pristine milk gravy that was more than volute and bechamel-like; we requested an extra serving of the cream gravy for the table $13.75
Cappuccino ice cream cake: ice cream, coffee, chocolate triumvirate
House wine: decent cabernet from Geyserville, lots of fruit, almost raisiny nose, light tannins, dark purple-black hue
Chinese egg custard tarts from Anna’s on Clay St. : short crust, sweet custard, second only to Golden Gate’s version.

Undeniably delicious and California-healthful, but this cfs is too upscale for my taste memory; I want that down home chicken fried steak dipped in egg batter and floured , pan fried in shortening but not too crusty, and sopped with milk gravy from the pan drippings with lots of salt and pepper. And, yes, I’d return to Alfred’s just for the pleasure of dining —and, meat, but just not for the chicken fried steak. I am just not certain that I really want my chicken fried steak made with beef that is too good to be fried. So, is there a difference between chicken fried steak and country pan fried steak? Each to his/her own. We were the seven happiest diners,indeed. Overall, we were sated.

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