5A5 Steak Lounge is a contemporary take on a Steakhouse, and is located in San Francisco’s Jackson Square area. They serve , 100% natural beef with no antibiotics or hormones. Executive Chef Allen Chen formerly cooked at Cupertino’s top rated Alexanders Steakhouse, so you see a lot of similarities here.
5A5 is named after A5 graded Wagyu (beef in Japanese) Beef imported from Japan (highest grade of beef in the world!). Wagyu beef is strictly graded by professionals from A-C on the yield of meat vs fat, and 1-5 on color of fat and meat. A hyphen separates the level of beef marbling. The top grade is A5-12. The top level 12 of marbled beef is not imported into the US. Fly to Japan to taste the best. USDA prime would rate an A1 or A2. A4 and A5 are considered premium beef.
The most important factor for grading is “marbling of the beef”, which refers to the white streaks of fat that run through the beef. This fatiness enhances flavor and tenderness and melts at a low 77 degrees. Wagyu are brushed and feed corn, wheat, rice bran, and wheat bran. They are not massaged by hand, given hormones, or fed beer.
Wagyu is mistakenly known as Kobe beef. Japanese cattle take the name of the region where they are raised, so Kobe beef is meat from the Kobe area. Wagyu steaks should include a copy of the steer’s birth certificate and lineage. There is ‘real’ Kobe beef from the Hyogo prefecture of high grade.
“Kobe-style” beef is taken from domestically-raised Wagyu crossbred with Angus cattle. The taste and quality are just not the same. One look and you can see the difference with taking a bite.
Decor, Vibe – 5A5 Steak Lounge is situated in the location that once housed Frisson, and has minimally updated the whimsical modern decor with its round dining area and padded booths. A large lounge area is located right by the door and was pretty packed during happy hour. After work financial district types, the 20s to 30s set, and a wide swath of beef lovers were eating dinner when we visited.
5A5 Steak Lounge Menu includes a variety of small plate appetizers including their signatures shooters. Main courses focus on meat of course, but include some non-beef courses. Vegetarians should go elsewhere.
5-7pm Happy hour in the lounge area is a great deal with discount appetizers and drinks.
Raspberry Mojito ($10) Bacardi Superior Rum, Mint, Agave nectar, lime Juice looked beautiful and tasted very fruity and not too strong.
Hamachi shooters ($4, 2 for $5 Happy Hour) avocado, ginger, yuzu tobiko, ponzu are a good bet. Slurp them down in a couple bites. This one had one larger piece of fish.
Oyster shooters ($4) compressed watermelon, shiso are on the sour side but still workable.
Lobster Dumplings ($2 Friday Happy Hour Special) with a just touch of lobster, and in a nice broth were a very good deal at this price.
Truffle fries ($8) sriracha aioli, truffle oil were very good especially with the spicy aioli. Very Heavy truffle flavor with this version.
Tako salad ($11) octopus, daikon, kimchi vinaigrette was an interesting salad that wasn’t as spicy or messy as it looks. Little bits of octopus could have been more plentiful.
Bone-in ribeye ($42) 25oz roasted mini peppers, barbeque demi glaze takes 40 minutes of preparation and was a huge perfectly cooked hunk of meat to a medium. Very juicy and tender but without a lot of aged flavors.
Dry aged bone-in filet ($29) Mignon, 9oz tarragon, bearnaise (limited availability) had super tender meat, robust flavors, and was a pretty good size for a small 9oz cut. We could not taste the aging qualities of the meat that much.
A5 New York Steak ($104, $26 per oz) 4oz enokitake, soja beurre blanc was a super expensive treat. It almost amounted to foie gras with a meaty flavor. Smooth, silky, Decadent and fatty, this steak is hard to beat. 4oz was plenty. As they say, 4oz of A5 Wagyu, are as rich as 16 ounces of American beef.
Potato au gratin ($10) Yukon potato, sweet potato, purple potato in a skillet sounded like a weird combination but the dish worked nonetheless. Nice crust on top and not super greasy.
Mac & cheese ($9) gruyere, mozzarella, cheddar is a must get dish. Great truffle flavor and three types of cheese made for a very good version.
Matcha Tea Doughnuts ($8) Raspberry jam, Momo oolong tea ice cream, Oolong tea flavored with fresh Japanese peaches was an excellent dessert with super hot doughnuts, fresh out of the fryer. The doughnuts have enough sweetness to them making the raspberry dipping sauce when needed. The included ice cream was a subtly flavored red bean version.
Salmon shooters ($4) shiitake, green onion, kabayaki, red radish had bits of chopped up salmon and aren’t as good as the other shooters.
Mushrooms ($12) maitake, golden enokitake, eryngii, honshimeji, sherry wine, garlic was a mixture of different small mushrooms, cooked in a healthy style but made for a weird combination.
Carrot Cake Souffle ($8) white chocolate cream cheese glaze, pineapple sherbet took 20 minutes to prepare but was way too sweet and not very delicate. The condensed milk sauce should be replaced with the Grand Marnier sauce.
5A5 Steak Lounge had very good service with the friendly waitress had no worries about refills and the like. The food was very good but not as good as places like Alexander’s steakhouse or Harris’. If you’re looking for some good steak in a modern environment, check this place out. If you’re on a budget, come for happy hour and also order a steak and Matcha doughnuts to share. Things will get interesting later this year, when Alexander’s Steakhouse opens in San Francisco location.
12 page wine list with $10 glasses, bottles from $36, and $20 corkage.