J Alexander's is sort of a Houston's clone restaurant; I like it a bit better than Houston's. It's a bit too expensive, particularly for lunch as they don't have a different menu at lunch. I'd never been to the Boca location before; it's a lot cooler than the Fort Lauderdale location. Fort Lauderdale is kind of clubby; Boca is a big open room with an open kitchen and high ceilings. It's sort of like a well decorated hanger. The bar is conspicuously in the center and there's a big open kitchen in the rear.
The bar is too high in Fort Lauderdale, and so is this one. Their testers must be very tall.
Initially service was annoying. I was outside reading the menu they had on the wall and a hostess came out and asked if I had any questions. Yeah, why are you bothering me, Babe? When I sat down at the bar the server felt it necessary to ask if I wanted some calamari or chicken fingers while I reviewed the menu. Um, maybe I'll look at the menu before ordering.
I knew that I wanted some mac n cheese, because it's one of the things on the menu that you don't want to miss. I contemplated an entree, but ended up going with the prime rib sandwich.
J Alexander's Prime Rib Sandwich
The difference between the french dip and the prime rib sandwich is that the french dip is shaved; the sandwich is a slab of prime rib on good toasted, buttered bread. A spread of horseradish and you've got a helluva sandwich. At $18 it's a better deal than the $24 prime rib entree. You have to trim the fat off the beef before digging in, but in the end it's better than the shaved stuff.
The mac and cheese is really good; the secret ingredients are heavy cream and gruyere cheese; I also got a pile of shoestring french fries.
While J Mark's tries to be a copy, J Alexander's is better in atmosphere and food quality. It's worth a couple of dollar's more.