|Arts & EntertainmentFood For ThoughtHomeward BoundJust BusinessRoad TripThis & That|
|Table for Two
The Capital Grille
1 Union Station
by Bob Mariani
Writing about the Capital Grille is almost too easy. They deliver 110% on just about everything they promise. From the day they opened 15 years ago in Providence’s refurbished Union Station, they have offered the best dry-aged steaks, the most tender lamb chops, the most succulent lobster and salmon steaks, and the richest veal chops along with sensational appetizers and side dishes. If you haven’t guessed by now, this is a red meat lover’s paradise.
The Capital Grille looks and feels like a very tone-y men’s club. The dark woods, the bull and buffalo heads mounted over the bar, the private wine lockers, the ground floor wrap-around windows where you can see and be seen—it all adds up to a place of no-nonsense, luxury dining.
On a recent rainy Tuesday night, we stopped at the bar for an icy cold Grey Goose martini and were delighted to see my very favorite waiter, Chris Hadad, formerly of the Gatehouse, busily attending to his customers.
As we were shown to our window table I was impressed at how busy the place was on such a nasty night. We began with a wonderful seafood sampler consisting of some freshly shucked oysters and delicate littlenecks, jumbo shrimp, and lobster meat half-in-the-shell. I immediately fell in love with one of the Grille’s dipping sauces made of red wine vinegar, cracked black pepper corns, shallots and a dash of champagne. It brought the sweet freshness of the crustaceans to an exquisite peak. We also shared some soft, buttery, fried calamari accented perfectly with some hot red peppers—one of the Grille’s most popular starters. With the appetizers, our waiter Chris brought us a terrific Pinot Gregio with lots of depth and a delicious apple/oaky finish. The Grille’s wine list is impressive. With over 5,000 bottles from France, Italy, Chile and California, it has received the Wine Spectator’s "Award of Excellence."
For my salad course, I had "the Wedge," ($5.95), a half head of crisp iceberg lettuce and some juicy red tomatoes with a luscious cream sauce sprinkled with bacon bits. Our other salad was a special of the day with garden fresh lettuce, a half-dozen beefy tomato slices and some mozzarella in a tangy oil and vinegar dressing.
From an entrée list of dry aged meats that includes a 14oz. sirloin steak ($29.95); a 24oz. porterhouse steak ($33.95); 10 oz. Filet Mignon ($27.95); four double cut rib lamb chops ($29.95); roasted chicken ($17.95); and their signature veal chop with Roquefort butter sauce ($29.95), I chose The Grille’s Delmonico Steak ($29.95). A hefty cut on the bone and cooked to a perfect medium rare, this was perhaps the most definitive version I’ve ever had. At just the touch of the knife, the marbled meat released its rich juices and its flavor melted in your mouth. Flawless.
My companion was equally impressed with the Grille’s dry aged Steak au Poivre, a tender 14oz. slab of beef in a rich Courvoisier cream sauce punctuated with black pepper corns. Chris, our waiter, scored another TD with a sumptuous, full-bodied Napa Valley Estate Cabernet (St. Supery, "Dollaride Ranch") that easily held its own with the muscular red meat entrées. Need I mention, that the portion sizes here are enough to keep a couple of Sigfried and Roy’s pets busy all night.
The Grille’s side dishes are also worthy of mention because they are far from afterthoughts. The creamed spinach is absolutely superb, as are Sam’s Mashed Potatoes. Their cottage fries and onion strings are not to be missed either.
For dessert I had a light-as-a-cloud coconut cream cake ($6.95); and my friend had the key lime pie, a tropical green wedge with a light, crumbly crust.
With a menu so finely tuned and quality food so consistently well-prepared, its easy to see why the Capital Grille has expanded from its Providence roots and now has flourishing restaurants in 15 cities around the country. They simply do not disappoint.
For reservations call 521-5600or visit them online at www.thecapitalgrille.com.
Bob Mariani is a Southeastern New England freelance author. Besides his "Table for Two" restaurant reviews found here, he also writes jazz articles on allaboutjazz.com.