Friday, December 7, 2012

The Capital Grille: Philadelphia Review

The GF and I work approximately 10 blocks from each other. So you would think we would or could get together for a work-day lunch more often than not. In any case, we were able to set aside an hour on a Friday to meet in the middle - The Capital Grille, located on the corner of Broad and Chestnut.

The Capital Grille advertises itself as a "national steakhouse chain." Most restaurants and fine diners shun any establishment associated with the word "chain." I, on the other hand, happen to know better. I'm not saying these establishments are the epitome of haute cuisine. Rather, the good chains (Ruth's Chris comes to mind) offer their customers loyalty, consistent service, and preparation.

Despite being a chain, as verified by many reviews, The Capital Grille certainly has established itself as a stalwart destination on Broad Street. In my own estimation, the Philadelphia location is certainly up to these standards.

Upon entering the restaurant, which had a definitive old school "man-club" in a modern era, we were greeted and welcomed. I had made the reservations for an early lunch on OpenTable: Philadelphia Restaurants, and noted that we were looking to get in and out within an hour (a multitude of afternoon meetings loomed ahead). Without breaking a sweat, they mentioned that they would inform our server of this request and accommodate us swiftly and sweetly. Clearly, they have hosted many a business lunch.

The Capital Grille offers a special Plates menu which includes a soup or salad, entree, and a side - all for $18. Not bad at all considering the quality of the food, service, and atmosphere. The GF thought that was a bit much, so went with a salad, which was substantial in its own right.

Our server informed me that they were offering a lobster bisque, studded with chunks of lobster - for a supplement of $3. Natch - I had to go for that.

Bread Service

We had the option of having bread service (gratis), which we went for. The flat bread was a nice touch and change of pace. Crispy, though not really seasoned, they still offered a nice textural bite to start the meal. The rolls were fresh out of the oven and went perfectly with my lobster bisque. The accompanying butter was refrigerated and cold however - a pet peeve of mine, to be sure.

Plates Menu ($18) 

Lobster Bisque ($3 supplement) 

This was a solid rendition of this oft-loved soup. Creamy and rich - this had deep flavors enhanced by what was clearly a base of seafood stock. Two chunks of lobster were the highlights in this creamy soup.
Lobster Roll
 Fresh lobster in a creamy salad tucked into a soft roll, and hand-cut fries

This rendition had lots of lobster, dressed and tossed with mayo and celery, all atop a small bib of lettuce. Perhaps a bit more dressing that I normally like, but it was not heavy at all - the lobster was still at the heart of the dish. Also - the description did mention it would be a creamy salad. However, I do prefer my lobster rolls primarily buttery and unadorned - atop a buttery roll. I must be channeling a bit of Paula Deen.

The Capital Grille used a roll that was sweet in taste and actually quite hard texturally - it seemed a bit too 'toasted' for my liking. Some light butter was brushed on the sides, but it was hard to miss the sweetness of the roll - something I did not enjoy. Overall, it was a good dish with exceptional value - minus the roll.

Truffle Parmesan Fries
 Freshly grated cheese and white truffle oil

You can't go wrong with truffle fries and there was nothing wrong with these. Crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside - they were pretty hefty. Shaved parmesan was scattered on top, along with some parsley. A tad salty, but that was forgiven. Why? Truffle oil emanated from the fries - yum. And too all of you purists - get off your high horse. Unless you plan on giving me whole truffles that I can shave onto the dish, I will take these 'truffle-infused' oils when I please - processed or not.

The Capital Grille “Cobb” Salad with Sliced Tenderloin ($18)
Our unique take on this classic salad, served with our grilled tenderloin.

The GF was happy with her choice. Bacon, blue cheese, hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, and greens - with a strip of tenderloin (medium temperature) to the side. It came dressed with a mustard vinaigrette, which was light. If I were a salad-eating man, I would definitely go with this. 

Overall, the GF and I were happy with our lunch at The Capital Grille. The overall value for what we received in terms of food, service, and atmosphere was great. I wasn't ecstatic about the lobster roll, but that was made up for with the quantity of actual lobster and great service that accommodated us within our time frame. We'll be back!

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon 

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