Capital Grille

Our market editor takes a break from shopping to eat at her favorite haunt



Lemon sadam

Lobster Mac 'n' Cheese

Since moving to the area two years ago, I’ve eaten at Capital Grille several times—for lunch with my mom after a day of shopping, for late-night snacks with friends and, recently, to check out their menu during Stamford’s Restaurant Weeks. Each time I’ve felt welcomed, received impeccable service and left sated with plans to come back for more.

There is much that makes this steakhouse special. Sure, the design here—mahogany paneling, oil paintings and crisp white linens—is what anyone might expect. You may even find the typical after-work prototype: businessmen suited up, with scotch in hand and laughing as if they’ve just struck a great deal. But you’ll also find girlfriends catching up, sophisticated birthday celebrations and families having a relaxed meal. This inclusive environment, with the added bonus that you can lease a wine locker to store your favorite vintages, makes this a surprisingly un-chainlike steakhouse.

On my recent visit, my friends and I were promptly greeted by our server, Bianca, who gave us a brief education on the cuts of beef available and her favorite items on the menu. If I could have, I would have sampled everything she described—it’s no secret to those who know me that I love beef. I’d practically starved myself to make room for this meal, so I was anxious to begin our “carnivorous” evening.

Capital Grille

We decided to have all of our dishes family-style, beginning with the lobster and crab cakes. These, simply prepared with hints of mustard and red pepper, were bursting with meaty flavor. The accompanying corn and onion relish added a nice crunch and heat to the dish. Another standout starter was the Wagyu beef carpaccio, which was served paper-thin and garnished with fresh arugula and a lemon vinaigrette. My only objection was that the garnishes, especially the shaved parmesan cheese, slightly overshadowed the beef.

Next we ordered the classic Wedge salad, which featured a crunchy cold wedge of iceberg lettuce served with crisp, thick-cut applewood smoked bacon; juicy vine-ripened tomatoes; and a tangy, chunky blue-cheese dressing (that they should market and sell). We cleaned up this plate in no time.

We followed Bianca’s suggestion and ordered the Delmonico steak, a bone-in rib-eye steak served au jus with caramelized shallot butter. I still wish I hadn’t shared this dish; I wanted it all to myself. Ordered medium, it was cooked to perfection, and its accompanying Kona rub, coupled with the rich marbling of the cut, allowed the real flavor to come through. So good!

Because Capital offers a varied selection of seafood options (and this was a work assignment), I tried something from the sea. I was not disappointed. The sushi-grade sesame tuna, lightly seared and served with ginger rice, was nicely complemented by three dipping sauces— soy, wasabi and ginger—that allowed us to create our own flavor combinations.

Every great steakhouse is known for its extensive range of à la carte side dishes, and Capital delivers these with swagger. Our first was the lobster mac ’n’ cheese. It was so perfect, I wish I hadn’t shared this one either; we almost started a fork brawl at the table. But we collected ourselves and “ooohed and aaahed” our way through the dish—baked campanelle and fresh lobster tossed in a sauce of mascarpone, havarti and Grana Padano cheese and topped with panko breadcrumbs and grated white cheddar.

My  friend summed this dish up perfectly: “This is absolutely phenomenal: tender pasta, creamy sauce, flavorful chunks of lobster, lots of crisp breadcrumbs. I could eat this every day.” We all wholeheartedly agreed.

Our other side offerings included hearty oven-roasted seasonal mushrooms—a blend of oyster, portabella, shiitake and cremini seasoned with extra-virgin olive oil, rosemary, thyme and garlic butter—and fresh creamed spinach blended with béchamel sauce. The spinach received mixed reviews, mostly because we expected a more traditional interpretation of the dish, but considering the heaviness of some of the other courses, it’s a tasty option. Besides, I could practically hear mom reminding me to eat my vegetables.

By this point our waistlines were stretched, but we managed to make space for dessert. When you visit, you should do the same.

It was hard to pick two from this sweet menu, but after much haggling we settled on the cheesecake with fresh seasonal berries and the chocolate hazelnut cake. The cheesecake was sublime. It was firm yet light and creamy, nestled in a vanilla-wafer crust topped with sugar. This, combined with the sweet berries and strawberry reduction, made us swoon—I haven’t stopped thinking about this cheesecake. The chocolate fans at our table adored the chocolate cake, with its layers of rich dark chocolate mousse coated with hazelnut ganache and a splash of crème anglaise.

My plan is to go back. There are still items on that menu I haven’t tried. And given the attentive service, extensive but well-edited menu and easily accessible location, this is a spot worth visiting for any occasion. I might just suggest that you don’t share. Leave that for dessert.

Capital Grille
230 Tresser Boulevard
Stamford
203-967-0000

Cuisine: Steakhouse

Hours:
Mon.–Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–10 p.m.
Fri., 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–11 p.m.
Sat., 5–11 p.m.
Sun., 4–9 p.m.

Find out more about this restaurant at The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

 

 

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