Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Capital Grille (Lunch)

Location: 633 N St. Clair
Cost: Dinner is another story, but for lunch it's about $20 per person

The first time I went to the Capital Grille was for dinner after my interview for med school at Northwestern. I got in, so I guess this place is kind of good luck for me. Other than that they have a pretty nice selection of dry aged steaks for dinner. This post, however, will focus on their lunch special because they contacted me to come give it a try. My parents are big fans, and they came down to the city to join me for lunch.

The Capital Grille has many locations, but I've only been to the one in Streeterville. They have a very nice looking dining room, and I suggest you make a reservation for most any time you'd like to go. For lunch the place was bustling, and there were even some celebrities. We ate right next to Anthony Adams and got a chance to talk to Rocky Wirtz.

The service was fantastic. Our waitress, Abby, was very friendly and efficient which was essential considering most people only have an hour for lunch during the week. She even put up with some of my dad's cornier jokes. The cost for lunch is totally reasonable. I think a lot of people feel it's too expensive for lunch, but the deal they've got is $15 for soup/salad, sandwich, and a side. The selections change seasonally too.

The Food
Both my dad and I went for the $15 "Plates" special, and my mom got the Seared Salmon Salad. She really liked her salad which came with avocado, mango, and some cherry tomatoes. The salmon was prepared well with a nice seasoning to the seared exterior. My dad's lunch choices included the Clam Chowder, the Lobster Roll, and a side of the Squash. The chowder was thick and creamy with large chunks of potatoes and clams. The Lobster Roll was much heavier on the lobster than on the mayonnaise, and the brioche bun had a nice texture. The squash was our favorite side dish, and it came with some cranberries mixed in for a little sour bite. My lunch combo included the Porcini Mushroom Bisque, the Mini Tenderloin Sandwiches, and the Green Beans with Truffle Butter. The bisque was very rich and loaded with shrooms. The tenderloin came apart with the slightest tension and had a nice horseradish topping. The green beans were well prepared, maintaining their crisp, but they were relatively standard. I should've gone double squash. They also have some lunch drinks that we tried including a Mint Lemonade and a Grapefruit Soda of sorts. Finally, we finished things off with a slice of Coconut Cream Pie (one of my dad's favorites).

The Mini Tenderloin Sandwiches with Truffle Butter Green Beans

The Lobster Roll with Butternut Squash

The Porcini Bisque

The Clam Chowder

The Seared Salmon Salad

The Mint Lemonade and The Grapefruit Soda

 The Coconut Cream Pie

Addendum 1/24/12:
I recently went back to check out some of the new menu items. This time I was accompanied by my buddy Arif. For our first course we got the Lobster Bisque and the Roasted Pepper Soup. The bisque was rich and had huge chunks of lobster. The pepper soup was thick and hearty with a strong kick. It was snowing heavily and these soups hit the spot.

 The Pepper Soup and the Lobster Bisque

For the main dish we both got the Wagyu Burger. It came with an over easy egg on top along with some frizzled onions. Arif went with the basket of Truffle Fries for his side while I got the Root Vegetables. The burger was top notch with a reasonable juiciness. The yolk made things a little messy, but it was definitely worth it. The portion of fries was gigantic, and they were extra crispy for those of you opposed to soggy fries. The root vegetables were cooked perfectly with plenty of substance left in each bite. It was a nice side option if you're worried about your health (despite getting some cholesterol packed burger). In general these items were a really welcome addition to the Plates menu. 

The Wagyu Burger with Root Vegetables

 The Truffle Fries

Addendum 5/2/12:
Since there were new options on the "plates" menu, I had to go try them out. This time I sunk my teeth into the Shrimp and Peppers with Bomba Rice. It was fantastic on all points. The rice had a creamy and crispy texture. The shrimps were spicy, rich and prepared properly. They also tossed us a Crab BLT to split. This crab cake was crispy and well seasoned. If you don't go for the plates, then this is what you should get.

The Asparagus Soup

The Shrimp and Peppers with Bomba Rice

The Crab BLT

Addendum 6/28/12:
I've got even more updates for you on the "Plates" menu. These new additions are much more summer oriented. This time I got to try the Carrot and Ginger Soup, the Watermelon and Feta Salad, and the Scallops over a bed of Couscous. The soup had a thick sweetness from the carrot and a measurable kick from the ginger. The salad was refreshing on what turned out to be a ninety degree afternoon. The scallops were nicely seared and really made for a fantastically light but substantial meal. Make sure to go check it out.

The Carrot and Ginger Soup

The Seared Scallops

The Watermelon and Feta Salad

We left lunch at the Capital Grille filled to the brim and very content with our meal. The service and the food were everything that you'd expect from a top notch steakhouse, and the lunch option is very approachable. Because the meal was taken care of, they won't be receiving a Pearl rating, but for all of you Streetervillians out there, I think it's definitely worth a visit.
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