Capital Grille is the "high-end" member of the Darden Family, who also own Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Red Lobster and Season's 52. They're usually located in a Mall, and the 2 in this area fit that bill exactly. This location is particularly dated; the place is densely decorated with the kind of paintings I remember from my grandparent's house; and the music is more suited to an older genre; tunes like Charade and Fibre De Verre. I'd never go to dinner at a Capital Grille, prices are way too high for what this place is, but there is a shortage of nice restaurants open at lunch time, and their lunch prices are more reasonable. They do shrink the portions, so it's not as good a deal as it may seem.jump-->
They have one of the nicer bar areas around; it's loaded with cougars and older men in the evenings, but at lunch before 3pm its a nice place to grab a bite and watch some TV.
After 3pm, the "union guys" start rolling in, and the upscale feel becomes decidedly more middle class.
They have some venerable appetizers, a particular favorite is the Calamari.
They're served with lemon; I would have liked some marinara, but they're good without it. Spicy with loads of jalapeno, red cherry peppers and pepperoncini, it's mostly rings with a couple of tenacles thrown in. Today I was having a salad; their wedge salad is a dense chunk of iceberg and a few slices of tomatoes with bacon and blue cheese dressing.
While the salad was good, the tomatoes weren't particularly ripe and the dressing didn't have many chunks of blue cheese. This dish exposes the "chain" in this place; for a supposed "high-end" restaurant this could easily have been better. For less than half the price you get more blue cheese and more bacon at Big Bear.>
Previously, I'd been in the dining room for lunch:
Two years ago I said I'd never come back to this location after a confrontation with management, but I landed a gift card so I figured I'd try their new "Spring Menu". They don't have the menu up yet so we don't have it here, but they've basically replaced the roasted red pepper soup with asparagus soup and the wagyu burger with a piquant shrimp and peppers dish. Hardly call for a press release, but I guess it's something.
The service here attempts to be high end; they call you sir or ma'am and they always say "of course" when you ask for something. One nice thing about the better restaurants is that you get bread and butter; there's never a moment when you're sitting at a bare, empty table. The rolls were dense and tasty; they always have flat, unleavened bread that seems to serve no purpose in the basket.
They have the Natura water system here; a welcomed trend that more and more restaurants are using. For $4 you can get all of the carbonated water you want. It's more like Pellegrino than seltzer, and a large Pellegrino usually runs $7 in a place like this. I asked for lime but I had to ask again after the water was delivered without it.
Darden is famous for one particular annoyance that you'll find at both Seasons 52 and here; you can get a cup of soup for $10 or a bowl for $11. It's such a consumer unfriendly policy I have to wonder why they do it. They're basically saying, "We don't want to give you a cup of soup, but if you insist, we'll give you $1 off." Looking at the menu, it didn't appear that the Lunch "deal" was so great; one of the choices is a side that you get with any other entry, and the $18 price is about what you'd pay for an average item. So they're basically giving you the soup for free, while severely limiting your choices. I ordered the Lobster Roll, Truffle Fries and the asparagus soup. When they brought the soup; it was a lot smaller than I expected.
This was a true "cup" of soup, which was surprising since they only charge $1 less. I expected it to be closer to a bowl. If they charge $9 for this then it would define a colossal rip-off. The soup was a deep green and looked better than pictures I'd seen of others. It needed some salt, but better too little than too much. A pretty good soup.
The servers are in constant motion here; they try to be stealthy but they're really looking at their tables to see when you're done. As soon as I was finished he was there, and the lobster roll came out maybe a minute later.
The big basket of fries makes the roll look even smaller than it was; it was pretty small. Usually lobster rolls go from $14 to $18 but they're usually bigger than this. The roll was toasted a bit too much, and there were some greens on the bun that I could have done without. It was the cold version; once I got it all squished into the roll so it could be eaten without a fork it was a decent sandwich.
I had to ask for ketchup as none was offered. Frankly the fries didn't do anything for me. The cheese was just a blob that sat on top; it would have been better grated because unless I wrapped it around a fry manually I wasn't getting any cheese. Without ketchup I didn't like them at all; with ketchup they were like regular, seasoned french fries.
One thing I did notice that was interesting was the $1 salt and pepper shakers on the table; with all of the gaudy decor I expected something a bit daintier. In fact, my general impression of the Capital Grille is that it's not quite as good as it should be. There are little nit-picky things and rough edges that take away from overall experience.
Capital Grille Boca 6000 West Glades Rd. Boca Raton FL, 33431 (09/14/2012)