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Seasonal Lunching at The Capital Grille

January 17, 2012

When you think of a stereotypical Washington restaurant, you think of The Capital Grille. Heavy brown leather and mahogany furniture, dark booths, gold fixtures, paintings of famous Washingtonians, private wine lockers

Since I love Washington — and love to eat — I was excited to try the new winter “Plates” menu at the restaurant’s Chevy Chase location. For working Washingtonians who get a real lunch hour, the three-course prix fixe lunch still gets you out the door in 45 minutes.

Choose from one soup or salad, one entree and a dessert, all for $18.

Simone also had the day off from work and graciously accompanied me to lunch. We both started with the field greens, which was a nice, big starter salad with several different kinds of tomatoes. Biggest plus: the salad wasn’t drowning in dressing, a major pet peeve.

The only disappointment on the menu is that of the three entree options, none is vegetarian and two are beef. I understand it’s difficult when just choosing three items for a prix fixe menu, but it limits diners’ options.

I went for the new Wagyu Cheeseburger with Fried Egg and Crisp Onions because, well, when at a steakhouse, why not get meat?

The burger was delicious — I ended up taking off the bun and just eating the egg + meat — but the real winner were these truffle fries. When I end up 500 pounds and starring on my own TLC show, it will be because of these fries. It’s worth visiting Capital Grille for these fries alone, seriously.

Simone also stuck to meat with the mini tenderloin and a side of roasted root vegetables, both of which she really liked, although I don’t think she was expecting semi-sliders.

Lunch dessert always feels so special and decadent, and this was no exception. Our fantastic waiter brought two selections from the special Restaurant Week menu: mango sorbet and a to-die-for flourless chocolate espresso cake.

Overall, we had a great experience at The Capital Grille and the thing that really stood out was the awesome service, from friendly hostesses to knowledgeable servers. At one point, I inquired about a painting hanging across the room (it looked like an angry Clark Gable, and I wondered why he was hanging in a DC steakhouse). A passing server gave a full history of the subject, telling me that it was Howard Hughes, who lived in Washington for a few years in the ’20s; today a nearby medical institute bears his name.

See, history and a good meal. What could be better?!

Should restaurants always offer a vegetarian option? I think restaurants of course have the right to serve whatever they want — especially somewhere like Komi or Minibar, you can understand why they can’t accommodate all dietary restrictions — but it seems that restaurants with larger menus should naturally want to accomodate the 22.8 million people who follow a ‘vegetarian-inclined’ diet.

*The Capital Grille invited me and a guest for a complimentary lunch. We left gratuity based on the actual price of the meal. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2012 9:06 am

    I agree about the vegetarian meal. Sure, restaurants don’t have to offer one, but if they do and if it’s good, they’ll please a lot more people. There’s this restaurant here called Abbatoir. Abbatoir actually means slaughterhouse. Obviously, they are a very meat-centric restaurant and they specialize in sweet breads (organs). I went there when I was vegetarian and they were SO accommodating. They had one veggie dish on the menu and offered to make me another or a vegan dish or a gluten-free dish. I tell everyone about it. I think restaurants that will accommodate a vegetarian will get a lot of word of mouth publicity.

    • January 17, 2012 10:41 am

      It’s great word-of-mouth PR that you’re spreading the news about vegetarian options at this restaurant. Mental note!

  2. January 17, 2012 10:15 am

    I really enjoyed Capital Grille the one time I dined there. I had lunch as well and it was great. Swordfish, if I recall correctly.
    I actually went to Komi this weekend and someone behind us seemed to be getting a vegetarian version of the meal. I also asked not to be served shrimp, so when there was a shrimp course I got a vegetarian dish instead. I think you’re right that places like that don’t HAVE to offer veg options, but the fact that they do just makes them an even more reputable and amazing establishment.

    • January 17, 2012 10:42 am

      I actually didn’t know Komi did a vegetarian version, so that’s interesting to note. It does help appeal to more diners but you’re right, restaurants are private businesses and can serve what they want.

  3. January 17, 2012 5:01 pm

    I’ve always had a good meal when dining at The Capital Grille 🙂 I don’t usually choose from the pre-fixe meals because I don’t feel like restaurants are as accommodating or willing to change something about a dish on those menus… I think that it’s a good idea for restaurants to offer some type of vegetarian dish on the menu, and if they don’t, be willing to accommodate the customer and make a substitution!

    • January 17, 2012 5:15 pm

      I think their general menu does a good job of appealing to all tastes (meat, fish, pasta, etc.). But I also agree about prix fixe — I hardly ever opt for it but it’s fun sometimes and can be a great deal depending on the place.

  4. Quincy Groom permalink
    October 8, 2012 8:53 pm

    Vegetarian dishes are not only healthy, they are also very tasty. i really love vegan dishes. “;;;,

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