Ever since I lost my cushy desk job to the bursting of the housing bubble, I haven’t been able to indulge in much fine cuisine. Who can afford to pay more than ten bucks for a meal? There are two answers to that question:
1. Not me.
2. My friends.
Every year for my birthday, these dear friends treat me to a taste of my former life.
Fortunately, my birthday usually coincides with dineLA, an event during which Los Angeles restaurants offer a prix fixe menu at a discounted price. This year, I was given a choice of three restaurants, and I decided to go with the Capital Grille.
Now, we all know how I feel about restaurants that add a superfluous E on the end of “grill” to make it seem fancier, and that made me hesitant to choose the Capital Grille, but I told myself that I ought to judge a restaurant by its food, not its grammar.
My friends had told the restaurant when making the reservation that it was my birthday, so there was a birthday card waiting for me when we arrived, surrounded by some birthday confetti. It was a nice touch.
The first thing we asked when we sat down was whether or not the dineLA portions were regular portions or reduced. One of my friends, being a dude, was concerned about whether or not the portions would be filling. Our server reassured us that the portions were the same size as the normal portions at the Capital Grille.
Han must still have been suspicious because he decided to order an appetizer anyway. The Pan-Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers was tender and flavorful. It wasn’t overbattered, and the batter that was there was light and crispy. The peppers also added a nice bite of spice and acid to the dish without overwhelming it.
We then got started on the prix fixe menu. Both of us girls got the Clam Chowder, and the dude got the Field Greens, which surprised me. He said he enjoyed it, but I couldn’t help but to secretly think that we girls had won the first round. The chowder was creamy and silky, and there were plenty of clams in it.
We moved on to the main event: the steak. My buddy the dude is a workout freak and his nickname is The Beef. Well, these steak dishes were steaks worthy of The Beef. The Beef and his lady got the Kona Crusted Dry-Aged Sirloin with Shallot Butter. It was done to perfection, and it tasted fine, but I still felt that I had the winner on my plate.
I got the Filet Mignon, which was served with a red wine sauce, was rich and full of flavor. I enjoyed every bite of that melt-in-your-mouth filet.
Each dinner was supposed to be served with a little Creamed Spinach and Mashed Potatoes, but since there were three of us, our server gave us a full-sized order of each. The spinach was creamy enough, but I personally thought it could have used some bacon. The mashed potatoes were creamy, too, but I felt myself wanting garlic.
The service, by the way, was some of the best I ever had. Our server was on point without being a nuisance. He was knowledgable and confidently answered all of our questions. He even suggested ways that we could get more out of our dining experience.
We finished with three different desserts. I got the Classic Crème Brûlée, The Beef got the Capital Grille Handcrafted Ice Cream in vanilla, and his lady got the Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake. All three desserts were just about perfect; sweet without giving us a toothache, although I thought it helped that we ate the ice cream and the cake together.
We left happy and satisfied. I even took home leftovers.
The dineLA deal was incredible, and, as far as fine dining is concerned, the Capital Grille certainly knows what it’s doing. Someday, when my ship comes in, I’ll visit the Capital Grille again.
The Capital Grille
8614 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048