The Capital Grille

 July 17, 2012

Multiple Locations in the US |

In the one year that I’ve lived here in the Twin Cities I have been to several of the “special occasion” dinner destinations around town: Meritage, La Belle Vie, W.A. Frost, and 112 Eatery just to name a few. I have heard great things about Capital Grille but have held off going because I knew it to be a chain restaurant with numerous locations throughout the US. I’m generally a bit wary of selecting a chain restaurant for special dinners, but Capital Grille came so highly recommended from several people so I decided to give it a shot. And so, for our wedding anniversary this year, the wife and I headed to downtown Minneapolis to check out Capital Grille.

Parking in downtown is usually a nuisance at best, but Capital Grille offers free valet parking services for their guests. We pulled up to the restaurant and proceeded in to check in with the hostess. The interior design of the restaurant is elegant and old-fashioned, but it felt very well maintained. We were shown to our seats (reservations highly recommended) and greeted by our server.

Service throughout the evening was excellent. Our waiter was personable and attentive. Never having dined here before, he ran down the menu format and highlighted a few items for us. As always, I had done a little research ahead of time and had an idea of what I wanted to order. We placed our order for a variety of items, broke into the house bread, and waited.

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio – Seared Wagyu beef with seven spices, fresh arugula, lemon vinaigrette

Our first appetizer of the evening was this presentation of thinly sliced seared Wagyu beef. The dish had a nice, intense beef flavor but overall was a bit too “peppery” for our tastes. The combination of the spices along with arugula was perhaps a bit too much, and the lemon vinaigrette wasn’t quite acidic enough to offset the flavor. We thought this dish was fair, but it would end up being our least favorite of the night.

Lobster & Crab Cakes –Lumps of crab and lobster, dry mustard, red pepper, sweet corn relish

Although our first appetizer was not as good as we had hoped, our second delivered on flavor to our satisfaction. The fresh, sweet lobster and crab meat melded well with the spice of the dry mustard. The sweet corn relish was refreshing and cut the oiliness of the fried cakes nicely. We enjoyed these very much.

Lobster Mac ‘N’ Cheese – Baked campanelle pasta, lobster, marscarpone, Havarti, Grana Padana cream sauce, panko and white cheddar topping

One of Capital Grille’s premier side dishes is this delectable presentation of lobster mac ‘n’ cheese. Perfectly gooey and full of rich flavors, it is certainly a side that any guest of Capital Grille should order. The rich combination of cheeses, sweetness of lobster, and the crunch of the panko topping make for a well-balanced and delicious dish.

Roasted Seasonal Mushrooms – Portabella, oyster, shiitake, and cremini mushrooms. Slow roasted with olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and garlic butter.

Another quintessential Capital Grille side dish, these roasted mushrooms were hearty and delicious. A nicely varied mix of mushrooms is enriched by garlic butter, further accented with additional earthy flavors from rosemary and thyme.

Filet Oscar – Filet Mignon, steamed asparagus, colossal lump crabmeat, Bearnaise

My wife’s choice of entrée was the filet Oscar, a combination of lean filet mignon and crab. We found the filet to be nicely tender, but a little on the dry side. The Bernaise helped the dish along by providing additional moisture to each bite along with a rich, slightly sweet flavor.

Porcini Rubbed Delmonico w/ 12 Year Aged Balsamic – Poricini mushroom crust, broiled Delmonico steak, drizzle of balsamic vinegar, lobster tail

Most likely the most talked about steak at Capital Grille, the poricini rubbed Delmonico was a fantastic presentation of flavor. The poricini crust added an earthy depth to each bite, while the aged balsamic adds an additional complexity and slight tang to the overall flavor. The steak was well cooked to a perfect medium rare, leaving it juicy and tender. I would certainly order this again if I were to visit Capital Grille in the future.

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake – Espresso, fresh raspberries, whipped cream, Melba sauce

A dessert compliments of the house for our anniversary, this simple dessert was a nice finish to the evening’s meal. Just slightly rich and light, the cake is full of chocolate and coffee flavor notes.


Despite my hesitation about Capital Grille being a part of a chain, I am pleased to say that we had an excellent dining experience. This was by far the best experience we’ve had dining at a “chain” restaurant, and frankly the dining experience is strong enough that you would never get the impression that Capital Grille had so many locations if you did not know beforehand. The food (except for a couple of minor issues), service, ambiance, and total dining experience were all above average. We are happy to have dined here for our anniversary and will be back in the future!

Capital Grille
LaSalle Plaza
801 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: 612.692.9000

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

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