Over the years I have traveled frequently from Los Angeles to New York. While in New York I often have the hankering for steak. My favorite steakhouse in New York is the Capital Grille Restaurant. As I typically stay in the vicinity of Lexington Avenue and 50th Street, I prefer to walk whenever and wherever I possibly can. The Capital Grille’s location on 42nd Street and Lexington enables me to do just that.
Although there is a Capital Grille Restaurant here in Los Angeles, it did not exist in 2004 when I discovered this steakhouse on 42nd Street. One may think all the Capital Grille Restaurants are the same but they are not. The desires of the patrons, awards earned and the décor determine the difference in each Capital Grille Restaurant. New York City patrons expect the dry aging of the meat to be 21 days rather than the company’s nationwide timeframe of 14 days. This will obviously make a huge difference in the taste and tenderness of steaks in a New York City versus Los Angeles.
This particular Capital Grille Restaurant has received many awards with the most recent being the 2011 Wine Spectator “Best Award of Excellence”.
The restaurant is located in the Chrysler Center and the ambiance inside depends on your location in the various dining rooms. On the night of my visit, I sat amongst the steel girders that encompass the exterior design of the Chrysler building, which lends itself to the feeling of being in Paris on the Eiffel Tower. The other dining areas of the restaurant have an old world atmosphere. The kitchen is open so one can glimpse at the preparations if they are situated in proximity.
One of the first things I noticed that impressed me on this visit to the Capital Grille Restaurant Chrysler Center was that you are given a choice of either a white or black napkin depending on what you are wearing. Actually the staff seating you observes your attire to determine the appropriate napkin. How often do we walk out of a restaurant wearing black and have white link balls on our outfit? This small luxury more restaurants should incorporate into the dining experience.
The staff and servers are really friendly and I highly recommend Stephen, who has been with the restaurant seven years. The longevity of most the employees enhances the dining experience and the quality of the restaurant.
Most impressive is the thoughtfulness and accommodations the restaurant makes for those with allergies and dietary restrictions.
The Chef, Juan Arboleda takes a lot of pride in the food at his restaurant especially when it comes to the tenderness of the meats being served.
The wine list is extensive and outstanding. At my request Stephen paired small tastes of different wines with each course of my meal.
While waiting for my first course, I sampled two wines. The first being a 2010 KC Jones Streamliner, a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier and Pinot Blanc. This was a very refreshing wine that I preferred to the Domaine Jean-Paul Ballard 2009 Sancerre.
I began my meal with the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette. For those that do not know, Wagyu is a type of cow raised and prepared in a Japanese style. The Wagyu beef was sliced thinly; has a hint of mustard and literally melts in your mouth.
Paired with my first course was a Belle Glos Meiomi Sonoma Coast 2009 Pinot Noir. This was a light Pinot that ideally suited the texture of the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio.
As my main course, Chef Arboleda wanted me to sample a combination of entrées. This appealed as it provided smaller portions, allowing me to savor more of the food without being overwhelmed and gave the chef the latitude to recommend the best dishes on his menu.
I was delighted to sample the Kona Crusted Sirloin. The sirloin was dry rubbed with Kona Coffee and Cocoa. The sirloin was extremely tender and the Kona rub adds a wonderful flavor to the meat.
The Lollipop Lamb Chops with Herb Oil and Aged Balsamic were the best I had ever tasted. There was no hint of the gamey flavor that often occurs with lamb. This was American lamb that was raised in New Zealand. This lamp chop selection was from the Bar Menu and the 12-year old Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin herbed oil made these chops extremely tasty.
The final meat selection was a filet mignon that was also superb and was accompanied with a side of French Green Beans with Shallots and Heirloom Tomatoes.
The wine selection for this course was a Fisher Vineyards Unity 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a smooth Velvety and full-bodied wine that I preferred with my entrée. The other was a Chateau Giscours 2008 Le Haut-Medoc de Giscours Grand Reserve that was a little too earthy and green for my palate.
Although I could not indulge in most desserts at the Capital Grille, I made a point of finding out the popular ones. Patrons typically choose between the Coconut Cream Pie made with a sweet soft cookie crust, a lighter cream coconut filing and a caramel rum sauce or the Cheese Cake with Seasonal Berries, which combines cream cheese and ricotta cheese and is covered with a brulee top.
With my allergies I am becoming the connoisseur of sorbets. I tried the Cherry and Lemon Sorbet. The cherry was tart but my favorite was the lemon as the taste almost revealed a hint of pear.
As expected I felt wined and dined at the Capital Grille, which when traveling is always pleasurable.
I now look forward to comparing the Capital Grille Restaurant here in Los Angeles.
Capital Grille Restaurant
155 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017
Lunch: Monday – Friday 11:30 am – 3 pm
Dinner: Sunday – Monday 5 pm – 10 pm
Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday 5 pm – 11 pm
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