Crowd Pleaser: The Capital Grille
2000 Rt. 38
When it comes to the full steakhouse experience, The Capital Grille pulls out all the stops. High-backed booths for added privacy are complemented by low lighting, dark wood walls trimmed with oil painted portraits and traditional accents. A giant wine selection sits behind glass walls, while individual wine lockers owned by some of The Capital Grille’s notable regulars dot the entrance and into the dining room.
The wait staff consists of fine dining lifers, with business cards, a prepared Rolodex for their regular clientele, and the professional attitude that really lets you know that you’re being taken care of. It’s one of the reasons why The Capital Grille has become so successful—and so well known—amongst the elite and refined diners of South Jersey. Be it business people looking to land a deal or unwind after hours, a family looking to celebrate a special event or even the occasional pro athlete, each diner gets treated like royalty.
And the menu is designed to match the service. Top-notch ingredients get elevated with expert preparation on this à la carte menu that doesn’t stray too far from classic steakhouse dishes. There’s the traditional seafood and shellfish appetizers—the seafood tower could be considered a meal in itself—and then there is the classic steak tartare: raw steak diced fine and served with toasted bread, plenty of capers and chopped hardboiled egg. The meat was incredibly tender, and paired delightfully with the salty bite from the capers, while the eggs added an extra rich, creamy texture that played with the bite of the toast. It’s a bite that manages to capture the attention of every taste bud.
The appetizer of prosciutto and mozzarella with tomatoes sounded simple enough, until it arrived on the table. The slices of fresh mozzarella were wrapped in salty, meaty slices of prosciutto and sautéed lightly, until the cheese melted and the prosciutto was just slightly crispy. Meanwhile, sliced heirloom tomatoes got treated to a drizzling of 15-year aged balsamic and served with crostini for stacking.
A walk through their specially-designed aging room reveals dozens of cuts, all aged up to 72 days. What is left is beef that is perfectly preserved with an extra tender, meatier flavor. The specialty steaks can be found across the entire menu, like the dry aged porterhouse, a 24-ounce cut grilled and seasoned simply, as it should be. The massive steak highlights everything good with the dry-aging process, especially when cooked to a perfect medium rare, and needs no sauce or toppings.
The tenderloin with butter-poached lobster tails is one of executive chef Joey Medelline’s featured suggestions, and plates a cut of seared tenderloin alongside two delicate lobster tails, poached in butter that pooled slightly on the plate. The lobster tails were so light and flavorful, bursting with their own briny flavor but made even better by the decadence of the butter. And while the tenderloin would have benefitted from a bit more seasoning, the cut was perfectly cooked and made all the better when paired with a piece of lobster and a quick dip in the butter.
À la carte sides were of the potato and vegetable variety, matching the rest of the traditional menu. Potatoes au gratin, for example, came classically prepared, with a creamy sauce and thin-sliced potato coins, topped with a crunchy broiled cheese. It was one of the better preparations of potatoes au gratin that I’ve tried, with just the right amount of seasoning and sauce. The side of creamed spinach, however, suffered from a seriously heavy hand of nutmeg that unfortunately overpowered the entire serving.
A flourless chocolate cake ended what was a truly exceptional evening. When looking to pull out all the stops and really indulge in a decadent and indulgent experience, there are few places that spoil you more than The Capital Grille. From the beautiful space and standout service to dishes that are the epitome of luxury, this is one spot that really delivers.
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 5 (August, 2015).
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