Preview: Capital Grille Chevy Chase

The posh shops in Chevy Chase have a new addition:  The Capital Grille opens officially on Monday, November 16.  Now you can buy your Jimmy Choos, pick up the latest Gucci bag, swing over to Cap Grille for lunch, then stroll through Bloomies or Saks post-lunch.  Although somehow, that’s not quite the crowd …

We went to a preview dinner on Saturday, an interesting concept in and of itself.  Of course restaurants do practice runs before the real thing … Why not be part of it?  Turns out the restaurant hosted a charity event earlier in the week, then rotated its menu for a series of preview dinners to give the kitchen and the rest of the staff a chance to get ready.

All in all, a good meal.  The wagyu beef carpaccio was very flavorful – paper thin slices of bright red meat that packed a punch in each mouthful, almost duck-like in its richness.  It was set off by a small pile of pungent arugula (not too peppery, not too bland), along with shaved parmasean cheese, all splashed with lemon.  Definite thumbs up.

I wavered on the entree:  steak seemed to be on tap, but the double cut lamb chops were intriguing.  In the end, the kitchen made the choice for me:  they were out of the lamb chops – a not unusual hazard for a 9:00 pm dinner.  So steak it was, rubbed in kona coffee and dark cocoa rub a side of shallot butter.  The steak was quite good.  The sauce was divine.  A rich carmelized sauce that was salty and sweet at the same time.  It was as if they melted salty carmels and mixed them with shallots that had been browned just to the point of sweetness.  I want that recipe!!!

Dessert was key lime pie – standard choice, not bad, but a tiny bit eggy for my taste.  Then again, I am particularly sensitive to too much egg, having a strong aversion to egg yolk …

Dinner was complimentary, so we splurged on wine.  The wine list had a nice selection of hearty reds to go with the food.  We decided on a California cab – Stags’ Leap Artemis 2006.  Very young, chewy and still tannic even when decanted.  A good choice, but a bit much even for our steaks.  Perhaps the Hess Select – our second choice – would have been better?

Capital GrilleA pleasant experience, good, knowledgeable service and good food.  Bountiful portions, with enough for breakfast the next morning and bones for the dogs.  (Our server packed the creamed spinach, but alas not the heavenly sauce).

Would I go there again?  Sure, to meet friends who live in Bethesda for dinner maybe.  But if I want a good steak, I’m more inclined to head to The Palm, which is just down the street and a little more my style – I can just throw on jeans for The Palm or even head to the bar for a drink with a girlfriend.  Not sure I would feel entirely comfortable doing either at Cap Grille…

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