Last week, I had a very exciting opportunity to taste the new Bar Menu at Houston’s Capital Grille, and let me say – it did not disappoint. Capital Grille has always been on my radar but I could never seem to muster up the gusto to drop that much money on a meal, so I’m happy to report that my first time dining experience was also one of the best I’ve had in quite some time. The idea behind the release of the new bar menu is to give patrons the opportunity enjoy a tasty and gourmet meal in a more casual and relaxed atmosphere while also being a bit more friendly on the wallet.
Jessica, our well informed and personable server, brought out the Capital Grille’s signature cocktail, the Stoli Doli to start. I’m not a big sugary sweet fruit cocktail fan, so I was a bit weary of how I would feel about it, however, this pineapple infused martini was an absolute delight – very light, sweet and natural. In fact, so natural that there are no sweeteners added – just pineapple + Stoli Vodka + 2 weeks of infusion time = a simple and tasty beverage. I could see myself getting lost in these and not even realizing it.
As the food piled up on our table, it wasn’t hard for me to pick favorites although I enjoyed most everything:
Pan Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers ($13) – Easily the best calamari I have had. Ever. Salty and crispy but not particularly greasy with a kick. The hot cherry peppers add dimension and an interesting twist to this appetizer staple. You will not need marinara sauce to enjoy this dish. Take note, it is a heaping portion, so make sure to share.
Miniature Fresh Mozzarella, Crisp Prosciutto and Basil Sandwiches with 10 year Aged Balsamic ($10 for 3) – Maybe it’s just me, but I really enjoy the novelty of gourmet twists on classic comfort food, so this mini sandwich was basically heaven on a plate – and I’m also a sandwichaholic. The balsamic really shined in this dish as it really married all the ingredients together.
MiniatureTenderloin Sandwiches ($18 for 3) – We were presented with several ‘sandwich’ type items on the bar menu, 2 of which were burger like – this slider and the Signature Cheeseburger. Not only was the tenderloin a beautifully prepared medium rare (not how I typically enjoy my burger, but since it was tenderloin – okay) but the wild mushroom and Boursin cheese made this menu item irresistible – I think it was one of the only items on the menu I finished. This was also the boy’s favorite and he’s quite the burger critic so all was good.
Honorable Mention: Miniature Lobster and Crab Burgers ($15 for 3) (not a huge crustacean lover but all seafood is from the East coast so you can’t really go wrong with this one)
By the end of the meal, I could barely breathe when Jessica realized we hadn’t tried the Signature Cheeseburger ($16)and Parmesan truffle fries ($9). I can honestly say I mustered up the strength to have a bite and it was awesome. My favorite thing about the Signature Cheeseburger was how fresh it tasted – might sound a bit strange when describing a burger, but I like mine piled high with fresh and crisp veggies to offset the chewiness of the meat and bun. This thing is also gigantic so I have no idea how Peter got through his half of it it and a good portion of the truffle fries – which he said were outstanding. You could literally smell the truffle oil from the moment the friend came out of the kitchen.
After dinner, we enjoyed a drink at the bar – I needed a pick me up from the food coma I was in – and I was introduced to a lovely South African cream liqueur – Amarula – which has the taste of slightly fruity caramel. I had this mixed in with a regular cup of coffee and it was absolutely lovely.
I can guarantee you I will be back to enjoy after work drinks and share some of these menu items with friends or someone special. The staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the menu items and the food is classic. 10/10!
Note: Be sure to keep you eyes peeled for a supplementary post on the Master Wine tasting.