Friday, April 24, 2009

The Capital Grille - Tampa

For years now, my friends Bernie and Johann have been touting The Capital Grille Restaurant that they go to in Providence, Rhode Island. Unfortunately, we live in upstate New York and most of the high-end chain restaurants have missed us, The Capital Grille being one of those.

Since lucky me

hit the slot machine in the casino the day before, I thought it would be a nice change to have a leisurely dinner out, and knew that there was a Capital Grille in Tampa, so we made a reservation for dinner. Since for most of the trip we had cooked at the timeshare, and been traveling so much, we were eating on the road quite a bit. We went to

The Capital Grille Tampa
2223 North West Shore Boulevard
Tampa, FL

We had made a reservation for an early dinner and set out on our way.

We had a slight detour, making a wrong turn and landed in a pile of traffic. I knew we were going to be late, and so I called the restaurant to tell them. Kirstin answered the phone and reassured us that it wouldn’t be a problem, and to “take our time.”

We finally arrived at the exit and the GPS told us to turn left, which of course was not where we needed to go. I called the restaurant yet again, and this time Kirstin walked us through the directions until we arrived at the door…talk about great customer service! Kirsten is exactly the type of person you need at the front of the house. She delivered exactly what she was supposed to...personalized, great service!

Kirstin, greeting us as we walked in finally !

We entered the restaurant and we were seated immediately, asking whether or not we preferred a table or a booth. As this was my first visit to The Capital Grille chain, I don’t know what the others look like, but this one was beautifully decorated in warm tones and luxurious wood.

The walls were full of great art work and portraits of several people. I asked the girls at the front desk what the significance of the portraits was, and they explained that each portrait was of a Floridian of some importance, politically, historically, or in sports. For example here is a portrait of Babe Zaharias, the great golfer

Our waiter, Yee Tar Zee

welcomed us, and asked if we had
eaten at The Capital Grille before.
He brought out a delicious basket of assorted breads.

He explained the menu in great detail, and answered
all our questions. I had looked at the menu on line
and pretty much decided that I was going to try
the lobster macaroni and cheese. Yee had mentioned
a crab leg special that you could add to your dinner and
I decided to try that as well.

Yee described the evening special which was a
steak entree with several tasting dishes - Marc opted for this choice.
Steve went with one of the steaks and Rae opted
for the crab cakes.

Steve and I ordered the onion soup

it was the perfect serving size, enough to truly enjoy the
delicious flavor of the soup, brimming with melted cheese,
but not so enormous that you couldn't enjoy the rest of dinner...perfect!

Marc's tasting menu began with a demitasse soup serving of a
fabulous mushroom consomme

Rae had a Caesar Salad served with white anchovies

she said it was absolutely delicious!

Marc's next course was a salad course
studded with feta cheese - fabulous

This was followed by a lemon basil sorbet to change the palate

The taste of the basil and lemon combination was delicious and very different

Rae's main course of crab cakes arrived

Rae said they were so incredible, all you ate were lumps of
crab meat, hardly any breading, just pure and delicious crab!

Steve's steak arrived, done to a picture
and the flavor was a masterpiece itself!

Marc's steak was served with a horseradish sauce

and served with a side of baked pasta made with Grand Padano,
Mascarpone and Havarti cheeses and truffles, topped with Panko breadcrumbs.
I can't even begin to describe how delicious this was, I wish I hadn't
eaten a thing, so I could have just swallowed the plate whole!

My lobster mac and cheese arrived and again, it didn't disappoint. The chunks of lobster were huge, sweet and tender, combined with the cheese, it was comfort
food kicked up several notches, I couldn't decide which side dish was better...

The guys said that the steaks just melted in their mouths,
if you had heard the moans, oohs, and aahs, you might
have thought this was an X-rated movie and not dinner, lol

My crab legs were so sweet and succulent that they
melted in my mouth. They were bathed in
a lemon, butter and dill that was so light and luscious
it was as though a forest of epicurean elves were dancing on my tongue!

It was now time for the delicious desserts -
I was astounded by what I ate this evening,
as I can never do all the courses at dinner - must have been another lucky night!

Marc's dinner came with a dessert of gelato with chocolate
sauce that Yee so graciously poured over the gelato.

Steve had the cheesecake with berries - incredibly rich and creamy...

Rae and I shared a Key Lime Pie

that was without a doubt
one of the best we've ever eaten. The creamy consistency
cannot even be described - the best!

During the course of the meal, I had asked Yee if he could ask the
manager to come to the table so I could introduce myself
and tell him that I was going to include the restaurant on the blog.
Yee brought over Adam Taylor, who is a managing partner to meet us.

Adam was wonderful. He spent a great deal of time with us, and
even brought out the chef, Daniel Tederous

for us to meet. Daniel was so nice to us and answered all
my questions about some of the dishes that were prepared, the
ingredients and spices that were used.

Adam gave me permission to go into the kitchen to meet
everyone and take some pictures

The girls in the front showed us the wine selection,
well over 350 bottles

There is a large bar if that's your thing

The girls at the front bid us goodbye

we had a wonderful evening...

I guess if you haven't figured it out by now, we really loved our dinner,
the restaurant, the staff, everything about The Capital Grille.
Someone had originally mentioned Bern's Steak House
but after reading the reviews on line, I chose The Capital Grille and
I'm so glad that I did.
This is one chain restaurant without a chain restaurant feel. I wouldn't
hesitate to recommend this one in particular, and I
will surely go back here, or for that matter,
I will be sure to try The Capital Grille in any city that has one!

Kudos to Adam, Daniel, and the staff in Tampa!

If anyone has dined here and didn't like it, I would
have to image that there is nothing that would please them anywhere!

Please note: there will be a one day break between the remaining two Florida posting in honor of National Pretzel Day. The post tomorrow will be in honor of that!

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