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First Look: Lunch at The Capital Grille Boston

Monday, January 9, 2012

It seems like just yesterday, but The Capital Grille Boston moved from Newbury to Boylston Street this past August. I had my first look at the space when I stopped in for lunch with a friend recently. The new restaurant is grand - graciously proportioned, sophisticated, and comfortable. More than twice as large as the original, the location is now open for lunch, served primarily in a sleek lounge area with large windows overlooking the adjacent Boylston, Dalton and Hereford streets.
I arrived shortly before they opened to take some photos of the space. The style is somewhat similar to the Burlington, Massachusetts Capital Grille but the build quality feels a touch higher at the downtown location. It also feels more spacious which is surprising given that this is a downtown location.

Some familiar portraits convey from the old site, but this is very much a 100% new space. I was thinking I might miss the old restaurant with its ornate dark wood and good old boys club feel. But after a short walk around the room I felt right at home. I can't wait to make it back for a birthday dinner.
We took a seat in the lounge for lunch, as did most others that day. Seating near the bar in the old location was tight but this one is very comfortable. A "Plates" menu option provides a good value - a choice of soup or salad along with a protein and a side for $15.
We split a wedge salad -- I feel cheated if I visit and don't get one -- along with selections from the Plates menu and a Tres Picos Garancha by the glass. I really want to try more Grenache in the coming year and this wine is a good example of why. Rich fruit flavors with caramel notes in the background. Quite affordable at retail too from around $12 (search for it at retail on wine-searcher.com).
Our server and several others recommended the Porcini Bisque. I'm glad we took their advice - it was fantastic. It's a dark creamy soup served with a streak of chive oil. Mix that in and you've got a delicious hearty start to your meal.
I couldn't pass up the Mini Tenderloin Sandwiches with Truffle Fries. Our server recommended the Lobster Roll or the "Knife and Fork" BLT but we couldn't be swayed. The tenderloin sliders were very good, but I've never been blown away by their truffle fries. Even if they sound and look delicious they're just so-so. I probably should have gone with one of the vegetable sides.
That said I enjoyed every bite, along with a wine off their higher end by-the-glass list: A 2010 Markham Pinot Noir that's unfortunately a Capital Grille exclusive. Highly recommended next time you stop in.

The Plates menu is designed to get you in and out in 45 minutes. We must have lingered a little more than normal (we were on vacation) and ended up spending about 2 hours there. Note they don't have valet service at lunch. I was able to find nearby street parking (bring your quarters) but I hear the garage near the Kings bowling alley is a good option.

The Plates menu evolves in early January to feature more wintery selections including -- get this -- a Wagyu Cheeseburger with Fried Egg and Crisp Onions.

I snapped the photo below on the way out. I think it captures the new location brilliantly. Polished and solid as a rock, but in the reflection you can see the old charm of the Back Bay neighborhood it is situated within:
Check 'em out:
The Capital Grille Boston
900 Boylston Street
617-262-8900
http://www.thecapitalgrille.com

Related Reading: A review of Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

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