|Capital Grille, Naples, FL|
Darden Restaurants is the world's largest casual dining operation in the world with over 1500 restaurants and 150,000 employees working under 8 different banners. These include Seasons 52, The Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and Longhorn Steakhouse among others. One of these banners, The Capital Grille, was started in Rhode Island in 1990 and acquired in 2007 by Darden. The Capital Grille is a luxury steakhouse banner under The Specialty Group of Darden.
As you walk into the restaurant at the Naples, FL location to talk to the receptionist the first thing you may notice is the rather commodious and well appointed bar area bustling with patrons. The second are the personalized storage lockers in the reception area. The hostess told me they are reserved for those that buy a case of wine from the restaurant and pay a $500 annual fee. This entitles one to be on a mailing list for VIP events, forgo a corkage fee for wine brought into the restaurant and also have preferred seating.
|Wines featured in The Generous Pour, Capital Grille|
My dining companion and I were there for their annual promotional event, The Generous Pour. The event features tastings of 7 different wines, 3 whites and 4 reds. All of the wines chosen for this event are rated 90 plus points on the rating scale developed by the wine critic, Robert Parker, for the influential wine periodical The Wine Advocate. The white wines featured were a Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Gris. The red wines served were a Pinot Noir, a Zinfandel and 2 Cabernet Sauvignon wines. For a more complete description of each of the wines served for this event go Here. The Generous Pour is $28 with dinner which can even be a salad if you like bringing this event into extremely generous territory.This seems to be a very popular promotion, as our server told us about 30% of diners order this.
We were escorted to our table and immediately brought water and a bread basket. The bread served was excellent with a wide range of textures and flavors. Lavash, pumpernickel with white raisins, ciabatta with herbs, Parmesan and egg wash and French dinner rolls, which are basically baguettes in dinner roll form. All of this made for a really good snack while we were perusing the menus.
|Lobster Mac and Cheese|
We decided to sample a few items, the first being the lobster mac and cheese. For mac and cheese per se, this dish was excellent. A mixture of Havarti, White Cheddar, Mascarpone and Parmesan cheeses graced our macaroni, which had a bit of a seafood note. I never thought certain shellfish like lobster and crab are a good idea in heavy sauces. Their flavor is so delicate it can be easily lost in a heavy sauce. Nonetheless, this was a very good plate of mac and cheese.
Since I was able to, I really wanted to have a salad for dinner. Unfortunately, what really appealed to me was the Cobb salad that was only available at lunch. Calling ahead, the restaurant told me they would gladly make one for me by request, a real feather in their cap for service. This was a nice take on the traditional Cobb with sliced tenderloin, egg, avocado, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, bacon covered lettuce with a honey mustard dressing and blue cheese. Should you ever forget what is in a Cobb salad, remember the acronym EAT COBB (eggs, avocado, tomato, chicken, onion, bacon and blue cheese).
My dining companion ordered the shaved Brussels sprout salad with toasted pecans, goat cheese and smoked bacon. Just more deliciousness. We also split an order of roasted wild mushrooms consisting of roasted crimini, oyster, shiitaki and portobello mushrooms. My dining companion did not care for these but I did. More for me!
One more thing about The Generous Pour. You are poured one ounce samples of each wine but you are free to revisit any and all wines as much as you like. I particularly liked one of the Cabernet wines (Mt. Brave) which our server told us was normally $30 a glass. The restaurant was extremely generous with their servings which made me very happy.
With price points in the upper range of the dining scene in Naples, The Capital Grille does not always have to be about capital, especially with this great promotional event.
It's a wrap for another post on Forks.
The Capital Grille
9005 Mercato Dr.
Naples, FL 34108
All major credit cards accepted; valet parking; kid's meals available, open Monday-Thursday 1130 AM to 10 PM, Friday 1130 AM to 11 PM, Saturday 5-11 PM, Sunday 5-11 PM
|Bar area, Capital Grille|
|Dining area, Capital Grille|