Monday, January 30, 2012

Slobblog: Capital Grille - Keeping it Classy

Yeah, I'll have the porterhouse and Juan Pierre's head on a plate.
The first Slobfest of 2012 took place at the Capital Grille. It's quite a step up in $$$$ for the Slobfest crew, as one of the main tenants of Slobfest is to not break the bank. The reason for choosing the steakhouse chain is that Center City was having it's semi-annual Restaurant Week.

Now, unless you're a snobby Philadelphian or Marc Vetri, restaurant week is a good deal. It provides an opportunity to try out a new place that maybe you wouldn't normally go to. Maybe Del Frisco's is too pricey, or there's a new restaurant out there you're not totally sold on, well, RW provides a chance to sample the menu and not feel like you wasted your time.

Menus are usually scaled down compared to the usual selection, but some restaurants really put their best foot forward. Capital Grille was one of those menus.

The spread.
We all arrived on a rainy night in Philadelphia. A full party of 8, who were all ready to eat a lot of food and dig into some steak. As I mentioned the menu was pretty impressive, and as a caveat the waiter told us they added lobster bisque and a lobster tail to any main course at a nominal price.

As we all ordered the breakdown went 6 14oz kona rubbed sirloin steaks, 1 filet mignon, and 1 porterhouse. The porterhouse was not on the restaurant week menu, but one slob was feeling frisky and went off the menu all night long.

In addition to the steaks, apps, and sides we added some lobster mac & cheese, au gratin potatoes, and seasonal corn app, which was odd as corn is nowhere near in season, but nonetheless were delicious.

As for drinks there were some beers, wine, a martini, gin and tonics, and of course a diet coke. Once the food got out it was apparent we were all intent on eating and digging in as there was an extended period of silence for the first 5-10 minutes after the steaks were placed in front of us.

This food is great LOL!! :) :P xoxo
We put on quite a spectacle, and despite Chef Vetri's complaints about non $135 per person tasting menus, the food was great all around. The food was so great some of us couldn't stop texting everyone someone about it.

The service was great, the bar and restaurant were packed and we were able to be our loud, obnoxious selves without having to be concerned about ruining the evening for whomever was sitting around us. As a matter of fact it's probably one of the minimal times we haven't completely ruined the evening for some unsuspecting diners. Unlike say Koo Zee Doo or Amada, when we certainly, definitely made people's dining experience less than enjoyable.

That's really one of the great things about steakhouses that people don't think about, even if it is a fancy or upscale place, steakhouses provide a festive atmosphere where you almost need to be loud and boisterous. I guess when your objective is to dig into a pound of nearly raw meat, well, polish and stiffness don't really go hand and hand.

No Slobfest would be complete without the jokes and the messing around. Things started early with inappropriate jokes around the crowded bar. There were a lot of people, and when you're not attempting to get a Slobfest member to hit on a girl at the bar, when one shows up in v-neck scrubs, well you know you're going to be mentioning how he saves lives, is a doctor, and mock him for "custom" v-neck scrubs.

We were seated at a circular table that barely held all of us, but did provide enough space. The problem with a circular table is that each person has a limited view, and this came into play as soon as we sat down. Not long into dinner, Phillies' GM and general bad ass Ruben Amaro walked by. Alas, the member that had site on Mr. Amaro failed to react in a normal time due to being stunned by the presence and I'm assuming aura of the man that re-signed Clifton Lee. So by the time he was able to say, "That's Ruben Amaro," all we could see was the side and back view of Rube. Behind him followed an older man in one of the worst sweaters you will ever see. We could only assume this was Phils advisor, Hall of Famer GM, and architect of multiple World Series teams - most significantly those 2008 Phils, Pat Gillick. But again, this is only an assumption as we had limited reaction time.

There was also the invention of Babe Alerts. Babe Alerts always existed in guy circles as a nudge, wink or subtle gesture. But when one slob overreacted to a Babe Alert, we took it as our duty to verbally say Babe Alert whenever an worthy lady walked by. As we continued to get louder and more buzzed, those Babe Alerts weren't so subtle at all.

All in all, the Capital Grille handled our nonsense great. We didn't feel embarrassed or embarrass ourselves. A win when you can look back on your night and not feel a ping of shame. Good form, and for a chain restaurant, great food.

The food was good. The spelling, not so good.

One last thing. We parked at a lot near McGillin's Olde Ale House (a great bar). Now, I've been to McGillin's plenty of times, but have no recollection of this parking structure. It definitely looked new and what made it so crazy is that it was all automated. You would park your car in the designated area, take your keys, swipe your credit card, and it would take your car into the vertical lot for storage. Somehow. Now to get your car back, you go to the other side of the lot, swipe your same credit card and the lot automatically gets your car and spits it out the other end. Incredibly easy and convenient, and definitely cool. Ah, technology.

Slobs Out.

The future.

Hey, it's Ruben Amaro.

The Capital Grille
1338 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA

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