If you're going into the city for an evening of entertainment, check out the Capital Grille at 500 Crescent Court (Maple Street). Not only is it a popular Dallas fine dining destination, the restaurant offers a great deal on nights when there is something going on in the arts district.
Their special Performing Arts Menu includes an appetizer, vegetables, entree and dessert for $50 per person (excluding beverages).
Sarah Smith and I chose an early seating at 5:30 p.m. recently. We had the place to ourselves until about 7 p.m. and, I must say, our overall experience rivals the anything I've experienced in New York, Los Angeles or the European continent.
The atmosphere reminds me of the Driskoll Hotel in Austin. Rich, lush, masculine and very tastefully done. Sarah and I shared a banquette, which provided a cozy environment and a view of all the action.
When our very adept waiter Jesse Sale found out it was our first trip to the restaurant, he arranged for us to sample a porcini rubbed lamp chomp, which was grilled to perfection. I will order it as an entree on my next visit.
I ordered a Mojito (cut the sweetness, please), while Sarah opted for the special Stoli Doli (a wonderfullly fresh blend of Hawaiian pineapple and Stoli vodka).
I had my first Mojito - and still the best one ever - at Pat's Rum Barrel in Key West, prepared by a Bacardi-certified bartender. The ones I get here are usually loaded down with simple syrup and don't even come close to resembling the sparkling drink I enjoyed on Front Street.
Jesse made sure the Grille's bartender understood my request and waited for me to sample the cocktail to make sure it met my expectations. While it wasn't quite like the one I had in Key West, it was darn close.
For the appetizer course, I had the clam chowder, which was rich, creamy, with a back note of sherry.
Sarah strayed from the menu, ordering the Wagyu beef carpaccio, which was shaved perfectly and served with thin slices of aged parmesan cheese and fresh arugula. The dish was dressed with a vinaigrette that had plenty of flavor, yet didn't overpower the beef.
Sarah ordered lobster-stuffed shrimp for her entree, again going off the Performing Arts Menu.
I opted for the aged bone-in Kona-rubbed sirloin, which was included on the menu and was cooked to perfection. This dish is for serious carnivores with hearty appetites. It could easily feed two. (It warmed up beautifully the next night.)
We asked Jesse to pair wines for each of us – and man, did he deliver.
For Sarah, he poured a Seaglass sauvignon blanc that was crisp, clean and full of flavor.
For me, he offered Emilio Moro's tempranillo - rustic, Spanish and just the right match.
Other entree options included a 10 oz. filet mignon, seared citrus glazed salmon, a veal chop with Roquefort butter sauce or the chef's daily seafood feature.
Along with our entrees, we were served Sam's mashed potatoes and fresh creamed spinach. Can't say that either was stellar, but I was so impressed with the beef that I could have overlooked their quality.
For dessert, I ordered the creme brulee which was large enough for Sarah and me to share.
The Grille's bar was and one of the semi-private rooms were packed by the time we left. Reviewers at tripadvisor.com complained of the noise. But, because our reservation was for 5:30 - leaving us plenty of time to eat, get to the Winspear Opera House and into our seats by curtain time - we didn't experience any distractions.
I must commend Jesse on his attentive service. He answered all our questions, offered suggestions and made us feel like we were regulars. We relied on his expertise for our wine selections and he did not disappoint. I will ask for him whenever I go back ... and I will go back as often as I can.
For reservations, contact the Grille at: 214-303-0500 or log onto www.thecapitalgrille.com
They are open Monday - Thursday from 11 a.m. - 2:30 pm and 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. -2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Saturday from 5 p.m. -11 p.m.; and Sunday from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. They offer Sunday brunch on Easter and Mother's Day.
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