I found myself with a dilemma the other day.
Charlotte's birthday was coming up and I was trying to think of somewhere to take her for a celebratory dinner.
You know the deal. Nice atmosphere. Some wine. Great entrées. Terrific desserts. Some place where you don't give your order to a clown's head.
I mean, c'mon. Any woman who can put up with me for three decades, raise a great son, run a business and survive breast cancer deserves a lot more than a large order of curly fries and a 25% discount coupon to Banana Republic.
That's when I saw the
light email. The Capital Grille sent me a story on its Annual Artist Series Wine Event. It sounded like a pretty cool deal. For the past three years, the restaurant has been featuring an exclusive, limited allocation wine decorated with a unique piece of original artwork as its label. With each bottle sold, they donate $25 to Share Our Strength -- a charity dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America.
It didn't take long for the wine lover in me to figure out this was a great idea. The next thing I know, we're pulling up to the lovely Capital Grille, Dallas (located on the east side of the Crescent Hotel). Before I could say, "We have a 7:30 reservation," our server Minh Ho was uncorking a bottle of the Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon and pouring a glass.
The Capital Grille Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon is hand-crafted at Napa's Freemark Abbey Winery by Ted Edwards, in collaboration with Capital Grille's Master Sommelier, George Miliotes. The bottle's unique label was chosen from national submissions for a design contest and features the winning painting, Complexity, by artist Julie Agee.
The label was beautiful, but how would the wine taste?
It's a full-bodied cabernet and I found the inky-colored wine to be packed with ripe fruit, dark chocolate and cinnamon aromas. On the palate, the aromatics morphed into classic briar, black pepper and notes of vanilla and oak. Superb!
Since Minh was on a roll with the wine selection, I asked him for recommendations for the entire meal. He didn't disappoint:
Prosciutto-Wrapped Mozzarella with Vine Ripe Tomatoes
The Capital Grille makes its own mozzarella every two hours to ensure freshness. This appetizer features the creamy cheese wrapped in paper-thin prosciutto and seared to add a crispy texture exterior and a warm, chewy, cheesy center. It's served on top of thin crostini with vine ripe tomatoes. Charlotte and I agreed that we'd discovered our new favorite appetizer - we could have easily made a meal with the warm cheese and delicious cabernet.
Bone-In Kona Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin with Caramelized Shallot Butter
Lobster and Crab Stuffed Shrimp
My choice was easy - I had the dry aged sirloin cooked well. Yeah, I know, manly-men like it blood-rare (as does our son Cole) but it's just a taste I've never acquired. Minh advised that the bone-in sirloin was a good choice for the well-done request, since the marbled texture of the beef and the presence of the bone would help keep the meat juicy. It's a tip I'll remember from now on, because the steak was excellent - tender, moist and the shallot butter complemented the succulent beef.
Charlotte went the seafood route, with the lobster and crab stuffed shrimp. The shrimp were large, juicy and overstuffed with lobster. Charlotte said that often lobster can be too sweet for her taste and - if not prepared correctly - can be "chewy". This dish was exactly the opposite. The lobster was tender and the delicate flavor (not sweet) was the perfect topping for the rich shrimp.
Sam's Mashed Potatoes
Fresh Green Beans with Shallots and Heirloom Tomatoes
The sides are large enough to share. Sam's Mashed Potatoes are flavorful and creamy (no lumps here) with just the slightest hint of smoke (could've been the sirloin talking). Fresh green beans were Charlotte's fave - tender, crisp with a fresh-from-the-garden crunch.
Cheesecake with Seasonal Berries
Coconut Cream Pie with Macaroon Crust
Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake with Caramel Ice Cream
Ok, I know three desserts makes us look like pigs, but hey, it was Charlotte's birthday remember? She savored the cheesecake with seasonal berries, because it's lighter-than-air confectionary quality was irresistible.
I dug my spoon into the coconut cream pie with the macaroon crust, because I'd never had the pleasure before. If you can imagine your Texas grandmother's best coconut pie - then put it on top of a macaroon crust that tastes like the best shortbread cookie you've ever had - then you'll have an idea of how wonderful it is. For one blissful moment, I was transported back to my grandmother's house on the banks of the Brazos River having Sunday lunch...pure bliss.
Charlotte enjoying Capital Grille's Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake and Caramel Ice Cream
But, being the chocoholic that I am (My name is Bob and I'm a chocoholic) I couldn't resist the flourless chocolate espresso cake with caramel ice cream. The cake is dense, smooth and rich with a dark chocolate taste that literally melts in your mouth. It's a chocolate-lover's dream dessert.
The Boomer Brief thanks the Capital Grille for hosting us for Charlotte's birthday.
The entire experience - from the parking valet to the support staff, chef and server made this wonderful dining experience a cherished memory. We'll be back soon with our friends, so Minh, do a brother a solid and hide a bottle of the Artist Series cabernet sauvignon for me (digital fist bump).
Capital Grille has 45 locations nationwide and three are in Texas - Houston, Dallas and Plano.
Our memorable evening was at the Capital Grille in Dallas, located in the Crescent Shops and Galleries, 500 Crescent Court. Reservations online www.TheCapitalGrille.com or (214) 303-0500.Ping your blog