Thursday, February 9, 2012


PID and I had no intentions of dining out this week. You see, we've recently reviewed our bank statements (specifically, our restaurant expenditures) over the past 30 days and...let's just say the figure was less than flattering.

But when an empty fridge prohibited us from cooking a suitable meal at home we decided to dig into our coupon vault and pick a dinner option.  Originally we chose the Olive Garden (we had a gift card), thinking it would be an in-and-out destination. CHA! Yeah right! we squeezed our way past what felt like a thousand people waiting and quickly turned down the hour and a half wait.

After a brief huddle, we decided on Capstone Grill on Rt. 19 in McMurray.  We called ahead to check on their wait situation. We were told it would be 40 minutes, but with their call-ahead seating service we would have priority over any walk-ins who come in after our call and we should be able to slide in relatively soon after arriving. So we made the 27 minute trek.

When I walked in the door, the smell of seared scallops engulfed me.  PID had eaten here only once before and raved about it for weeks, and this powerfully delectable scent was everything he described and more.  But alas, our table was "not quite ready," and so we had to wait. And wait. And wait. All in all, we waited for 78 minutes. Not quite what we were expecting (or told).  At 8:05 I looked at PID and said "if we're not the next name called, we're getting Taco Shop and calling it a night.  Lucky for us, we WERE up next.

With hints of both desperation and exasperation in our voices, PID and I ordered the appetizers we'd known we'd wanted for the past 54 minutes, Bruschetta and Crab Stuffed Mushrooms.

After one bite, I immediately regretted my angst-filled post to Foursquare complaining about the wait and was worth it.

Tomato Bruschetta with Basil Aioli, $5.25

The bruschetta was bursting with flavor.  The basil aioli was extremely refreshing and PID and I were shocked at the perfection of the toasted ciabatta.  It was not too overdone and not to underdone, so it didn't fall apart/mutilate the roofs of our mouths (folks, it's happened), but still had a slight crunch to it.  Belisimo!

Crab stuffed mushrooms, $8.50

The crab-stuffed mushrooms were excellent. The first thing I've noticed was that this was real, honest-to-God crab meat.  Sadly, I've experienced many a stuffed-mushroom which didn't use the real stuff and it just doesn't measure up.  Served hot and steamy, this appetizer really hit the spot. Which was dying to be, well played.

As we were waiting for these delicious appetizers, I began perusing the drink menu and -- although I had no real intentions of imbibing -- a certain martini caught my eye.  I've always been a sucker for an good apple-tini, but this one touted a caramel apple twist. Sold! The drink, which was composed of apple schnapps, butterscotch schnapps, three olives vodka and a hint of cinnamon, was delivered in a stemless martini glass, set in a bowl of ice water. How classy!

Caramel Apple Martini, $9.50

Unfortunately I think mine had a touch too much butterscotch schnapps. But it had the makings of an excellent cocktail!

After a moment or two, freshly baked bread and red pepper oil, a salad with raspberry balsamic vinaigrette and Capstone's famous (and rightfully so, I've discovered) Clam Chowder arrived at the table. And away we nommed.

New England Clam Chowder

We moved on quickly to our entrees (it was LATE, after all) and boy were we pleased.  I'd heard nothing but excellent things about the seafood, so I knew I wanted to try some fish.  What's great about Capstone is that you can pick from a list of many fish options and then from another extensive list of preparations.  This was beyond exciting to me...but overwhelming.  Our adorable and knowledgeable server Robin did an outstanding job of steering me in the right direction once I let her in on my fish of choice.  And so, I was served an order of Swordfish -- Thai Chilli BBQ style with a puff of wasabi.

Teriyaki Swordfish, $16

The dish was served with a side corn concoction with cilantro and tomatoes and was by far one of the best side dishes I've had in a while -- as I'm sure you can tell, since I don't normally talk about sides at all.  Cuz they're sides. And stuff.

Tomato cilantro roast corn 

But, as expected, the Swordfish was the star of the show here.  Seared to perfection, this fish was less of a flaky white fish and took on a texture more reminiscent of an excellent cut of steak. It was more meaty and substantial.  I definitely suggest it for folks who want to ease their way into eating fish.  The spiciness of the Thai chillies and saltiness of the soy married excellently with the bite of the wasabi when I mixed them all together on the plate like a 5-year old coloring project gone horribly wrong. This dish? Delish.

14 oz. Sirloin with Horseradish & Bleu Cheese, $21.95

PID had eaten the famed seafood at Capstone before, so the lingering growl in his tummy swayed him to order a giant hunk of cow to switch things up a bit.  He originally wanted the NY Strip, but sadly -- being that it was nearly 9 p.m. when we ordered -- they were fresh out.  Reluctantly he went for the Sirloin instead (14 oz. portion at that -- my darling growing boy...) but was pleasantly surprised.  Sure it was a bit fatty -- what sirloin isn't?  But it was just the right amount of fat to seal in that delicious juicy flavor. Even though the dish was served with a horseradish cream sauce, he forked over the $1.75 and topped his steak with crumbled bleu cheese -- what an incredible decision.  One of my favorite flavor combinations...ON THE PLANET.  He definitely enjoyed.

Restaurant Info:
The Capstone Grill
Address: 4050 Washington Rd, McMurray PA
Phone: (724) 941-1009
Reservations: Not taken, but you can call ahead for expedited seating (if you're lucky).  On weekends, get here at LEAST an hour before you plan on eating anything at all.
Price: $$$

Cliffs Notes:
2 Diet Pepsi's @ $2.49
Tomato Bruschetta @ $5.25
Crab-stuffed Mushrooms @ $8.50
Caramel Apple Martini @ 9.50
6 oz. Swordfish (which came with salad and roast corn) @ $16.00
14 oz. Sirloin (which came with Clam Chowder) @ $21.95
Add bleu cheese @ $1.75
Tax (6% in Washington County): $3.51
Living Social coupon @ -$40.00
Tip @  $15.00 (a good TOPper always tips on the full amount)
Total for 2: $46.44

Overall Opinion:
Despite the fact that we waited...and waited.......and WAITED after being told it would be 30-40 minutes, we really enjoyed our overall experience here.  The food definitely wound up being worth the wait. They really live up to the hype when it comes to serving some of the most outstanding seafood in Pittsburgh.  If you like seafood but haven't yet made the trek to Capstone, what are you waiting for? This place will knock you right off your sea legs.  A sign at the entrance of the restaurant defines Capstone as a "high point or culmination of a series of smaller achievements." This evening's meal was definitely a high point for us when it comes to being served outstanding food. Touche, CG -- and we must agree.

Capstone Grill on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for such an honest, detailed and illustrated review! The reviews on Urbanspoon were mixed, but yours has convinced me to take a friend there for lunch tomorrow :)


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