Monday, April 2, 2012

The Capital of Pittsburgh

As you know, we typically try to review restaurants owned and operated out of Western PA, but when Capital Grille reached out to us to let us know that they were launching their new spring menu, we couldn't resist the urge to check it out.

Located a convenient 1.5 blocks from my "day-job" on the corner of Fifth and Wood Streets downtown, Capital Grille is an account person's dream. The ideal location for client meetings or new business dinners, Capital Grille boasts a menu fit for any hungry diner looking for a tasty, upscale experience.

The dim, rustic interior emanates a boy's club mentality while the friendly wait staff and refreshing spring menu lightened the mood and aroused the feminine foodie within.

This lunch marked a very special occasion indeed, for in our many years of togetherness, PID and I have never been blessed with the opportunity of lunching together amidst the work-week. We both recently accepted new positions with new companies, allowing us to be closer together, but our lunch at Capital Grille was the first time we were able to take advantage of this proximity! And happily, it was a positive experience all around.

Capital Grille launched a seasonal tasting menu in January and saw great success, especially during the lunch hours. As manager Rick McMaster put it, "It's ideal if you only have an hour or so of time but still want to experience fine dining."

And experience we did.

Given a choice of three starters, three entrees and three sides (all for $18), we in no way felt limited in our options.

PID went with the server-recommended Shrimp & Pequillo Peppers with a Clam Chowder starter and Truffle Fries.

His soup was average. PID devoured it in moments, but PID loves Clam Chowder.  I wouldn't necessarily call it exceptional in comparison to other clam chowders, but it certainly was tasty.

Clam Chowder

The truffle fries were, quite possibly, greater than you can expect. Doused with just the right amount of truffle oil and garnished with a dusting of Parmesan, these fries were the very definition of addictive. 

Truffle Fries
The shrimp, on the other hand, was nothing short of exceptional. A generous portion for lunch, the shrimp was served with deliciously roasted red peppers and Spanish Bomba rice, a firmer grain often served with Paella.   The flavors were excellent and I caught PID scraping the bottom of his pan on more than one occasion in an attempt to enjoy every last bite.

Shrimp and Pequillo Peppers

I decided on the Lobster Roll with an Asparagus Soup starter and French Green Beans. 

This was my first Asparagus Soup and I have to say I may have found my new favorite.  PID thought it tasted a bit too salty, but you know me and salt. I have a salt-tooth for sure. I gobbled it down in only a few spoonfuls.

Asparagus Soup
Sadly, my green beans were much too al dente, borderline undercooked. But well seasoned, I must say that.

French Green Beans, pictured with Assorted Mixed Vegetables

My Lobster Roll was out of this world.  I tend to gravitate towards Lobster Rolls when I see them on menus, but this one stood out from the crowd with a strong hint of tarragon to give it a unique kick and real, enormous chunks of lobster to greatly improve the overall taste.


Restaurant Information:
Address: 301 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222
Phone:  412-802-9120
Reservations: Recommended for larger lunch parties and strongly suggested for dinner. Make reservations on their website or on
Monday – Friday
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Dinner
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Monday – Thursday
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday
5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Cliffs Notes:
Clam Chowder, Truffle Fries and Shrimp & Pequillo Peppers @ $18
Asparagus Soup, Lobster Roll and French Green Beans @18

Tax:                        Food tax  @ 7% (Allegheny County only) @ $2.52

Tip:                           $10
Total for two:          $47.52
Overall Opinion:
I'm an account person and I have to say, I'll absolutely be taking my clients here at some point. The waitstaff was incredibly friendly, our food came in an extremely timely manner, and we were beyond pleased with everything aside from the green beans. I absolutely deem this place worthy of your downtown dinner options. And give their affordable, convenient spring menu a try.  It's so much more than a pre-fixe. It's thoughtful and delicious menu planning.

*Capital Grille supplied PID and I with a Spring Menu lunch free of charge in order to facilitate this post, however all opinions expressed within this review are honest and my own.

Capital Grille on Urbanspoon
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  1. That's an awesome price for a lunch of that size! I think I always assumed Capital Grille was much higher-priced than that, and have thus never even looked into it. But that lobster roll is really tempting... might have to make a lunch date soon :)

  2. They are definitely an "upscale" establishment and do have significantly pricier meals, but their seasonal lunch menu is an excellent opportunity to give their delicious food a try at a more affordable cost!

  3. I just discovered your blog and love it! I recently moved to Pittsburgh so I will definitely check out some of these places. I am your newest follower. xo

  4. Welcome to Pittsburgh and welcome to TOP! We're glad to have you!


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