Capital Grille in Baltimore’s harbor is offering their new spring menu. And in the bar, they have a special tavern menu. This place was packed on a Wednesday for happy hour. The chef passes appetizers every 15 minutes or so throughout the bar, free for everyone. They also have a happy hour red and white (which may or may not apply at the bar tables as we didn’t hear anything about it until I asked).
Considering the size of this chain and the fact that they have a Master Somm working the wine list, I expected a better selection of wines by the glass and the bar staff to know more about them. We started with some sparkles – a split of the Chandon brut rosé. It took us a while to make some decisions, so were able to try two of the passed appetizers – some lamb lollipops and fried butterfly shrimp. It’s a nice touch, especially since the bread came out before our wine did.
We started with a field greens salad with baby greens, sliced roma tomatoes and a parmesan vinaigrette. The salad said fresh herbs, but I didn’t taste any herbs, save for a chive or two. I find salads from restaurants tend to be a little overdressed. This one was as well, but at least the dressing was tasty.
We quickly switched to Cherry Tart Pinot Noir, considered to have more body than the choice from Oregon (even though, there is no choice from Oregon…) For our main, we shared a medium-rare Porchini Rubbed Bone-In Ribeye with a balsamic glaze. They consider this their signature steak. It was a perfect medium rare and wonderfully tender piece of meat. The menu describes a delicate porcini mushroom crust. Delicate is probably the nicest way of saying it – since I didn’t taste it at all. The steak could have used a spice or an earthiness to cut the incredibly sweet taste of the balsamic. It is clearly a gorgeous and aged balsamic vinegar, but totally overpowered every other flavor on the plate.
We opted for the creamed spinach and asparagus to accompany the steak. The creaminess of the béchamel with the spinach helped balance out the miscue on the steak. And the tartness of the lemon on the grilled asparagus was also much needed.
Even though we split everything, we were stuffed at the end of this meal.
**Most people who know me know I am not a fan of chains. Capital Grille did comp me a large portion of this meal, which is the main reason I went.