For my boyfriend and I, this was our second time visiting The Capital Grille (250 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA) during Boston Restaurant Week, so we knew what to expect. On both occasions, the restaurant was quite busy, and despite having made reservations, we waited at least 10 minutes before being seated. The regular menus are obnoxiously large – you can’t put them down without knocking over a wine glass or two. The Restaurant Week menu, thankfully, is more manageable. $38.13 nabs you a three-course meal (appetizer, entree with one side dish, and a dessert), which is a pretty good deal for a place where a steak entree alone runs well into the $40’s. The atmosphere is classic upscale American steakhouse, with walls lined with wine bottles and framed art. Personal wine cabinets for the regulars adorn the entrance, and further into the restaurant, a window lets you look into the dry-aging room.
The clam chowder is exactly what you’d expect for a very traditional New England clam chowder – smooth, not too thick, with potatoes and lots of clams. The field greens and seasonal vegetables with shallot champagne vinaigrette is a nice mix of lettuces, grape tomatoes, cucumber, lightly tossed in vinaigrette. It’s definitely better than the typical house salad you get at more casual restaurants. We enjoyed our appetizers with a large bread basket full of warm bread! (Boston-area restaurants seem to favor cold bread. If I wanted my bread cold, I would eat it at home). It would have been even better had the butter been whipped or softened.
The Bone-in Kona Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin with shallot butter was ordered medium-rare but arrived much closer to medium. We sent it back, and just a few minutes later, a perfect, medium-rare sirloin arrived at our table.
The 8 oz. Filet Mignon arrived perfectly medium-rare and delicious.
The sides were well-executed, but not anything particularly creative or spectacular. The green beans are listed on the menu as “French Green Beans with Shallots and Heirloom Tomato” – and they’re not kidding about the “Tomato,” singular. There was a single, small tomato underneath the green beans. The mashed potatoes were nice and creamy and flecked with bits of their red skins, though I have had better at other steakhouses. Given that side dishes at The Capital Grille are regularly around $10 each, I was underwhelmed.
We completed our meals with slices of flourless chocolate espresso cake, each a dense, rich triangle of chocolate with a hint of espresso, served with raspberry coulis and fresh raspberries.
Service was acceptable, but for such a pricey steakhouse, it was lacking. Servers were not very attentive, and rarely stopped by to check on us or refill our water glasses, though they came immediately to our table when we called them over. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and attribute the cool service to being extra busy during Restaurant Week.
The Final Word: Go for the steaks, not for the service. And go during Restaurant Week, when they won’t break the bank.