The folks at the Capital Grille will be opening up their 19th US location in the Chrysler Building in a week or so. I was invited as a friend's guest to a benefit at the new restaurant last night and can report on just a few items of note.
1. The space. It reeks of NY State golf country club meets hunting lodge with a modern twist in the middle (I'll get to that), in as nice of a way as that sounds
possible. Masculine but pleasant space. Some of the animal heads seem out of place (though they are high up on the walls), including the very large bronze eagle sculpure in front of the open kitchen. Its a rather large space. The entry is a little narrow and offers what could become a cluttered passage to the bar. There are about 5 booths in the bar area, as well as a loungey like section adjacent to the bar. Then you have the Open Kitchen room, that has several tables and booths. Another room, to the back and right of the space, looks to be a private dining area. It was used to house a mountain of cheese (from Artisanal) last night. Moving back there are three more rooms that flank the left side of the kitchen(which is central/back to the space). One of the rooms is actually an open, glass/metal space created by the Chrysler spokes on the ground floor. A nice room featuring some interesting angles. Last night it was used to hold serving tables of grouper (I think), large shrimp that were amazing, and StoliDole-ies (dole pineapple infused vodka martinis...YUM!). To the far left, there was another room that looked like it would be used for private dining. A sectioned off part of that room (heading to the back of the space) looks to be a cigar locker room of sorts. I asked an aquaintance what he thought and he mentioned a similar attribute in their other location in Boston. Also of note, in the bar area, there were "lockers" for wine, which I found to be interesting. Someone's name was already engraved on the door hardware. The room adjacent to the cigar room was serving pork loin and beef tenderloin. The beef was very good. They were cooked well, medium and rare/med.rare. I tried a little of all, and have to say, when you can cut a well done piece of beef with a fork, you've done just fine. The pork, however, was tougher, uncutable with just a fork (that's normal I guess, but since they didn't have knives...). The only side dish I saw (or at least tried) were their carmelized onions. Delicious. Went great with the beef.
That being said...I must say that the last thing this town needs is another steakhouse and especially one that has 18 siblings scattered around the country.
Would I go to eat there for dinner, probably not, despite the good food. However, if I were having a party for my father or perhaps even a reunion of sorts with the ol' high school or college friends, yes, maybe a bachelor party. It would be a perfect place for that. This place is most likely doomed a life as a tourist/business traveler trap, despite its eastern 42nd Street location. Lunch might be very good here.
Take it for what its worth.