Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer heats up at The Capital Grille in Orlando: A review

I can't imagine vacationing in an Orlando summer. But others do, and they come in droves to bask in our glorious sunshine and swelter in our generous humidity. Driving along International Drive, I see these silly folks hoofing it from one bootleg souvenir shop to the next, their white legs dripping with perspiration in their soccer kits and those stupid pants/shorts things that fall somewhere north of their ankles but well south of their knees. Do those ridiculous trousers have a name? And can you please decide to wear pants or shorts? Never both.

Anyway, when I see these vacationers, I'm usually on my way to The Capital Grille at Point Orlando for a delicious, elegant lunch. No sweaty knees in sight. I really enjoy their "Plates" lunch menu which changes every season to feature seasonal ingredients at the peak of freshness.

For $18, you get a soup or salad, a main entree selection and one side. The Capital Grille promises you'll "enjoy our comfortably elegant atmosphere, attentive service and exceptional cuisine, all at the speed of lunch." In about 45 minutes you'll be in and out. Or take your time and enjoy all they have to offer.

Back for the summer, and by popular demand, is the Wagyu Cheeseburger with Fried Egg and Crisp Onions. I sampled that amazing burger in the fall, so I went for another entree this time.

I started with a cup of Lobster Bisque. This cup of rich, creamy, decadent bisque was jam packed with tender, sweet chunks of lobster and drizzled with a dollop of dry sack sherry. Oh my goodness.

For my entree I went with even more lobster. I'm a lobster freak, I admit it. The Lobster roll was served open-faced in a hard roll, with so much lobster that it spilled over the sides and was impossible to eat as a sandwich should be eaten (with two hands). This is a knife and fork affair only.

If this was the same sweet lobster as in the bisque, I couldn't tell. The addition of sour cream to the mayonnaise heavy mix, I suppose, was meant to balance the sweetness. But it did more than balance. In fact, it tipped the scales to downright sour. A heavy hand on the tarragon didn't help matters either. I've sampled the lobster roll previously and it was delicious. I don't know what happened this visit.

For my side, I chose the Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Feta Cheese. Now this is a dish perfect for summer. Tomato and watermelon sounds like a strange combination, but the heirloom tomatoes and ripe watermelon were perfect together. This was an unexpected delight.

My guest chose to go with the Carrot and Ginger Soup - vibrantly-colored with rich, deep, flavorful undertones. For the main course he chose the new Seared Sea Scallops with Sweet and Sour Tomatoes served over a bed of Israeli Cous Cous. Again, those tomatoes were the star attraction but the puffy cous cous was also a treat. Not gritty at all and actually full of flavor. On the side, the Truffle French Fries are always a welcome, earthy addition.

For dessert (not a part of the "Plates" menu), we chose two items and sampled each. The Creme Brulee is a perennial favorite topped with fresh fruit. But the Cheesecake with Seasonal Fruit was amazing. Fluffier and lighter than the usual cheesecake, The Capital Grille chefs caramelize the top of the cheesecake giving it a crunchy, sugary crust similar to creme brulee. Another welcome surprise. I don't want another slice of cheesecake without it. Who knew crunchy went with creamy?

After a delightful lunch, I'm back in my car oven headed back to work. Again I spy those ridiculous tourists schlepping along I-Drive with not a care in the world. Not me, I'm back to the old grindstone. Oh how I envy those tourists after all.

4 out of 5 Lobster-Colored Tourists

Note: I dined compliments of The Capital Grille.

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon


Jean said...

I love capri pants and I am not a tourist! The food looks yummy.

Luxury Orlando Villas said...

Fantastic review! Great photos too.

Best wishes, Alex.