Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Capital Grille in Hartford, CT

Press Release: Hartford CT welcomes the Capital Grille, a fine dining destination, on September 9, 2013.

As soon as Hartford CT's newest addition, The Capital Grille's, opening was announced, I knew I wanted to be a part of their preview dining experience. And oh, what an experience it was!
The Capital Grille Hartford CT
The Capital Grille - Hartford CT

With easy access off of CT's I-91, the Capital Grille will be "must" for a fine dining destination in Hartford CT's  Front Street District. Located directly across the street from the Connecticut Convention Center, the restaurant also offers valet parking in the evening, a welcome addition to the sometimes problematic parking situations in Hartford. With seating for 239 guests, and three private dining areas, the ability to have easy access to dining gives the Capital Grille a plus!

We arrived a tiny bit early, and even though our table was ready, we asked if we could start in the lounge area so we could experience the bar vibe. We scored a seat and inquired about wines by the glass and signature cocktails. Luckily for me, Jackie behind the bar had my favorite Riesling by the glass, and poured my friend Gayle a sample of their signature Stoli-Doli, a cocktail martini made with Stoli vodka that has marinated with pineapples. For the wine connoisseurs, the wine menu is extensive, offering over 350 New and Old World selections.
Red wines are kept cool at 58o and whites chilled to 45o.
The Capital Grille - Cocktails
The Capital Grille - Cocktails
In the lounge, a private party had gathered, who, when they saw me taking pictures, insisted I come over to photograph some of the appetizers that were available for their party. Everything looked amazing, from the pancetta wrapped scallops - to fried calamari - to the artfully arranged chops. Beautiful!
Party Appetizers
We moved on to the dining room, a large, tastefully decorated room. The back dining areas also offers an open view of the kitchen. There's a playful twist to the modern decor, a delightful mix of Mad Men meets Rat Pack Vegas. I loved the contemporary artwork, the private "club" atmosphere, and the roomy comfortable seating.

The menu offers ala carte entrees with separate shared sides. Appetizers are available with plentiful portions well suited for two.

We started our meal with warm fresh breads and rolls, with butter infused or sprinkled with aged cheese, which added a wonderful nutty bite. For appetizers, we had the prosciutto wrapped fresh  mozzarella (hand pulled on premise) with vine ripe tomatoes, and a smoked salmon platter.

For dinner, we had the Sliced Filet Mignon with Cipollini Onions and Wild Mushrooms
Sliced Filet Mignon with Cipollini Onions and Wild Mushrooms
Sliced Filet Mignon with Cipollini Onions and Wild Mushrooms

the Dry Aged Steak au Poivre with Courvoisier Cream Sauce. 

Capital Grille Steak au Poivre with Courvoisier Cream Sauce
Capital Grille Steak au Poivre with Courvoisier Cream Sauce        
A quick note: Have you ever tried dry aged beef before? The advantage to dry aging is the concentration and saturation of the beef's flavors, as well as the tenderness that occurs from the moisture content evaporating from connective tissues. It is typically only available in high-end butcher shops, and upscale steak houses(Source Bon Apetit)
                          And, lastly, the Seared Tenderloin with Butter Poached Lobster Tails
Capital Grille Seared Tenderloin with Butter Poached Lobster Tails
Capital Grille Seared Tenderloin with Butter Poached Lobster Tails

All the proteins were presented beautifully, and prepared perfectly. 

The beefs were well rested, and cooked according to our requests. Jason, our server, carefully explained the Capital Grille's specifications for medium ( a warm pink center) and medium rare (warm, red center) just as ordered. The lobster was poached perfectly, and executed well. We detected an ever so slight saltiness to the lobster meat, likely due in part to its setting atop the crusted seared outside of the tenderloin, and having been poached in salted butter, enhancing the richness and flavors of the dish.

Accompanying our meal we ordered a shared side of Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Oil which was quite delicious.

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Oil
Grilling the asparagus brings out the sweetness of the vegetable, and the lemon infused oils added a brightness to its flavor. The perfect pairing to all our meals.

We ended our meal with coffee, cappuccinos, and the Chef's selection of desserts, consisting of a sugary sweet Coconut Cream Pie ( vanilla crust layered with whipped and coconut creams.) and a Classic Crème Brûlée ( the traditional caramelized sugared crust over the creamiest of custards)

Cappuccino with Rock Candy Garnish
Crème Brûlée
Coconut Cream Pie
There is little to find fault with at Capital Grille. Service is impeccable, we were greeted by name, our server was knowledgeable about menu items and their preparation. Management was attentive, gracious, hospitable, and accommodating  There is truly a retro meets modern day vibe to the setting. My only complaint would be that the signs for valet parking could be better marked and more visible.  

After dinner we rounded up some friends who were also dining at the Capital Grille and shared some laughs before departing for the evening.

L-R, A Year With Mom and Dad, CT Bloggers, Home Place

The Capital Grille is a wonderful destination for date night and has intimate private rooms for business or social functions. Also open for lunch, with a well-rounded luncheon menu that features "The Plates" which allows guests a choice of soup or salad, an entree, and a side for $18.00.

Dining at the Capital Grille is truly an upscale dining experience and a wonderful new Hartford location. 

Visit them soon!

44 Front Street
Hartford, CT 06103


Reservations are recommended.

On the Web:

Appetizers range from $13 to $99 (a deluxe seafood platter). 
Dinners are $28 to $50 with a wide range of poultry, seafood, and beef choices. 
Bring your appetite - items are well portioned. 
Food is wonderful and the area is popular and growing.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the preview opening of the Capital Grille as part of their "soft" opening activities. However, all opinions expressed herein are my own.  

Capital Grille - Hartford on Urbanspoon


  1. A wonderful addition to the Front Street District in Hartford CT. The downtown area's search for an upscale dining destination has been answered!

    1. This is a perfect place to gather with friends. Be sure you visit!

  2. What a wonderful meal! As I go to the Wadsworth often (we're members) I'm in Hartford often so I'll keep this restaurant in mind!

    1. I'm still learning my way around Hartford, and the Wadsworth is on my "to do" list. A friend photographed their Holiday Tree event, and the museum itself was beautiful.


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