Review: The Generous Pour at The Capital GrilleAuthor: Indy Food Geek | Filed under: Food Reviews, Location: Indianapolis, IN
The Capital Grille
40 W Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
As an esteemed member of “the press” (HA!!), WIBIA was invited to preview The Capital Grille’s summer wine event called “The Generous Pour.” Being the selfless person that I am, I offered to cover this event and give everyone else a night off. I mean, who has the time for free five-course wine dinners? I’m practically a saint. I’ve never dined at The Capital Grille before, so I’ll have to make some comments about the food. In an effort to keep your attention, I’m just going to spill the details – quick and dirty-like.
The Generous Pour
July 12th through September 4th
$25.00 with the purchase of a meal and try as many of the featured wines as you like
Marquis de la Tour, Cremant de Loire Brut, Sparkling Wine
La Caña Albariño, 2010
Chateau St. Jean Belle Terre Chardonnay, 2008
Freemark Abbey, Cabernet Bosche, 2003
Chalk Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006
Byron Pinot Noir, 2009
Conte Brandolini, Vistorta Merlot, 2006
Tarima Hill Monastrell, Alicante, 2009
RL Buller, The Portly Gentleman, Port
My wife and I arrived for the preview night of “The Generous Pour” to be greeted by extremely friendly and attentive staff. We were given canapés and French brut to hold us over while we were briefed on the premise of “The Generous Pour.” Master sommelier George Miliotes greeted us via live webcast and explained the choices for the wine list. Suffice it to say, The Capital Grill has put together a stellar list of wines for a very reasonable price.
Following the briefing from George, we were seated in the main dining room and given choices from a fixed menu of TCG’s most popular items; each paired with two wines from the list. By this point, I believe we are supposed to be experiencing what the average diner could expect if paying for their dinner. While the extremely attentive service is not usually my cup of tea, it was very well done and tasteful at all times. At no point did I feel like we were receiving preferential treatment just because they knew we were essentially scoring their every move. I watched the other diners around us very closely and they all received the same kind of attention that we were getting.
Enough about that…on to the food and wine!
What we got: Getting a clear picture of the wine bottles in a dark restaurant was nearly impossible. I apologize for the lack-luster photos. Wine pairings are in parentheses.
Appetizers: Fried calamari with hot cherry peppers. Prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella with tomato salad. (La Caña Albariño and Chateau St. Jean Belle Terre Chardonnay)
Mains: 10 ounce filet with bordelaise jus (Freemark Abbey Cabernet Bosche and Tarima Hill Monastrell). Bone-in, kona rubbed sirloin with caramelized shallot butter (Chalk Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Conte Brandolini Vistorta Merlot).
Sides: Lobster mac & cheese and sautéed spinach.
Dessert: Flourless chocolate espresso cake. Strawberries with ice cream and port/Grand Marnier reduction.
The appetizers were great. Honestly, I could’ve stopped here and been blissfully happy. My wife loves fried calamari and we get it often. I was initially a little put off by the lack of dipping sauce, but I quickly realized that marinara or sweet chili sauce would’ve been woefully unnecessary. The hot peppers, which I typically detest, were excellent and perfect with the surprisingly crispy and “un-rubbery” texture of the calamari. The mozzarella dish was delicious as well, albeit a little cold. The cheese had already started to firm back up, but the flavor was excellent. The aggressively oaked and buttery flavors of the chardonnay worked well with the prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella and the crisp, tropical brightness of the albariño paired nicely with the spice of the calamari.
Our main courses arrived in traditional steakhouse fashion; steaks are front-and-center on the plate with shared sides that are dished out by the wait staff. For the record, I didn’t want the filet. I really wanted the bone-in sirloin, but I have a pathological aversion to ordering the same items as my fellow diners. The wife wanted the sirloin, so I was stuck with the filet. Fortunately, the filet was paired with the more expensive wines so it worked out fine. My steak was slightly overcooked and a little under seasoned, but I’m not the kind of person to send back an order, especially a steak. I would’ve been more inclined to complain if I had actually been paying for the meal. My wife’s sirloin, on the other hand, was perfectly cooked very flavorful. I didn’t pick up a lot of the coffee flavor from the rub, but the rich onion sauce really made for a great steak. By this point in the meal, I was bordering on being uncomfortably full. The lobster mac and cheese was excellent. The rich, creamy sauce was studded with lots of claw meat and I genuinely wish I had been able to eat more. The spinach, on the other hand, was nothing to write home about. Baby spinach sautéed with whole garlic cloves, ‘nuff said. The wine pairings didn’t have any real logical connection for me, but they certainly were delicious. The Cabernet Bosche was rich, velvety, and dreamy. Being the most expensive wine in the bunch, I would expect no less. On the exact opposite end of the spectrum, the Monastrell was bright, acidic, and lively. The real star of the main course pairings had to be the Chalk Hill Cab. This wine was just jaw-droppingly aggressive…so much so that the Conte Brandolini Melot barely registers in my memory. There was really nothing good or bad about it. It just simply couldn’t stand up to the fireworks going on in the Chalk Hill glass. Unfortunately, we did not get to sample the Pinot Noir on the list. Neither of us ordered the corresponding entrée and we’re just not big enough pinot drinkers to ask them to uncork the bottle just for us.
The desserts were nice, but definitely very typical for the American steakhouse scene. You’ve probably had desserts just like these elsewhere, so I won’t belabor the point. The port was certainly appropriate for the dessert course, but we’re just simply not into fortified wines. It was rich with lots of caramel and raisin flavors, but with the sweetness and alcohol content it tasted a little medicinal to me. It was good enough that I found myself taking a couple of sips, but again it’s really just not my thing.
Conclusion: The Generous Pour is an incredible value. The big WIBIA question doesn’t really apply to a free preview, but would I go back and pay a total of $50 for two wine flights filled with unique and costly wines? Hell yes. That’s a great deal. The meal, on the other hand, is a whole different situation. I would’ve killed to see the total bill for our meal. I’m relatively certain that we would’ve passed the $200 mark, maybe more. Granted, there is NO WAY I would’ve ordered that much food to begin with, but I just know that even a modest meal for two would probably qualify as a “special occasion dinner.” The stipulation of The Generous Pour is that you must purchase a dinner, so keep that in mind. I don’t think you can just go and split a couple of appetizers and qualify for the $25 wine tasting.
If you love wine, you really can’t go wrong here. This summer tasting series was designed to expose customers to wines they wouldn’t typically order or even find on a menu in a restaurant for the lowest cost possible. In that respect, The Capital Grille has succeeded.
-Indy Food Geek