The PR company affiliated with The Capital Grille in Paramus invited us to dine in the bar area, and for the most part we had a very good experience at this expensive chain restaurant, which has locations in 26 states.
First impressions matter. When you walk into the restaurant are you greeted? We were. Are you seated promptly? We were. Is the first item you are served, which is usually bread, impressive? It was. At The Capital Grille in Paramus the breadbasket filled with four warm breads from Tom Cat Bakery (flat, focaccia topped with onions, seeded roll and walnut-raisin) were so good that they were hard to stop eating. When the waitress saw the empty basket, she asked if we wanted more. The answer was no, as we knew we needed to leave room for our dinner.
Artichoke leaves were scattered throughout the spring artichoke bisque; a not-often-seen soup that was creamy and delicious. Another appetizer was a half wedge of chilled lettuce, which easily could have been shared by three people. Topped with a blue cheese dressing and bacon, this was a colorful dish with the addition of red, yellow and purple cherry tomatoes. However, we would have preferred if the plate was chilled.
A steak butter made with butter and marrow oozed over the 22-ounce bone-in rib-eye, which was buttery and soft; a highly recommended dish. We opted to share this entrée and along with sides of roasted fingerling potatoes and roasted wild mushrooms, the portion was more than enough for the two of us. Dessert, the Capital Grille cheesecake, looked like a large knish, but much lovelier with a bruleed top, berry mixture and graham cracker crust. It was not as creamy as a NY cheesecake, which would have been our preference.
Upscale steakhouses are expensive and service should be top-notch. The table was crumbed between courses but specials were recited without the prices. Our waitress was not knowledgeable about the menu, and when we asked her if the rib-eye was wet or dry aged she told us it was “not dry aged and came in fresh everyday.” What we eventually learned is that this steak is prime and not wet or dry aged. Also, to our surprise, when a different wine by the glass was ordered, rather than giving us a new glass, the wine was poured into the same glass. If you prefer a quiet setting, do not sit in the bar area; it can get very noisy. We did appreciate that black napkins are used. Seafood items are available, and the chef will create a vegetarian menu on request.
After dinner sous chef Alan Fucci gave us an educational tour of the meat-aging room, and showed us the steaks that are custom-aged in-house for 18 to 24 days and hand-cut in the restaurant.
The wine list features more than 350 selections and is presented on a tablet. A stunning floor-to-ceiling wine room holds 3,500 to 5,000 bottles. Personalized, on-site wine lockers are also available to lease. There are four private dining rooms that seat 12 to 36 guests. The restaurant is open daily.
The Capital Grille
1 Garden State Plaza
Wedge of lettuce.
Steaks in the aging room
Capital Grille cheesecake
Photos courtesy of Lowell Saferstein
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