Lunch or Dinner?

Two different views of Capital Grille

By Matthew Johnson and Paul Pence

This month, we have had the unusual privilege of enjoying Capital Grille at both lunch and dinner.  Capital Grille, a fine-dining restaurant right in the heart of Providence, is known for their excellent food, top-notch service, a dark wood upscale atmosphere, and a first-class wine list.  With these two visits, we will show you the energetic, modern Capital Grille that you find at lunch, and the classic, cultured Capital Grille you find at dinner.

Capital Grille for Lunch, by Matthew Johnson

Lunch time for most people is a quick, thirty-minute meal, usually consisting of fast food or a pre made microwaved box of additives. It’s the time issue that makes the choice for most. With only thirty minutes to an hour, who has time for a great meal?

Well, it helps to know where to look. Capital Grille. Yes, I said Capital Grille. It offers an upscale lunch experience while still being able to meet the time constraints of a lunch breaks.  Capital grill’s new lunch menu is not only exquisite, it also wont hurt your wallet.

The Capital Grille’s traditional lunch menu features favorites like French Onion Soup, The Grille’s Signature Cheeseburger, Open-Faced Grilled Chicken with Tomato and Arugula Sandwich, Mediterranean Salad with Citrus Grilled Chicken or the Lobster and Crab Burger, among other classics.

But their new summer lunch menu offers a nice variety, from fillet minon sliders to creamy corn chowder. The customizable Summer Lunch Plates offer lunch guests their choice of a soup or salad, a sandwich and a side – all for under $20. Guests of The Capital Grille can mix-and-match from a choice offerings – three soups/salads, three sandwiches and three sides, including Roasted Corn Bisque, Annatto Rubbed Mahi with House Made Corn Tortillas, Lobster Roll, Mini Tenderloin sandwiches and Watermelon & Tomato with Feta.

One of the stars on the summer menu is a new England classic, a lobster roll. Not only is Capital Grille’s lobster roll huge, it is overflowing with lobster meat.  Fish tacos are also on the menu, accompanied by roasted corn to complete the Southwestern dish.

The new menu reflects fresh, seasonal twists on American classics, while being mindful of hectic lunchtime schedules. For guests with a limited amount of time, The Capital Grille ensures guests can enjoy a delicious lunch and be on their way in about 45 minutes, without sacrificing the personalized service that characterizes The Capital Grille dining experience.

Let’s not forget desert! Dont be so quick to grab that candy bar — instead try one of Capital Grille’s homemade cookies… moist, dense and filled with flavor.

Whether you’re looking for a light, quick lunch or the perfect place for a midday rendezvous with friends and colleagues, The Capital Grille’s lunchtime fare is an easy and delicious option. So before you go to that sandwich or fast food joint, stop by the capital grill and treat yourself to a fine dining experience at lunch time.

Capital Grill for Dinner, by Paul Pence

A great meal is more than just great ingredients combined in a skilled manner.  You want to be able to select wines that are perfect accompaniment for the food. You want an atmosphere that encourages you to take your time and enjoy the meal. And you want service that makes the entire experience smooth and effortless.  You’ll find all of these at Capital Grille/

On our most recent visit, we enjoyed an appetizer of a Rhode Island favorite, pan-fried calamari with hot cherry peppers – a hot, spicy, and wonderfully tender way to get our taste buds tingling and ready for more.  It was paired with a Spanish white wine, La Cana Albarino, a light wine with the scent of summer flowers and lemon. We also tasted a Sonoma Chardonnay, a 2008 Chateau St. Jean, bursting with summer fruit tastes.

For our entrées, my wife selected the 10oz filet mignon prepared medium rare. I had a more robust bone-in knoa-crusted dry aged sirloin.  Beside them we had a rich creamy lobster macaroni and cheese and sautéed spinach.  For the wines, we tried a broad selection.  The filet was paired with a Freemark Abbey Cabernet Bosche and with a Tarmia Hill Monastrell.  Both were great choices, and having the both on the table at the same time let us learn an important distinction between domestic wines and classical European wines.  The domestic wines tasted better when being enjoyed alone, the old-world wines were more subtle before eating food, but burst through and shined when eaten with the food.  The same held true with the wines paired with my sirloin, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Chalk Hill Estate and a Conte Brandolini Vistorta Merlot.  The Merlot was a 2006 vintage, meaning that the tannins had aged, making the wine silky smooth, carrying the flavors of currants and wild berries.

By now, you’ve  noticed that I’m spending a lot of time talking about the wines.  Normally the Capital Grille has an exceptional wine list, offering more than 350 New and Old World wine selections, including a Captain’s List of some of the world’s most highly allocated and sought-after wines. But they had been featuring the “Generous Pour Summer Wine Event”, a great way to taste different fine wines paired with great food, with your server guiding you through the experience, suggesting pairings for each course ordered and providing each person with a summary of tasting notes. The restaurant will also prepare custom wine flights upon request, for those guests interested in comparing and contrasting The Generous Pour selections.

For dessert, we enjoyed an incredibly decadent, flourless chocolate espresso cake, so moist and rich that it felt like eating a slice of fudge. Even that had a pairing – an Australian wine made in the Port wine tradition called “The Portly Gentleman”.

Throughout our dinner, we had attentive service and the elegant atmosphere that has made Captial Grille so popular – but then you’d expect that anyway, after all, it’s Capital Grille.

The Capital Grille is located at One Union Station in Providence. Reservations can be made by calling 401-521-5600 or by visiting In addition to its main dining room, The Capital Grille also features private dining rooms for up to 50 guests. Chef is pleased to create special menus for private dining events.

About the author, Mat Johnson:
Mat loves the nightlife and enjoys telling you about it. — Email:
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons