New York City can be an overwhelming place to dine. We know it’s full of foodies and gastronomic adventures, but we also know there’s plenty of mediocrity hidden among those gems. There are restaurants that rely too heavily on a celebrity name, the chefs that are riding on tidal waves of decades old reviews, and the newbies who haven’t had a chance to really perfect their craft yet.
That’s why we eat our way through the city that never sleeps for you. We know plenty of good steakhouses, but what defines a great steakhouse? Having fantastic meat alone does not qualify. It’s just the beginning. Recently we found a restaurant that has everything you are looking for in a dining experience—incredibly fresh seafood, scrumptious dry aged steaks, award-winning wine list, and most importantly, a happy helpful staff that works tirelessly to create a warm and inviting dining atmosphere. Oh, and a pretty impressive location.The Capital Grille in the Time-Life Building has the best of both worlds—traditional steakhouse fare in a contemporary setting with innovative dishes. It’s also a stone’s throw from Rockefeller Plaza, a serious plus for the powerhouse crowd.
What distinguishes Capital Grille from the zillion other midtown steakhouses isn’t the dry-aged beef, the 5,000-bottle wine vault, the clubby portraits of New York icons, or even Philip Johnson’s soaring glass-and-steel pyramids. It’s the super-friendly service, which may make you wonder whether you’ve been teleported to Pleasantville, so unrelentingly chipper is the smiley staff.If you are unsure of what to order, as you will be tempted to just get the entire menu, but you can actually trust your server to steer you in the right direction or help you create a Chef’s Tasting. And be prepared to indulge in as much lobster as you can handle. Start with the Cold Shellfish Platter, an ice tower of Chilled Lobster, Shrimp Cocktail and Blue Point Oysters on the half shell, try the soup of the day (we couldn’t stop licking our French Onion Soup and Lobster Bisque spoons) and save room for the star of the show—Surf & Turf, Seared Tenderloin with Butter Poached Lobster Tails. It’s the ultimate steak and seafood experience. Each butter melt in your mouth bite makes you wonder why you would ever eat anything else.
The best part of this steakhouse is the way you feel truly welcomed. The dishes are traditional fare but served in a fresh, refreshing way—there’s more to life than the age old wedge salad. The Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella with Vine Ripe Tomatoes, served with crisp crostini and 15-year aged balsamic is the perfect bite before diving into a bisque or filet mignon. And we didn’t even mention the light and spicy Calamari, Lobster Mac and Cheese, or the Creme Brulee to die for!Your server also moonlights as your wine director, and if anything is wrong, they will problem solve instantly. Our Shafer Hillside Select was on its way out, and after one taste Kenny knew it wouldn’t do. He had a better selection decanting before the next course arrived. The Capital Grille’s Master Sommelier George Miliotes works especially close with vintners to procure outstanding and rare wines, and you can have your own little cubby hole (aka brass-plated personal wine locker by annual lease) to hold your own wine so you never show up unprepared.
Whether it’s squeezing in a power lunch or having an intimate celebratory dinner date, you will never want to leave your booth at The Capital Grille.