1861 International Drive
McLean, VA 22102
CUISINE Steakhouse, American
PRICE $$$$ (Over $31)
HOURS Open for lunch, Monday through Friday, dinner daily.
NVM AWARDS None
NEARBY METRO None
By Warren Rojas
Those who foolishly believe that any loose affiliation of chopped meat qualifies as a steak sandwich should allow the Capital Grille to show you the error of your low-expectation-having ways.
Their mouthwatering rib-eye sandwich features a 12-ounce cut of well-seasoned beef (an inch-high slab of well-marbled meat) smothered in melted havarti and caramelized onions (bring the sweet), all shoehorned into a crisply toasted baguette. Meanwhile, a side of subtle but still flavorful horseradish cream sauce (this steak is an absolute beast—let’s amp up the zing, CG!) injects just a touch of spice.
Spoiled Rotten(October 2007)
By Warren Rojas
Most days, it’s hard not to mistake the parking circle outside McLean’s Capital Grille for an exotic car show. Maseratis, Lotuses and Ferraris are all there for the ogling. Once inside, though, every guest can expect a ride aboard the all-out service express.
The high-end holding of RARE Hospitality International, Inc. (they also own the more casual Longhorn Steakhouse chain), Capital Grille is all about unbridled attention.
Hostesses cheerily escort guests to their table, making sure the table napkins match your outfit before presenting menus. Dedicated servers introduce themselves by name, expertly discuss steak preparation techniques and cooking temperatures (one strongly recommended I do the Delmonico to at least medium to allow the fat to “melt into the meat”) and oversee the general flow of the meal, while an army of busers clear away empty plates, replenish empty water glasses and tend to the little things that make these high-end meals run so smoothly. Maitre d’s are not above resetting napkins when guests step away from the table, and multiple courtesy visits are the norm as each successive wave of food is delivered to the table. Loyal customers are even bestowed on-site wine lockers to store their favorite steak-friendly vintages.
The illustrious steaks are almost as well-coddled. Capital Grille corporate executive chef Jim Nuetzi says the company utilizes certified Angus beef customized by select Midwest producers. A number of steaks, including the traditional sirloin, porterhouse and signature Kona-crusted sirloin, are dry-aged, in-house for between two to three weeks, and finished off in a 1400 degree broiler. According to Nuetzi, the most popular cuts include the Kona-crusted sirloin, the porcini Delmonico and the filet mignon covered by onions and mushrooms.
A traditional sirloin arrives thick, juicy (very little fat, but what remains is magnificent) and dressed to the nines with a splash of savory au jus. A rib-eye sandwich heaps mouthwatering slices of steak accentuated by strands of beautifully caramelized onions, melted Havarti and a side of tangy horseradish onto a soft roll (grandiose sandwich). The porcini-rubbed Delmonico (fantastic) arrives bathed in a potent mushroom-vinegar blend that soaks through to the heart of the beef. The doubly pleasing filet Oscar summons a savory steak (tender to the core) draped with a crown of jumbo lump crab (a welcome surf and turf offering).
Kona-crusted, dry-aged sirloin with caramelized shallot butter
Porcini-rubbed Delmonico with eight-year aged balsamic
Sliced filet mignon with cipollini onions and wild mushrooms
Dry-aged steak au poivre with Courvoisier cream sauce
The Grille’s Delmonico