Capital Grille Brings Charity and Class to the Steakhouse Scene
The steak joint offers a special wine to fight hunger By Helaina Hovitz My dad always liked to feel special at a steakhouse. He had the (perhaps slightly unrealistic) expectation that everyone would begin to fuss as soon as we arrived, shouting, "Oh, my god, they're here!" To be fair, I think that anyone dropping over $100 on a meal wants to be treated like they're important, and service is, after all, what you're really paying for when all good steakhouses tend to bleed together. There are a million of them in the city, and a million upscale lunch places in the financial district. So why do I like this one? Because they're doing something good, of course. Through the end of next week, a special "Artist's Series" wine will be offered to diners, with $25 of the $75 price going to Share Our Strength, an organization dedicated to feeding hungry children. The art on the bottles of 2009 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon is based on a painting called "Golden Moments" by North Carolina artist Sherry McAdams ? the winner of a contest Capital Grille held to find the design for the bottles. The painting itself made a six-city tour, where diners at other Capital Grille locations had the opportunity to place bids on it. Last year, the painting auction and wine sales raised $22,000 for charity. Throughout the rest of the year, Capital Grille gives all of their leftover food to City Harvest every day, cooking it up, freezing it, and handing it over. Thanks to them, there are hungry homeless people eating $50 steaks all over town, which makes them a ten in my book. Here's what else I loved. As an ex-drinker, I appreciated the fact that the waitress brought over the bottle of Pellegrino like it was a fine merlot, cradling it in her arm and hugging it close to her body. The décor created the feeling of a cozy, upstate getaway with its dark woods and colors, mood lighting, soft jazzy music playing, and a fire-burning tableside lamp (ok, it was a candle). Save for the creepy portraits of old people with weird eyes staring back at me as I ate my sirloin, it was rather romantic. It's a great date place for someone like me because they pre-sliced my steak, which spared me the humiliation of a potential deal-breaking mess (yep, it can get that bad). As an added bonus, they gave us black napkins for our black pants (white napkins leave lint on 'em). Most importantly, loudmouth brokers and banker bimbos aren't spilling their drinks everywhere and shouting over each other - they're all on Stone Street where they belong. The mixed drinks are the same price, anyway, so why not keep it classy? I would if I could partake in their homemade pineapple vodka. Here's what we ate: a coffee-rubbed steak (Bone-In Kona Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin with Shallot Butter), mozzarella wrapped in a gratuitous amount of prosciutto, a steak topped with jumbo lump crabmeat (Filet Oscar) that my date proclaimed "was the best meal I've ever had in my life," lobster mac and cheese, and a slice of chocolate hazelnut cake the size of a football (yes, we forced ourselves). If I were big on fish, I would've ordered their Chilean Seabass, which, like all of their fish, is sustainably caught. Their beef is sustainable, too. On the way out, I was told that a special committee meets every few months to talk about recycling, environmental safety, and new ways for the restaurant to go green. I'd say that the Capital Grille's do-good efforts are yielding a rather juicy payoff, and I was left with the image of a cow and a bull happily mating in a field somewhere, sustainably.
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