The Capital Grille is in the midst of its “Generous Pour” promotion, a summer event (through September 4) that offers diners a chance to pair some of the steakhouse’s popular dishes with some well-thought-out wine selections.
Generous is the appropriate word here. For just $25 with your dinner purchase — and there is no minimum food purchase required — you may sample as many of the promotional wines as you wish. The wines, which were chosen by Darden’s resident master sommelier, George Miliotes, include: La Cana albarino (2010), a light Spanish wine; a fuller bodied 2008 Chateau St. Jean chardonnay; an Italian merlot from Conte Brandolini (2006); a Spanish red, 2009 Tarima Hill monastrell, also known as Mouvedre; Freemark Abbey’s Cabernet Bosche (2003); a 2006 cabernet sauvignon from Chalk Hill Estate; Byron pinot noir (2009); and a French sparkling wine, Marquis de la Tour (nv) from the Loire Valley (and so technically not a Champagne). There is also a port style wine for dessert called The Portly Gentleman from RL Buller in Australia, about as far from Portugal as you can get.
I was recently invited to sample the wines paired with some of the Grille’s signature dishes. I liked the sparkler very much with the lobster and crab cake, much more so than the albarino. The prosciutto and mozzarella appetizer was terrific with the Chateau St. Jean, which is one of my favorite wine producers anyway.
I couldn’t decide which red might go best with my porcini-dusted ribeye steak so I tried all of them! I think I preferred the Chalk Hill Estate, but I may have to go back and give the others another try. The steak, by the way, was as perfect as ever, and the side dish of lobster mac n’ cheese was crazy good.
The only clunker in the bunch was that Australian “port.” It was treacly and was about as sippable as cough medicine. I can’t imagine what Miliotes was thinking with that one.
The special wine list for the Generous Pour include Miliotes’s tasting notes, but the serving staff is very knowledgeable and can also help with recommendations.
Visiting the Capital Grille during this promotion was a fitting reminder of what a great restaurant this is. General manager Randy Cook, chef Matthew Price and an excellent serving staff run what is arguably one of the best restaurants in the tourist corridor if not the city. And locals should keep in mind that valet parking at Pointe Orlando is complimentary if you’re dining at Capital Grille. (Hint: if you’re driving from downtown, take the Beachline exit to International Drive and avoid the more crowded part of I-Drive; or exit and Sand Lake Road, but go past International Drive to Universal Boulevard and go up and around to Pointe Orlando and slide right into the valet parking lane.)
The Capital Grille is at Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Drive. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. This link will take you to the Orlando restaurant’s web page. The phone number is 407-370-4293.