Remember when the Capital Grille opened at Pointe Orlando? It had an open air patio out back that was popular for the three or four days of the year when it wasn’t too freakin’ hot or wasn’t threatening to downpour.
So after a while, the patio was covered, which at least took care of the rain part.
Now the patio isn’t really a patio at all anymore. The whole thing has been enclosed with floor-to-ceiling walls of windows. But wait. The windows are retractable, so the walls can be thrown open for those times when you want to pretend to be dining al fresco. It’s sort of like the original Hot Olives in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square but with a better kitchen.
And oh my what that kitchen is doing these days. When I stopped in to have a business lunch I got a chance to dine on the new patio, and I got to taste some pretty wonderful food, too.
The lobster roll was over the top, filled with huge hunks of meat, including whole claws, all wrapped in a buttery white-bread roll. I also sampled a prosciutto-wrapped shrimp served with a cold salad of gigante beans with tiny cubes of avocado, dressed with bits of flowery rosemary.
Seared salmon salad was more like an entree of salmon with a side of salad (I’m not complaining). The fish had a wonderful charred crust, and the salad was fresh and crisp and included mango and avocado.
I’m not a big fan of “deconstructed” menu items — I look for restaurants to do the constructing for me — but CapGrille’s deconstructed Cobb salad was pretty good. Well, let’s be technical: it wasn’t a Cobb either because the ingredients weren’t chopped. But I won’t complain about that, either, because it included big slices of tenderloin, along with hard-boiled egg, sliced avocado, lettuce, tomato, a wedge of blue cheese and lots of bacon.
And the patio setting was really pleasant. The black and white tile flooring and wickerlike chairs keep it more casual than the clubby interior of the, um, interior. I like the the gentle whoosh of the fans, and the potted greenery adds to the open-air feel even in the unopened state. The manager told me that the controllable climate of the new patio will allow the restaurant to host more private gatherings and rehearsal dinner functions. Very smart.
The Capital Grille is at 9101 International Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. Here’s a link to the website. The phone number is 407-370-4392.
In case you missed it, here is my recent review of the newer Capital Grille at Mall at Millenia.