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The Capital Grille in Plano

The League of Extraordinary Reviewers

with JB Blocker



On Top of the Food Chain
  Many top dining concepts have come to the Dallas MetroPlex, spent millions of dollars, and then tucked their tails and run! Among the notable failures are Smith and Wollenski, Flemings, Morton’s of Addison, McCormick & Schmidt's, and BLT.
  I have reviewed many eateries in every price range over the years. No matter if it is fast food or gourmet dining, the first thing I judge is the staff. All of them!  
  Secondly, I look for order and cleanliness no matter what the concept. Each of these is a direct and immediate reflection of the management and the things to come!
  General Manager Greg Cavanagh is recognized by vendors, patrons, and staff for being at the top of his game. As Roger Harris, the president of Metro Linens and McKinney City Councilman reflected, “Greg is as good as it gets”.
  OK, so you can expect impeccable service with the same honest smiles, attention to details, and royal treatment that is a direct reflection of Greg.
  I am tired of the standard reviewing practices. I want to have fun and see what others have to say. So I called Amanda Leese, the Sales Marketing Manager and offered a group review. When she told me to bring it on, I invited a Banker, a Gun Slinger, and a beloved Senator to join me.

 As an upscale brand over the years, The Capital Grille has played host to Celebrities, Athletes, Politicians and many other distinguished guests. Friday was no exception at the newest Capital Grille at the Shops of Legacy in Plano.
  Legacy Bank president and past Plano mayor Phil Dyer, Senator Ken Paxton, Super Attorney James Mosser, and the incomparable J.B. Blocker joined me here for a lively lunch on our beautiful patio overlooking the corner of Lone Star and Legacy Drives.
  As the hostess I selected a few signature items for first course “sampler” platters.
  Chef Aaron Valimont prepared a gorgeous plate of Pan Fried Calamari in Hot Cherry Peppers, Lollipop Lamb chops, our seasonal Asparagus Soup, and a Lobster and Crab Cake with house made tartar sauce.
  As we began to dine and make our individual entrĂ© selections I reminded my guests that the Chefs here prepare all of our Soups and Sauces in house daily. All fish is flown in daily and we have an onsite butcher that cuts beef and handles the dry-aging process for our famous steaks. From there I turned it over to my guests to decide for themselves their favorites. The only catch: They had to each order something different!

Amanda Leese
Sales and Marketing Manager
The Capital Grille, Plano

The Gun Slinger
James C. Mosser is a Lawyer for Warriors

   A friend once said,“If you want to know where there is white tablecloth restaurant call Mosser”. I do not fancy myself as a foodie, but I do like great service and good food.
  The Plano Capital Grille is one of those favorite places and you may find me often dining at the table with President Dwight D. Eisenhower next to me.
  The menu has many standards, but also provides a seasonal variety compliments of
Chef Aaron Valimont. Along with the great menu, there is an expansive wine list. The gracious and competent GM Greg Cavanagh is in residence. Just ask and you will receive the finest wine advice, and the most attentive management found in any fine dining establishment in Texas, maybe anywhere.
   Along with Greg, are the two Amanda’s. They epitomize the finely honed service and dining experience. Amanda Busenbark and Amanda Leese, are officially “floor managers”, they run the everyday show. What a great pair! Everyday they orchestrate the fantastic guest service.
   I have held conferences, luncheons, and dinners, at this facility with superb and consistent results. With a knowledgeable and attentive wait staff, nothing goes wrong.
   So, on to the important stuff, the food.
   The French onion soup is never bitter, it is just the right blend of texture and flavors to
tantalize the palate. I say the best I have ever had, and I have to try it every where. It is my preference as a complement to a great steak. (I am not supposed to eat steak, Mediterranean diet you know).
  Today, I did eat the Bone-In Dry Aged Sirloin Steak, (do not tell my Cardiologist), it was a great indulgence. The bone adds to the flavor of the perfectly aged and prepared beef.
  Succulent, juicy, and full of flavor, grilled to order, mine was medium, and it arrived at the table sizzling hot and properly cooked.
  I usually eat the salmon, grilled well done, no oil, no butter, no fat, with the “gray stuff”
removed. This attention to detail is important to me. Sea salt only please! Along with the salmon, I also order asparagus, also grilled, no oil, no butter, and no fat, with sea salt only.    
  What a great Mediterranean diet! Never mind that there are no salmon in the Mediterranean.  If you are lucky Chef Aaron will have red snapper, grouper, or dolphin, (yeah I know we call it Mahi, so as not to offend “Flipper”.
  I regularly meet my business associates and friends here. Because of my dietary requirements, there are few places that I can make my special request and have them met as if it was there pleasure. It is their pleasure to please!

The Senator
Ken Paxton has served as District 70 State Representative, is a Texas Senator, and the leading candidate to become the next Texas Attorney General.

  Centrally located in the popular Shops at Legacy, Capital Grille's latest locale in Plano offers Collin County residents yet another great excuse to stay north and spend locally.  The Grille provides the perfect meal and atmosphere for meeting clients, celebrating with loved ones, or enjoying the outdoors on their relaxing patio. Its great location allows visitors to shop a little before settling down for a nice meal, stroll around the picturesque fountains, or catch a movie all without leaving Collin County.
  When I arrived at Capital Grille, I was struck by its classy yet comfortable atmosphere. We sat on the patio to enjoy the outstanding, mild weather that North Texas has had so much of this year.
   I was initially impressed by the wide-selection of options on the menu.  While all the traditional favorites were there, I could tell that Capital Grill would not be the typical steak house. 
  I started with one of the Grille's signature dishes - the Pan Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers. The golden, crispy calamari was perfectly tender and had a nice fiery kick.  It was like no other calamari I have tasted.
  The field green salad was next.  The greens were absolutely fresh and the house dressing was delicious.
  For my main entree, I had the Seared Tuna with Gingered Rice.  The sushi-grade tuna was seared nicely on the outside, and was extremely tender and pink on the inside. The Asian-style rice served as a perfect accompaniment to the fish. 
  The experience ended with my favorite part of the meal; the Coconut Cream Pie.  This pie was truly outstanding.  It is made with a vanilla flavored crust, layered with whipped and coconut pastry cream and topped with a delicious caramel rum sauce.  As delicious as the rest of the meal was, this pie is reason alone to visit Capital Grille, where dessert is not an option but a necessity.   
  Not only was the food incredible, but the service was impeccable.
  Capital Grille offers a new spin on the traditional steakhouse.  The atmosphere is lively and fun, and the attention to detail is impressive.  I look forward to trying other items on the menu in the near future while also enjoying some of my new favorites. 

The Banker
Phil Dyer is not only the President of Legacy Bank, he is the past Mayor of Plano, Texas

  "WHAT A PERFECT LUNCH!  WORLD CLASS FOOD IN A WORLD CLASS SETTING. WE WERE DINING AL FRESCO AT CAPITAL GRILL WITH A FRONT ROW SEAT TO ALL OF THE ACTIVITY GOING ON IN THE SHOPS AT LEGACY.  A GREAT REMINDER OF HOW FORTUNATE WE ARE TO BE IN THIS AREA---WITH ALL OF THE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AND GROWTH.
  THE APPETIZER SAMPLER WAS A FULL MEAL IN ITSELF.  I LOVE CALAMARI. I EAT IT MANY PLACES, AND CAPITAL GRILL'S CALAMARI IS THE GOLD STANDARD.  LIGHTLY BREADED AND FRIED, PLUS THE PEPPERS WERE OUTSTANDING!
  MY WIFE LOVES SOUP AND ASPARAGUS, SO SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN IN HEAVEN WITH THE ASPARAGUS SOUP---LIGHT, CREAMY, AND DELICATELY FLAVORFUL.
  THE SUPERB LOBSTER CRAB CAKE HAD NICE CHUNKS OF SEAFOOD.  NO FOOD PROCESSOR USED FOR THIS BEAUTY.
  THE MVP OF THIS ALL-STAR TEAM OF APPETIZERS WAS THE LOLLIPOP LAMB CHOP.  DELICIOUS, TENDER, MOIST---EXTRAORDINARY.  AND YOU CAN USE YOUR HANDS TO EAT IT!  (THE PERFECT BAR FOOD SHOULD BE EATEN WITH YOUR HANDS---SILVERWARE IS OVERRATED.)
  THE WEDGE SALAD WAS REALLY A WINNER.  UNLIKE MANY PLACES, THE BLEU CHEESE DRESSING WAS NOT TOO PUNGENT AND OVERPOWERING.  CAPITAL GRILL'S VERSION WAS FLAVORFUL, CREAMY, AND DID NOT LEAVE YOUR TASTE BUDS IN SHOCK.
  MY GRILLED SWORDFISH WITH LEMON RELISH LOOKED LIKE A DINNER PORTION.  COOKED PERFECTLY AND VERY PLEASING TO THE EYE AS WELL AS THE PALATE, IT WAS AN IDEAL LUNCH ENTREE.  A GREAT CHOICE.
  MY DESSERT WAS THE FABULOUS CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT CAKE.  LARGE ENOUGH FOR 2 OR 3 PEOPLE, IT IS A SPECTACULAR SIGHT.  HOW CAN SOMETHING THAT RICH AND SATISFYING, BE SO LIGHT?
  I AM PROUD TO HAVE SUCH A FINE DINING STANDARD IN MY FAVORITE NORTH TEXAS CITY.

My Twenty Cents (inflation)

  Amanda ordered an assortment of appetizers for us to share. I always order Calamari and then submerge it in hopefully decent sauces. It would be criminal to dip their Hot Cherry Pepper Pan-Fried Calamari in anything but your mouth. Seriously!
  I often buy asparagus and meddle with a soup occasionally. I am now embarrassed by my attempts. Chef turned his into a delicacy.
  Lollipop Lamb Chops at the Capital Grille is now my favorite appetizer. I was such a piglet that I had to order a lighter entree. The Chef’s special was a version of a Shrimp Etouffee over a Cous Cous type bed. I couldn’t resist adding the Truffle French Fries to my order and was angry at myself for not taking the leftovers. I should have taken the last remaining Lollipops too.
  The reason I couldn’t finish the fabulous fries was that I took it upon myself to sample each of my friends’ entrees too!
  Every time I visit New York, I make it a point to try various cheese cakes. Why bother! Just try the perfect balance of richness with a lighter body on a vanilla wafer crust!

  If you ever have the opportunity to have the Amazing Amanda Leese guide your dining choices, you are in for a treat. Having her join our little band of Merry Reviewers was not only educational, it was a true pleasure.
  I know why the other Big Boys failed. They didn’t have Greg, or Amanda, or Chef Aaron. 
  Pass it on!
 
- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962. Email: jbnorthtexas@gmail.com

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