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Capital Brasserie

Keeping with my promise to try at least one new place a month, hubbers and I went to CB yesterday. With it being cold and rainy, seemed the perfect day for onion soup.

Interior was nice, understated and absolutely had the vibe of a french bistro. The big picture windows offering a great view of the rain outside.

Fresh from the oven bread was served with some of the freshest tasting butter I've had away from my aunt's farm.

I ordered the french onion soup and a small traditional ceasar. Hubbers ordered the croque monsieur with pommes frites.

There were two baby hiccups - my soup was brought out way before the other two. I had wanted to eat the soup/salad together when hubbers got his meal. I also was not given a soup spoon and had to use my coffee spoon for about five minutes before the waiter showed up again.

That aside, the soup was outstanding - rich and deep with flavor. Hubbers said it was a little heavy on the vermouth, but I didn't think so. Finally! there's a resaurant that does a really wonderful anchovy-y (pardon the grammer) ceasar. Bright, green, crisp lettuce. Freshly graded parm with just enough done-right dressing with just enough to coat each leaf. My meal was just right for a rainy cold day. Hubbers even sopped up the last of my soup with the fresh out of the oven bread our waiter brought about mid-meal.

Hubbers croque didn't look like much, but it was so incredibly rich he barely ate three-quarters of it. Thinly sliced grilled ham on a toasted dark rye with rich gooey cheese melted on top served with crisp on the outside, tender in potatoes with plenty of herbs on the crust served with a zesty-tangy dipping sauce.

Lunch at CB was wonderful. I never felt rushed, service for the most part was attentive and we couldn't have had a better rainy-day meal.

We'll definatley be back to try the Sunday brunch.

p.s. - the steak salad the table next to us looked amazing.

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  1. I wouldn't put Capitol Brasserie on my list of absolute best restaurants in Austin, but IMHO it's very good, especially for the location and price. The most expensive item on the dinner menu is $22, and for being downtown in that nice of a restaurant, that's not bad. I've been there twice, had the Steak Frites ($17) the first time and the Roasted Chicken ($16) the second. The frites (fries) are great - in fact I ordered the Roasted Chicken the second time because it came with them. Both times I really enjoyed the meal. The food is very satisfying - it's basic, straight ahead, good French food (hence being a brasserie) - and you won't leave hungry, like at some other fine dining establishments around town, which I won't name. ;-)

    1. Austin has needed more of a mid-range (price) brasserie for a while. I'll have to give it a try.

      1. Based on your review, I'll give this place another shot. My experiences thus far have been lackluster, and I always feel like I should have gone to Chez Nous.

        1. Plus they have Hoegarden on tap. It is a shame they no longer have Lambics as it was quite good mixed with Hoegarden.

          1. I went to Capitol about 2 weeks ago. I had oysters and a ceasar, my son had steak frites and charcuterie and hubby had mussels and a salad, and my mom had some sort of pasta (can't remember what). Anyhoo, the service was pleasant, the food was good. Capitol is not a 'chowhound' experience, but it is honest and fresh and I would recommend it. I live in France and only wish all our brasseries were so good.

            4 Replies
            1. re: laur76


              Do you mean CB is not a "chowhound" experience because the food’s not truly delicious? In other words, it’s just good? Plus, what do you mean by "honest"?

              I'd also love to know more details about how the frites, mussels, salad, and pasta were prepared.


              1. re: MPH

                I'm sorry I meant it was good. Not the best mussels EVER etc.. But certainly very good and very fresh. In sum, though I agree it was not very clear, I meant simple, fresh, good, therefore honest (in french when we say something is 'honnete' it means we do not feel taken advantage of and are satisfied. Again, I would recommend it.

              2. re: laur76

                yes, I'm confused too. You say the food was good and also say "I live in France and only wish all our brasseries were so good." That sounds like a "chowhound" experience to me.

                1. re: amysuehere

                  Again, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm very sorry to say most brasseries in France are not chowhound experiences. I wish I could keep up the myth but I can not tell a lie.

              3. Personally, I've found that the entrees (i.e., the roasted chicken, the pulled pork dish, etc.) are nothing special, especially for the price. However, I love pretty much everything on their "late night" menu (most of which is also served for dinner) - in particular, their salads (lyonnaise wasn't mentioned, but it is served with a tangy dressing and lots of lardons), the croque monsieur, and the cheese and charcuterie plate (although it varies in consistency).

                The service there is generally competent and friendly, although I've had one or two bad experiences. While not the best in Austin by any means, is a nice place to go to hang out and relax over a bottle of wine. In addition, I think it is one of the best options (possibly THE best option) for late night dining.

                1. i ate here saturday night for the second time. not terribly impressed. there is something odd about this place and the food that i can't put my finger on. the mussels meuniere were 'eh' with inconsistent quality from mussel to mussel. the steak tartar was alright, not much wow factor. i ordered the prix fixe and stuck with the steak frites (what i had the first time i visited, late night). it was cooked perfectly and tasty with the fries. the boston bibb salad was also 'eh' (if only it had a poached egg perched atop). their profiteroles are lacking something. i think the pistachio ice cream that has a strong hint of almond extract they use in place of vanilla ice cream might have ruined it.

                  i'm with tom. i'd rather go to chez nous. there is something more soulful about chez nous' food.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: yimay

                    I didn't know Chez Nous was open for brunch on Sunday. I love them for dinner. I'll be sure and give them a try for weekend lunch.

                  2. FYI - the owner of Capitol Brasserie, Reed Clemmons, sold the place to the owner of Cubra Libre. Wonder if that will effect a change?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ken W

                      There have already been several changes.

                      First, while their hours are still remarkably generous, they are no longer the glorious "pretty much anytime you like".

                      Second, many members of their staff have flipped. Not sure how this extends into the kichen.

                      Finally, they are now carefully observing which specials are popular, and rolling them into the regular menu. I'd bet that less-popular daily specials will be traded out for other options.

                      This is my favorite late-night option in Austin. While I don't think CB is very good, it is decent, and I'd hate to see them go under. The staff turnover (and lack of common wines on their list) has seriously worried me. They are no Chez Nous (or Aquarelle), but they ain't bad, and given Austin's absurd hours for most of the better establshments, CB had been a reliable haven after 10 PM.

                    2. I didn't think it was bad but I didn't think it was better than average. I try to eat at different places each week, but I probably will not go bac to CB.