Capital Grille, Costa Mesa...not good! [moved from LA board]
We had dinner at the new Capital Grille at South Coast Plaza last night and had without a doubt the worst steakhouse experience we've had in OC. First for the good...the ambiance is very pleasant, and our server was a delightful and professional young lady. Also the bread was good. Everything else was mediocre, or poor.
Our martinis were well made, but were very short pours. One was barely 2/3 full and the other 3/4 full of a standard martini glass. We asked to have a chopped salad split for the 2 of us, but were told that the restaurant does not split dishes. The server did split the salad for us, but we clearly felt that this was a special favor. The salad was ok, but nothing special. My guest ordered salmon "cooked through" and I ordered a pepper steak "very pink throughout, but not red". My guest's salmon was very undercooked, and my steak was bloody and raw in the center. Both were returned to be cooked additionally. My steak was returned properly cooked but was very dry and not flavorful at all. My guest similarly did not enjoy his salmon. Since I thought that the quality of the beef which I was served was not good, I inquired as to what grade of beef the restaurant served. Our server told us it was "select choice". The USDA has 8 main grades of beef...prime is the best, then comes choice, then select. So, it would appear that the beef I was served was either the 2nd or 3rd from the top. I am quite sure that the four other major steakhouses nearby (Mastro's, Morton's, Ruth's Chris, and Fleming's) serve prime beef. The sides (mashed potatoes and green beans) were ok, but also not great. We were told that the sorbets were made in house, so we ordered them for dessert. They were also definitely below par...tasting very much like those coming in a quart carton from the neighborhood supermarket.
All in all, this was an extremely disappointing experience. When there is a Mastro's across the street, and a Morton's just aroung the corner, I can't imagine why anyone would choose to go to the Capital Grille.
While I once viewed Morton's and CapGrille as equals, I share your views (somewhat). I know that Morton's serves USDA Prime beef, wet aged. I prefer dry aged, which CapGrille serves, BUT, they serve USDA Choice. The server's characterization as "select choice" was an attempt to boost the choice moniker, but select was an unfortunate word. They highlight dry aged, but make no mention of the grade, and this is why.
I *love* CG for their Stoli Doley...but was a bit disappointed in the version I had @ Costa Mesa. I've been to the one in Las Vegas; it was quite a generous pour (two martini glasses full, for the price of one) with very little alcohol taste (but surprisingly potent). On our recent visit to the CM restaurant, it certainly felt more like a middle-aged scene than about the food. The atmosphere was loud and fun.
The food, I thought, was okay. The calamari was not crisp and was completely forgettable (I wouldn't order it again). Our medium rare delmonico, which we split, was red in the center (which is how Mastro's serves theirs too) and served on two plates. The lobster mac n cheese was very good, and I found their truffle fries, while flavourful, to be meh...and the sizes of the sides are quite smaller than what you'd get @ Mastro's. We also had dessert (chocolate cake), but it's nothing like Mastro's Signature Warm Butter Cake. So, in all, I wouldn't say the experience was completely disappointing (b/c I had a nice date night w/Mr OCAnn)...but would have to agree with Mastro's just up the street, our choice for steak would be that. The only reason to go to CG might be for the middle-aged hipster action...and the Stoli Doley (which I hope sees an improvement).
Two drinks, an app, a steak, two sides, dessert & two coffees: about $150 before tip.
2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362