Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chophouse Review: Capital Grille Las Vegas

Took a little weekend trip to Vegas for my buddy's bachelor party. We'll get to some of the other goodies later, but what would a bachelor party be without at least one steak dinner. On Saturday night, after a long day at the pool bar watching some March Madness, myself, Noc, Big Sic Nasty, Handsome Gabs, Sixer, Master P, Train, Stache Guy, and The Bachelor sauntered down the strip to chomp.

So using the Bruce System of Chophouse Rankings, here's a review of the Capital Grille, Las Vegas...

Location: Well we're in Vegas, so it's kind of an inconvenience for most people. Plus it's down by the mall - not in the middle of the strip. Points because it was within walking distance of our next destination (Tao), but obviously not ideal. SCORE: 5 (out of 10).

Ambiance: We had our own private room, so we could basically say anything we wanted without offending anyone. Always a good combination to re-live some old tales from college added with a few doozies that not everyone had heard before. The fact that we were in the wine room gave it a classy touch, and the fact that there was an enormous painting of some dude who was a dead ringer of our buddy Master P, and you had an ideal room. SCORE: 10.

Master P and his twin

Bar: With red wine already waiting for us, there wasn't much reason for us to make a stop at the bar. That, plus we were all about 10 drinks deep at this point already (except maybe Handsome Gabs, who hit the sheets off nice for about 4 hours in the middle of the day. Not shocking that he has more energy than all of us combined at this point). But there was a plasma at the far end showing the end of the Indiana-UCLA game, so points for that. This should really be n/a, but nothing from the bar scene jumped out as anything spectacular. SCORE: 6.

Bread, Appetizer, Salad: The bread basket was ok, nothing to get crazy about. My buddy Mayor calls the NY Cap Grille bread basket "stupid," but I wouldn't go that far. The Caesar salad was pretty sub par, lacking cheese and flavor. But any NBA game, one Alpha Dog can sometimes save the show. And the calamari with jalapeno (trademark of the Cap Grille) was indeed that Alpha Dog. Was probably even better than its New York counterpart. The buffalo mozzarella and tomato was very solid as well. SCORE: 8.

Sides: It was a price fix menu for the nine of us, so we couldn't order a bunch of sides. Green beans and some garlic mashed were the two on the menu. The beans were fine, just not a personal preference with a slab of beef sizzling next to me. The mashed were very strong, with more of a buttery taste than a garlic one. SCORE: 6.

Chop: The menu was offering two choices: the Filet and the Dry Aged Sirloin. (Note: we're not counting the other choices of lamb and chicken. Thankfully, everyone stayed away.) Normally I'd frown upon going with the Filet at a chophouse with a bunch of guys. But considering that a) most of us had been drinking since before noon, and b) we still had a big night ahead of us, I can't kill any of the guys who went with the smaller cut. No need to be sauntering around Vegas with a bulging stomach while fighting off the impending iceberg dump. Plus, we would presumably be hitting on females all night, and the last thing you want is to be drag bunting all over the place. But ANYWAY...

Decided to go with the Sirloin. Not bad. Would have preferred it to be a bit more charred though. Charring is such an underrated element of a good chop. And unfortunately, the seasoning was not enough to cover up the lack of charrage. But it was juicy, cooked perfect medium, with minimal amounts of gristle. Have had better, but to be fair, I was too delirious to fully appreciate a prime cut to begin with. SCORE: 7.

Dessert: Everyone was served a triple shot of espresso, which was fitting because all of us were fighting off another triple - a combination of food coma, beer coma, and over-oxygened coma from the casino. So I'd say that the espresso did a fine job of cancelling the other three out. Then they brought out a few plates that consisted of cheesecake topped with strawberry sauce (tremendous), an espresso chocolate cake (phenomenal), and a key lime cheesecake (too full to try). Just an all-around superb job with the sweets. SCORE: 9.

Crowd: To be honest, no one was really paying attention to the crowd because we were off in our own room. But while there were a handful of tourists who were looking for a classy meal in the cheesiest city in the country, there were also plenty of the Vegas slime that you'd expect. The few smokeshows scattered about definitely brought this score up. SCORE: 7.

Service: Great job by the Cap Grille staff, who not once seemed annoyed by nine guys being utterly boisterous and obnoxious. Everything was brought out in a punctual manner, the wine glasses were never empty, and the one mistake was answered with a scurrying waiter tearing ass to fix the error as soon as possible. Props to the female waitress who was clearing tables in the middle of an off-color joke ("Taste yourself!"). No sneer, just a polite smile. You've got to love chicks who can tolerate dudes who are being absolute pigs. SCORE: 9.

General Class Factor: Again, this was in Vegas, so it's difficult to consider anything really classy. But the Cap Grille took care of us. There wasn't any special pampering, but that's not a bad thing. We were treated respectfully, but not like we were royalty, which, frankly, wouldn't have been our style. Just nine guys from a small DIII school, on the verge of getting hammered, looking to chomp for a couple hours while we celebrated our buddy's engagement and arguably the last time he'll have fun again in his life (just kidding bud). The room was phenomenal, the meal was good, and the service excellent. Solid job by the Cap Grille Vegas. SCORE: 8.

Final Score: 75


Just a few lingering tales from Vegas. Note: I'm not trying to be like The Sports Guy and tell you how cool I am because me and my buddies took Vegas by storm. No, this is for the nine of us, so we have something in writing that can hopefully spark up a few memories down the road when amazing weekends such as these have completely killed off all our brain cells...

*Fourth trip to Vegas, and the same truth applies - no girl in Vegas is smaller than a C.

*Some of the nastiest, most unpleasant cocktail waitresses are employed by The Mirage. Messed up orders, hour-long disappearances, snippy back-talk, and an incredible lack of hotness. You know it's bad when you'd rather take down a 61-year old roulette dealer instead of any cocktail waitress in the joint. Of course, that might be my desire to finally hit it with a true Silver Fox...

*Speaking of roulette, thank god for that game. And thank god for 9, 11, and 16. Took away some of the sting from the debauchery on the blackjack table. Sic Nasty concurs.

*Great pool at The Mirage, complete with a couple of waterfalls. Could have also opted for Bare, the topless pool, but that was a $50 cover. No dice.

*The conference room at The Mirage had its walls painted. The artist? Train.

*Definitely not a fan of the whole club scene - mainly because I dance worse than Elaine Benes, don't grease up my hair with a bottle of gel every night, don't wear shiny expensive shirts or chains, and prefer to actually be able to hear the person I'm trying to talk with - but the Tao experience was pretty wild. A friend of a friend got us a skybox table, which had a perfect view of the two girls on the elevated stage who spent a couple hours touching each other on a bed and then mounting each other on a swing inside of a cage. Not making this up. And, they were easily two of the five hottest women I've ever seen in person. No question.

*Did I also mention that on a middle stage at Tao, there was a tub filled with water and rose petals? And that there were two naked chicks in there, rubbing themselves and each other down for about four hours? Now why can't they do that in New York?

*For the record, two tables down from us, Eddie Griffin, Chris Tucker, and Damon Wayans were sitting with a small entourage of females. And for the record, the girls who were hanging out with us (and stealing our booze) were all better looking than their posse. That's downright embarrassing. When you're rich and semi-famous, that should never happen.

*Drinking eight Red Bull & Vodka's is bad for your heart rate the next morning. Very bad.

*Improbable rallying from Sixer and Master P. Totally defying the laws of heavy drinking.

*If there's one lesson from the Spearmint Rhino, it's that you can't have your hand in there.

*Breakfast on Sunday morning after Saturday's debacle. Hard to call it breakfast since none of us went to bed. But not sure if any of us have laughed harder than when Noc made his triumphant entrance.


*Big Sic Nasty, who by the way was sporting one of the most ridiculous sunburn lines on his leg, lending his size 56(?) tan blazer to Noc to wear at breakfast. The extreme opposite of fat guy in a little coat.

*Kobe beef chili cheese dogs on Sunday before the flight home. Good lord. Also didn't need that car bomb at 8 pm either. But what's the point of going to Vegas if you're not gonna be excessive, right?

*Redeye home, followed by a train straight to work. I've never had a moment where I wished I was dead. But Monday morning came close.

*Finally, the adventure of reaching our destination. With a big storm hitting New York, myself, Noc, Handsome Gabs, Sixer, and the Bachelor were basically shit out of luck flying out of New York, and that was after switching our 6:30 pm flight to noon. But no chance we were getting stuck here. Wake up at 6 am to devise a new plan. Audible to the Acela train from Penn Station to D.C. Take two metros and a bus to Dulles Airport. Get drunk at the bar and sweat out four excruciating hours as the snow falls, waiting to see if this flight will cancelled. Get delayed an hour. Finally get on the plane, and the stewardess telling us we need to de-ice the plane quickly, because they can still cancel. Take off around 8:45 et, and land about six hours later. At the tables within 45 minutes.


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