BALTIMORE, March 31, 2011 — The Capital Grille, Baltimore is again working with Share Our Strength to raise awareness of, and to help end, childhood hunger. To date, the restaurant has raised more than $400,000 for the group.
Baltimore’s Capital Grille is located across the street from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, is perfectly situated for a fun day walking around the city’s pride and joy, prior to a luscious repast.
The Capital Grille offers complimentary valet parking around the corner, making this an easy downtown destination. Inside, you’ll find the elegant, “club-like” atmosphere one expects from the Grille, but don’t feel like you have to wear a tie and jacket; dressy casual is the norm.
Unique portraiture reigns at the almost forty restaurants located across the country. However, it is funny to see a huge portrait of Ulysses S. Grant on the walls directly across the street from where the “Pratt Street Riots,” the first Civil War bloodshed, took place.
Along the walls are personal wine storages for many Baltimore bold faced names, like Cal Ripkin.
For this years Capital Grille Annual Artist Series Wine Event, winemaker Tom Peffer of Atalon Vineyards and the Grille’s Master Sommelier George Miliotes have “paired” together for an important and delectible mission. For a limited time, patrons can order a gorgeous bottle of wine, with a label, entitled Pairings, designed by Florida artist Patricia Timbrook.
Through May 8th, 2011, from the sale of each bottle $25 will be donated to Share Our Strength a national charity to end childhood hunger. However, the neat part of this efforts is that donations will benefit local Share Our Strength initiatives.
This years offering, a Cabernet Sauvignon, was crafted by Napa Valley, California winemaker Thomas Peffer. I was happy to be able to try the Cabernet Sauvignon and its perfect, well, food pairings. It’s official description is that it’s a full bodied wine with opulent flavors of ripe cherries, black cassis, cedar, and vanilla.
I noticed that when the bottle was first opened, before it was decanted, it was silky on the tongue, lighter. As it breathed, and as the meal became more complex, it, too matured into a richer, more velvety drink.
You can absolutely taste ripe, juicy fruits without it being sweet.
I learned that this wine was specially commissoned by Capital Grille to go with their signature steaks. It also goes with lamb chops and even their roast chicken (which has a spicier rub).
I was advised not to order the seared tuna, which has a wasabi sauce that would go against the wine. As for sides, the complex vegetal flavors of their steamed spinach and roasted asparagus are a good foil for the Cab.
Now, here is another match made in heaven for this wine that I discovered: the Wagyu carpaccio appetizer.
Wagyu is America’s answer to Japan’s Kobe beef. True Japanese Kobe beef is not imported to the U.S. and I doubt we’ll import anytime soon, considering the circumstances. Wagyu is tender and rich, well-marbled alternative that is a cross between Angus and Wagyu cattle. The cab holds up well to the pepperiness of the arugula garnish with Parmasan cheese shavings.
Paired with the rich cooked steak, the wine takes on a velvet mouth feel and the flavors brighten. The leathery tannic quality that some Cabs can acquire, particularly when paired with rich, sweet proteins, does not exist. It’s lively and very drinkable.
One of the chef’s suggestions in general and most especially with the Cab is their Kona crusted dry aged bone-in sirloin with caramelized shallot butter.
For those of you who have written off sirloin as something from the neighbor’s grill night, rethink that choice and try a sirloin of this outstanding quality!
The bone-in adds more flavor and it’s thick and oh-so-tender. Kona coffee is considered one of the prize coffees of the world, from Hawaii. Imagine how good it is as a steak rub. The cocoa flavors of the coffee, along with good old fashioned salt and freshly ground black pepper delicately enhanced the beef flavors.
It definitely has a beef-meat flavor, opposed to a fat flavor, that you get from other cuts and other meats. I order my steaks medium-rare and I just think that’s the best way to enjoy them.
A side that is just made for steak is their roasted seasonal mushrooms, with Portabella, Oyster, Shiitake, and Cremini mushrooms in a rosemary/thyme/extra virgin olive oil/garlic butter sauce. The herbaciousness and deep roastiness of the mushrooms, served in a cast iron skillet, have a flavor all of their own. This is definitely not some throwaway garnish or side.
Lamb chops are currently being served with a cherry-based chutney: bright cherry and spices, just like the wine, making a perfect pairing.
Do you still have a little wine left in your glass? A perfect dessert match is their flourless chocolate espresso cake, served with fresh raspberries and Melba (raspberry) glaze. Like with the steak, the coffee notes, along with the dark chocolate notes, go well with the Cab. The raspberries hit just the right amount of berry tang-sweetness, without killing the wine.
You can read more about being out and about in Baltimore by Tamar Alexia Fleishman in The Washington Times Communities here.
It takes a Renaissance woman to cover the cool, shocking, tasty, and thought- provoking things in the Baltimore region and beyond. Tamar is a Kentucky Colonel, a beauty pageant winner, and has managed several Southern rock and alt-country bands. She also has a column online, as well as articles of interest to the military. Read more Out and About Baltimore in The Washington Times Communities.
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