We had Thanksgiving dinner for two (2pm seating) at the Capital Grille--Beverly Center and were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of food, service and ambiance. We'd had been avoiding this place because of its location inside the Beverly Center, a mega-mall that straddles West Hollywood and Beverly Hills and which can be a nightmare to get in and out of by car. But friends' high recommendations about the place (and raves about its daily happy hour) pushed us to take a chance with limited options open on Thanksgiving.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that this restaurant has its own FREE valet parking driveway entrance on the north facing side (Beverly Blvd. side), which makes getting in and out quick and effortless. (If you're an Angeleno, you know how important the car component of any L.A. experience can be) Our experience at Capital was across the boards positive. In addition to outstanding service and nicely paced courses, Capital Grille offers a respectable wine list, with many selections on offer priced quite reasonably. Included with your meal is a nice basket of warm assorted breads and fresh, salted butter brought out shortly after you've been seated.
We ordered a 2009 St. Francis Old Vines California zinfandel ($42) and a nice steak tartare to start; for fun, we compare tartares so we order it anywhere it is on the menu at restaurants we visit around the world. We rated this tartare a 6/10 on our ten point scale. Served on a bed of chopped boiled egg and capers, it seemed to have too many ingredients stirred into the meat, which we felt detracted from the fresh all-beef taste we prefer. The crunchy buttery toast points served with it were outstanding. Would we order it again? Probably.
Next we opted for the traditional Thanksgiving ensemble. For $36 per person, this included a generous portion of sliced turkey breast, cranberry chutney, mashed potatoes and a hearty traditional stuffing. As a side, we ordered sauteed Brussels sprouts prepared with pancetta. The traditional fare was excellent overall. Dessert was an add-on of pumpkin cheesecake, which was uber-rich and very tasty. (We inquired about the availability of dark meat as we were served our plates, which our server said he'd ask the chef about, but he didn't get back to us on it and we forgot about it.)
Overall, Capital was very good and did not disappoint. Is it the most charming place to dine in a great eating town like Los Angeles? No. Are there cheaper, cooler places to eat? Definitely. There is no disguising the fact that it is a higher end chain restaurant with dining rooms scattered around big cities throughout the USA. The food is of high quality and is very reliable. Menu choices are classic and not super-imaginative, the dining rooms have the dark panel & oil portrait elegance of an upper crust men's club or library and the service is excellent. I would recommend this to someone who wants to eat a very good meal at a known dining spot without taking a risk on quality or service.