Capital Grill & Bar
Address: 3116 Roblin Blvd
A bustling crowd chattering over drinks and plates is the surest sign of a restaurant’s status as neighbourhood go-to, and at Capital Grill and Bar, the crowd of locals is enough to necessitate week night reservations. With a sleek interior and smart menu, this new open embodies the new generation of neighbourhood watering holes.
The minimal interior lets the food do the talking, interjecting with a few ultra-mod touches like blue LED lights under the bar and abstract art on the walls. Chef Wayne Martin, building on the success of his previous venture (CRAVE, in Vancouver) has hit on a winning formula for keeping the classic bar and grill fresh.
Classy comfort food is the name of the game, including pub staples spiked with upmarket ingredients and served on trendy ceramics. The signature burger (upgraded with pancetta and truffle-infused cheese) and a gooey, open-faced grilled cheese topped with classic caprese flavours (pesto, a thick slice of tomato, and buffalo mozzarella) show what the kitchen can do with bar food.
Entrées offer a mix of homey and high cuisine. Rigatoni in a winey tomato sauce wins the prize for best rainy day dish. Tender shreds of short rib folded into the sauce impart rich, dusky flavour. Bison rib eye is the hip answer to meat-and-potato Sunday dinners, avoiding the lean protein’s pitfalls by presenting a luscious cut that releases juices happily into a ragout of bacon and fingerling potatoes.
But diner demand ensures the menu is not all carbs and carnivore fare. Lighter options – including many suitable for vegans – are equally delicious. Salads are no afterthought, but creative and fresh menu additions, like the classic cobb amped up with crunchy-coated fried chicken. A raw salad piled with 15 different veggies (edamame, sun-dried tomato, and fennel are the MVPs) lets veg shine, spiked with a healthy toss of milky, sharp green goddess dressing.
A warm, caramel scented sticky toffee pudding is the perfect way to cap off a homey meal, though the night need not end there. Go ahead, have a drink – or two, or three – what else are neighbourhood spots for?