May 15, 2006 | Insatiable Critic
Capital Grille

        Loyal to my hometown favorites, I felt no craving for out-of-town steak when Capital Grille settled in at Chrysler Center just east of Grand Central two years ago. But a friend whose son runs the place invited us, and I didn’t want to be rude. The raucous cries of unbridled gluttony and dedicated chewing I witnessed suggest this town just can’t get enough steak and doesn’t mind digging in at a national chain. I was instantly thrilled by Philip Johnson’s futuristic Trylon wing— a tower of steel and glass rising asymetrically above our table in this stunning space, originally meant to be an automobile showroom. My friend and I split a 20-ounce sirloin, dry-aged, just tender enough, and exactly the way we wanted it—medium rare for her, rare for me. I was wary of coffee-rubbed cow, but my guy’s Kona-crusted sirloin with caramelized shallot butter was even better. Slivers of hot cherry peppers perked up the usual pan-fried calamari. And petals of fresh crab seemed especially voluptuous. All the steakhouse standards are here, of course. And not everything scores as high as the beef. Still, I can’t stop eating the greasy tangles of onion sharing a platter with puffy cottage fries. The potatoes had a rewarmed weariness. Desserts here are born to share. The chocolate hazelnut cake is grotesquely opulent. And $7.95 desserts are a way to make nice after $39 cow, naked on the plate.

155 E. 42nd St. nr. Third Ave. 212 953 2000