Business diners and out-on-the-towners look to The Capital Grille steakhouse for luxe food in a stylish setting. The beef is top-notch, with an array of popular cuts, including Delmonico and dry-aged porterhouse. Non-beef lovers can revel in thick lamb chops, wild salmon, oysters and lobster, and there’s a wine list full of Northwest bottles to complement your meal. The Capital Grille’s location inside the 1910 Cobb Building, a Beaux-Arts treasure and national historical landmark, makes the room feel like a true Northwestern gem: sophisticated and dim, with dark woods, interesting fixtures and posh upholstery. But a close look at the art adorning the walls brings many happy surprises; those formal portraits on the wall are of local Seattle celebrities like Jimi Hendrix and martial arts star Bruce Lee.
The show is just arm’s length away from diners at Benihana, who watch as outfitted chefs slice and sear their dinner, teppanyaki-style, on a big flat grill in the center of each table. Beyond the visual feast, Benihana’s menu includes everything from steaks and seafood to chicken and unique sides like the Onion Volcano, Flying Shrimp, and the famous fried rice. Showman chefs talk up a storm, cracking jokes, flipping food through the air and showcasing plenty of skilled handiwork, all before serving the hot entrées straight from the grill. Fun business lunches or daytime excursions out with the family are also perfect at Benihana, which features the same visual spectacle during the day, as well as an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet.
The elegant exterior of The Brooklyn Seafood, Steak & Oyster House is fitting for a restaurant located across the street from the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Art Museum. But as the old saying goes, it's what's inside that counts. Luckily, the inside of this award-winning seafood restaurant is just as beautiful, boasting what Gayot calls a "classy men’s club vibe." Picture, for example, a large, sturdy bar where bartenders serve microbrews, scores of wines (including those from local wineries), and specialty cocktails, or a dinning room filled with tables covered in crisp, white linens. As for the food, it's also easy on the eyes, but that's hardly what counts. What matters most is that the seafood is impeccably fresh, with daily deliveries yielding a rotating selection of fresh raw oysters, served on the half shell. Because the menu is dependent on fresh catches, the choices can change frequently, but entrees might include dishes such as lobster ravioli with king oyster mushrooms or a seafood volcano loaded with dungeness crab, prawns, and Penn Cove oysters. Meat lovers will also find plenty of choice cuts including a Martinez Farms slow-braised, moroccan-spiced lamb shank or the decadent steak oscar, which is paired with crab, asparagus, and a gold cheese potato tower, and presented to the diner by comedian Billy Crystal.
Entering The Metropolitan Grill is a bit like stepping back in time––1903 to be exact. Tall mahogany doors swing open slowly, revealing 20-foot ceilings elegant crown molding, and rich, tufted velvet booths. A tuxedo-clad maitre d escorts guests to the 60-foot black marble bar or past the rich mahogany walls to a private table dressed in crisp white linen. But as luxurious as the atmosphere is, it quickly melts into the background once the menu is opened. Steaks, hand cut by the executive chef, are grilled to order over mesquite charcoal, and available in every type of cut, from Delmonico to a 42-day aged ribeye. Then, of course, there's the American Wagyu, which comes from Idaho's Snake River Farms, where Black Angus cattle have been bred with Japanese Wagyu to create a USDA Prime beef with higher marbling, richer flavor, and a more delicate texture. And while steak may be the star of the menu, The Metropolitan grill also excels in other timelessly elegant dishes such as lobster tail, bacon-wrapped pork chops, and a classic iceberg wedge salad, served with a tiny ice pick.
Meet the Chef: David Varley came to locally focused cooking quite organically—when he was a child, his mother grew vegetables for their family and local restaurants, and he contributed to the family table by hunting and fishing.
While You Wait: Keep an eye on the Last Bottle board—modeled after arrival–departure boards posted in European train stations, it displays wines that are just about out of stock and their considerably discounted prices. Groups have been known to order from it just for the fun of watching the letter tiles clack as their chosen bottle is removed from the board.
Mortadella: a large Italian sausage made from minced pork interspersed with cubes of fat, pistachios, and black pepper.
Sunchokes: also known as Jerusalem artichokes despite being a member of the sunflower family, these crunchy tubers taste similar to water chestnuts.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Get slowly and deliberately caffeinated with a coffee tasting at Seattle Coffee Works (107 Pike Street).
After: Stop for a scoop of gelato or sorbetto at Gelatiamo (1400 Third Avenue), open until 10 p.m. weekend nights.
Where to Sit: If you'd like privacy to propose to your partner—or to discuss a proposal with your business partner—request to be seated in one of the high-backed booths.
Rib-eye steak: a tender, flavorful cut of beef from the rib section that is prepared either bone-in or boneless.
Steak oscar: steak served with toppings of crabmeat, asparagus, and a creamy sauce—either hollandaise or béarnaise.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
For the art collector: Admire the work of local and national artists at Jeffery Moose Gallery (1333 Fifth Avenue).
For the theatergoer: ACT – A Contemporary Theatre (700 Union Street) houses five theaters in one building. Past performances have included Little Shop of Horrors and Arthur Miller's The Price.
For the fashionista: Butch Blum (1332 Sixth Avenue) currates high-end collections from European clothing and accessory designers.