PROVIDENCE: Like other cities Providence sets aside a period of time where people have a chance to experience the dining scene at reduced pricing. During restaurant week you can sample a variety of the city’s restaurants from a pre-selected, three-course, fixed-price menu at lunch for $12.95 to dinner for $29.95 — not including of course tax, tip and the biggy — beverages. That discount pricing brings more customers into the restaurants — something well needed in today’s economy.

I just happened to be in the city during this offer. So what better time to try the Capital Grille, I thought, as it was located across the street from where I was staying.

The gazpacho and Caesar salad appetizers were forgetful, with an off taste to the chilled soup and twice as much dressing on the salad as necessary. But the Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon and the Sliced Kona Crusted Dry-Aged Sirloin were worth the price alone. For the latter they rub the beef with a blend of decaffeinated Hawaiian Kona Coffee, granulated sugar, cocoa powder and garlic powder. The chef then sears the steak in a pan to begin caramelizing the rub’s sugar and finishes the dish by adding some caramelized shallot butter. Outstanding… as was our wine selection — a perfect Bordeaux to accompany both beef and salmon, a Chateau Larose-Trintaudon Haute Medoc, 2002 ($36)

The room temperature creme brulee with a soft (not crisp) crust that came with the 3-course meal was also lackluster. The flourless chocolate cake, though, was much better.

I say hooray to city organizations that put these festivals together allowing us to take a chance to experience a variety of places at reasonable prices to decide whether we want to spend our big bucks there.

Capital Grille, 1 Union Station #1, Providence, RI 410.521.5600.

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