Magazine cover image Get the Summer Issue

The Best & Worst Menu Items at The Capital Grille

So you know exactly what to order next time you make a reservation at this upscale restaurant.
The Best & Worst Menu Items at The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille is the place you dine at when you graduate college or are celebrating a special birthday, with dishes ranging anywhere from a reasonable $11 to a wallet-busting $92. The upscale restaurant chain is applauded for its seafood and steak options, so we wanted to take a stab at separating some of the worst menu items from the best, nutritionally speaking. Let’s be real, all these menu items look delicious.

Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, nationally recognized nutritionist and healthy cooking expert, gave us some assistance by hand-picking the best and worst option from each category of the dinner menu at The Capital Grille.

Appetizers

Worst: Pan-Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers

Serves 2: 1,420 calories, 112 g fat (38 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 3,560 mg sodium, 72 g carbs (8 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 34 g protein

“Even though these are pan-fried instead of deep-fried, this dish still packs in 1,420 calories, and 112 grams of fat,” says Bannan.

Splitting this appetizer with one other person will still cost you more calories and total fat than a single meal should at 710 calories and 56 grams of fat. That’s more calories and total fat than is in a slice of Marie Callender’s Turtle Pie, which costs 560 calories and 36 grams of total fat.

“These also have well over the daily recommendation for sodium, clocking in a whopping 3,560 milligrams of sodium before you even get to dinner,” she adds.

The daily recommendation for sodium is 2,300 milligrams per day, remember.

Best: Tuna Tartare w/ Avocado, Mango and Sriracha

Per serving: 130 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 530 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 16 g protein

Bannan likes this dish because out of all the appetizers on the dinner menu, it has the least amount of calories and sodium.

“It also has a satisfying 16 grams of protein and only half a gram of saturated fat per serving,” she adds. That’s a lot of protein and minimal fat for a fish that clocks in at 130 calories. Order this appetizer and you won’t overindulge on your meal because that protein will keep you satiated.

Soups and Salads

Worst: Burrata with Heirloom Tomatoes

850 calories, 62 g fat (30 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,640 mg sodium, 50 g carbs (4 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 23 g protein

Bannan warns that while this dish sounds healthy with its inclusion of heirloom tomatoes, it’s actually the most caloric and fat-filled option you can order from the soups and salad section of the menu.

“This dish packs over half the daily recommendation for sodium and over double the recommended amount of saturated fat for the day,” she says.

Chances are, you are ordering from this part of the menu for lighter fare, but this salad option is far from it.

Best: Field Greens with Parmesan Vinaigrette

210 calories, 18 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 450 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (4 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 3 g protein

Bannan appreciates that this salad is low in sodium, however, the parmesan vinaigrette tacks on a substantial amount of fat.

“You can trim the calories and sodium even more by opting for the dressing on the side and lightly dressing [it] yourself,” she adds.

Chef’s Suggestions

Worst: 20 oz. Bone-In Wagyu Strip

20 ounce bone in wagyu strip at capital grille Courtesy of The Capital Grille
1,390 calories, 75 g fat (36 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 4,740 mg sodium, 115 g carbs (26 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 41 g protein

“The size alone should tell you this meal is going to be a lot,” says Bannan.

This Wagyu strip clocks in at whopping 20 ounces in weight—over six and a half times more ounces than what you should consume in one meal. Red meat consumption should be limited because of its high saturated fat content, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

The Wagyu strip certainly isn’t shy of saturated fat, either. According to the Cleveland Clinic suggests cutting off saturated fat intake at 22 grams per day.

Best: Tenderloin w/Butter Poached Lobster Tails

570 calories, 30 g fat (16 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 940 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 74 g protein

“This dish may sound over-the-top decadent, but is actually one of the healthiest choices on the Chef’s Suggestions menu,” says Bannan. “It contains one of the lowest amounts of both saturated fat and sodium but still packs in about half of the daily recommendation for both. Make it a little healthier by packing up half of the meal to enjoy later.”

Main Courses

Worst: 32 oz. Dry-Aged Porterhouse Steak

1,280 calories, 81 g fat (35 g saturated fat, 5 g trans fat), 600 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 133 g protein

“Much like the Chef’s Suggestions [Wagyu Strip], the size of this dish should be a warning of how much saturated fat and calories it contains,” says Bannan. “With 1,280 calories, 35 grams of saturated fat, and double the recommended amount of trans fat per day, this steak is anything but light.”

Best: 10 oz. Filet Mignon

490 calories, 29 g fat (13 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 500 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 54 g protein

While 10 ounces is still more red meat than you need to eat in one sitting, this is by far the lowest in calorie, saturated fat, and sodium option you can order under the main courses section. But keep in mind it’s still high in fat, so it’s not the best dish to order off the Capital Grille menu.

“It is still relatively high in saturated fat with 13 grams or about half of the daily recommendation,” says Bannan.

Seafood

Worst: Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Miso Butter

810 calories, 66 g fat (39 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fat), 650 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 47 g protein

The sea bass is chock-full of fat and calories. While the umami flavors from the miso butter are surely irresistible, it’s only something you should order sparingly.

“It has over a day’s worth of both saturated and trans fat, which can contribute to the risk of heart disease,” Bannan adds.

Best: Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon with Almonds

720 calories, 48 g fat (15 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 480 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (5 g fiber,  16 g sugar), 50 g protein

Salmon is loaded in heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it the clear winner out of the five seafood options.

“While this salmon isn’t the lowest calorie option on the seafood menu, it is the lowest in sodium and highest in dietary fiber,” says Bannan.

RELATED: Your guide to the anti-inflammatory diet that heals your gut, slows the signs of aging, and helps you lose weight.

To Share

Worst: Lobster Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Per serving: 830 calories, 57 g fat (34 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 1,130 mg sodium, 56 g carbs (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 25 g protein

OK, we get it. This dish looks absolutely incredible and even we are dying to try it. However, looking at that fat content makes us a bit uneasy. Keep in mind, there are two servings in that little cast iron skillet.

“This dish packs in more saturated fat than two Whoppers and half a day’s worth of sodium,” says Bannan.

The fact that one serving of this pasta dish contains more saturated fat than two fast food burgers is a bit jarring.

Best: Sautéed Spinach with Garlic Confit

Per serving: 60 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 350 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (3 g fiber, <1 g sugar), 4 g protein

When in doubt, order some spinach.

“These leafy greens contain only 60 calories per serving, no saturated or trans fat, and 3 grams of heart-healthy fiber,” says Bannan. “Even if you ate all of it yourself, it would still be a lower calorie option with a good amount of fiber.”

Desserts

Worst: Warm Double Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream

1,280 calories, 55 g fat (20 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 410 mg sodium, 182 g carbs (11 g fiber, 144 g sugar), 15 g protein

This dessert alarmingly packs 144 grams of sugar, almost all of which is added sugar. The American Heart Association says that men should cap off added sugar intake at 36 grams (9 teaspoons) per day and that women should do the same after 25 grams. It goes without mention that this seemingly little dessert is filled to the brim with the sweet stuff.

Packed with almost 12 tablespoons of sugar, Bannan says eating this cake is equivalent to drinking four cans of soda.

Best: Seasonal Fruit Sorbet with Almond Biscotti

410 calories, 14 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 120 mg sodium, 70 g carbs (2 g fiber, 39 g sugar), 4 g protein

Of all the dessert options, the seasonal fruit sorbet takes the cake as the most health-conscious item. Why? It’s the lowest in calories and saturated fat. For a sorbet, it’s still relatively high in saturated fat. For comparison, Talenti’s Alphonso Mango Sorbetto contains just 160 calories and 0 grams of saturated fat per serving.

 

Get the Summer Issue

Look and feel great this summer with healthy recipes and tips from Eat This, Not That! Magazine.