Friday, July 10, 2009

The Capital Grille

Monday was allergic mom's birthday. Yesterday was the allergic brother's birthday. We decided to all meet in Cherry Hill on Monday for the birthday celebrations, and allergic mom was dying to try the Capital Grille.
The experience was equal parts fascinating and allergic-diner friendly. Dinner isn't so much dinner at the Capital Grille as it is an experience. My allergies had been inquired about with the manager prior to my arrival, and Sharyn had assured my mother they would be able to take care of me.
Boy, did they ever!
After a lengthy recitation of the specialties of the house (all from memory), our server, Jason, had a chat with me about my allergies (apparently his wife is another of our kind, dear readers - she's allergic to the planet, too!). He even offered me a look at the ingredients of each dish, if I wanted. I declined, and simply asked for salmon, broiled plain (you know the drill, no seasoning, no oil, no dairy, and certainly nothing under the salmon to keep it from sticking to the skillet). I was even told I could have a baked potato (also plain - and they went so far as to leave it uncut to show me it was safe!), and that's not offered on their menu! Jason returned to the table, and asked if they could steam the fish for me, to guarantee no cross-contamination whatsoever. His words, not mine. I readily agreed.
The table had a calamari appetizer so spicy it cleared my sinuses, and I didn't have any! After allergic mom and NAH had their favorite lobster bisque, at which point both declared they couldn't eat another bite (I can report that it smelled phenomenal), dinner was served.
A kona-rubbed steak for allergic dad, halibut for NAH, a porterhouse for allergic brother, filet for allergic mom, and some light-pink, perfectly steamed salmon for yours truly. They served the baked potato uncut, still in the tinfoil to show me that it had touched nothing else.
At one point, the manager, Sharyn, even stopped by our table to check and make sure everything was perfect. When I was identified as the "allergied one," she spent some time talking to me about her son's allergies. It's amazing what a quick bond people can form over something like this.
Knowing that both our waiter, Jason, and the Capital Grille's manager, Sharyn, perfectly understood both the severity and complexity of my situation put me at ease. I had a fantastic meal, and could not have been any happier with the service.
Capital Grille, thank you for putting this allergic diner at ease. I never once felt out of place.

Your allergic diner
PS -- It is important to note that I did ask our waiter if I could include his name in this review, as I was that happy with his attention and service throughout the evening. He informed Sharyn, who returned with the business card of another manager (corporate), and asked me to clear my review with her. I did no such thing. In my view, having a corporation clear my review would taint it. Luckily, this review is so glowing, they have nothing to worry about!

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