Social class is far from invisible in America. Every choice that we make—whether it be how to spend our money or time (or both)—usually shows something about our socio-economic background. Food and restaurants are no exception to this rule. In fact, the “you are what you eat” mantra goes much deeper than your skin turning orange if you eat too many carrots. The dining/food/health choices you make are directly tied to your social class, cultural beliefs, and economic prosperity.
That being said, under normal circumstances, we would never find ourselves within the illustrious dwellings of the Capitol Grille at the Hermitage Hotel. But thankfully, Pierce’s parents were kind enough to give him a birthday gift card for $100 to the restaurant. Upon receiving this gracious gift, Pierce asked “Well, geez, thanks, but what are we going to do with all the money that is left over?”
Surprisingly (or maybe not), that wasn’t an issue.
Capitol Grille at the Hermitage Hotel
Pierce: Shrimp and Grits, Tennessee Jack Egg Sandwich, Chocolate Ganache Tart, Mimosa ($33.95)
Kristen: Sweet Onion Bisque, Steak and Eggs, Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée, Mimosa ($33.95)
Service Time: Five minutes for biscuits/mimosas, 10 minutes for first course, 20 minutes for second course, 10 minutes for dessert.
First Impressions: How is it possible not to be impressed when entering the historic Hermitage Hotel? The elegant Capitol Grille is nestled under the lobby and features a dimly lit interior that highlights some local Nashville landmarks. Murals of Centennial Park and the State Capitol encompass the walls.
We made reservations on OpenTable, but at 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, it didn’t seem like it was really needed. Our waitress was very prompt in bringing us our drinks and menus. Our original table spread included an option between a variety of spoons and forks prompting a few “what is this one for?”’s.
The Main Event: Much to our delight, the Capitol Grille employs the three-course menu—the first that we’ve seen it on our brunching adventure. For the first course, Kristen decided to have the sweet onion bisque—which tasted like someone juiced the world’s most delicious onion rings.
Pierce went with the shrimp and grits, which was the size of a main course and featured four jumbo shrimp accompanied by a fried take on grits.
After having a little time for digestion, our main courses arrived. Pierce ordered the Tennessee Jack Egg Sandwich that included Jack Daniel’s-infused toast with egg, tomato, and jowl bacon. Yes, jowl bacon. It was incredible—but after the shrimp and grits, Pierce was only able to finish half of it.
Kristen went with the Steak and Eggs which featured a nice 7 oz. steak, potatoes, and eggs. The eggs—prepared scrambled—were a little runny/mushy and the potatoes were nearly burnt, which wasn’t Kristen’s preference.
Throughout the meal, our waitress came around and continuously topped-off our Mimosas—something neither of us had a problem with.
The meal ended with two light desserts—a chocolate ganache tart and a vanilla bean crème brûlée.
The Verdict: When one thinks of “high-dining,” they think small, flavorful portions. But the Capitol Grille doesn’t abide by this stereotype. Despite the sky-high prices, the food is creative, very good, and anything-but-skimpy. The service and atmosphere are simply second-to-none. While it certainly isn’t an “every-other-weekend kind of place,” if you are looking for a once-a-year/special-occasion brunch, the Capitol Grille is a great selection. (If there’s room for it in the budget.)
4/5 Syrup Crocks