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The Weekend Chef

Weekend Chef: My Restaurant Week Scorecard 2012

Posted 2:29pm on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012

The first week of KRLD’s Restaurant Week 2012 is officially over.

Fortunately Restaurant Week has grown in the past 15 years and is now more like "Restaurant Month," with a lot of the participating restaurants adding an extra week or two to the event. So if you missed the first week, there is still time to get in on some of the restaurant action.

If you are not familiar with Restaurant Week, it is a fun, foodie charity event during which more than 125 local restaurants serve three-course dinners for $35 a person, with $7 of the proceeds going to the Lena Pope Home if you are dining in Fort Worth, and the North Texas Food Bank if you dine in Dallas.

This is a great opportunity to check out some of the nicer restaurants in the area without having to pony up the big bucks for a meal -- plus it is for charity!

Being a veteran of Restaurant Week, I have not always had a good experience with some of the meals and restaurants participating in the event. In the past, I have had meals with extremely tiny portions, bad seats and restaurant staff not particularly interested in serving the lower fixed-priced Restaurant Week customers.

Fortunately, that was not the case with the three restaurants my wife and I tried this year. First up was Eddie V's Prime Seafood on a Tuesday night.

We arrived on time and were seated right away at a nice table in the main dining room.

Wait staff was nice. Food selection on the Restaurant Week menu seemed to be on the less expensive side, but the portions for the main course were full sized. Side dishes were sold separately for $6 a dish. I should have ordered one, but mistakenly thought the wild mushrooms that came with my chicken breast were going to be a side instead of a garnish. My chicken breast and mushrooms tasted great, but seemed a little lonely on the plate without a side.

All in all, it was a nice dining experience. But the meal did feel a little lacking and out of place in such a nice restaurant.

I give Eddie V's 3 out of 5 stars for Restaurant Week.

Next up, Grace on a Thursday night.

Again, we arrived on time and were seated right away at a nice table in the main dining room.

Wait staff was professional and nice. Food selection on the Restaurant Week menu was a little more limited, but seemed to be more upscale than Eddie V's. Food portions were full sized and the main course included sides. I had a petite filet mignon that came with polenta and a corn succotash side this time, a step up from the chicken breast Tuesday.

I have to say this is one of the best Restaurant Week meals I've had in awhile.

I give Grace 4 out of 5 stars.

We ended the week at Capital Grille on Saturday.

We arrived on time, but the Capital Grille valet lot was full so they were not parking cars. This was causing a huge traffic jam in front of the restaurant as cars tried to pull up but were being turned away by the valet. To make matters worse, it was raining. I dropped my wife off and drove to find a parking space. Fortunately, the garage I park in for work was only three blocks from the restaurant or I think we might have canceled once the valet turned us away.

We had to wait 20 minutes once I made it back to the restaurant for a table, then we were seated in an overflow area in the bar.

At this point, my expectations were low, but that all changed once our server started going over the menu. The Restaurant Week menu here had a huge selection, which made you feel like you were ordering on the "adult menu" instead of kids for a change. They even had specials that were not on the menu for Restaurant Week. My wife ordered a 12-ounce prime rib, a Restaurant Week special. The server was impeccable, too.

The food portions were huge, "full-price" sized. The sides were included and were served family style. This was more like ordering off of a chef's tasting menu than what I normally associate with Restaurant Week.

This was the best Restaurant Week meal I have had, period. And my wife and I have been doing Restaurant Week since 2001.

Despite the parking snafu, Capital Grille gets 5 out of 5 stars.

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