The Capitol Grille is the restaurant in the Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville that originally opened as the Grille Room in 1910, serving traditional southern cooking. Not associated with the chain of a similar name it is currently is being renovated and so is operating in the hotel lobby. The hotel has partnered with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who has restaurants in NYC, Paris, Shanghai and others to direct the food service once it re-opens in the fall. The main dining room is on the street level and is currently closed so seating is on the second level enclosed terrace of the hotel, overlooking the 6th street entrance. The present room has carpeting, coved painted ceilings, double clothed tables with coordinating napkins and music in the background. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tables were well spaced and service was friendly but not especially polished.
The Club sandwich contained country ham, oven-roasted turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, Swiss, cheddar and mayonnaise on wheat bread. It came with a choice of French fries, potato salad or coleslaw and we chose fries. It was perfectly satisfying but not great. The good bread was lightly toasted and soft with a thick slice. The ham was more like that from a deli counter than country ham and the turkey was not freshly roasted. It had enough mayo to moisten the sandwich and the cheese was somehow almost melted. So nothing wrong with it, it simply didn’t meld into greatness. The fries were a coated variety – very crisp with a sweet ketchup.
The Southern Prime Rib Sandwich included shaved prime rib, chow chow and pimento cheese on a house-made brioche bun. The beef was all well done but nicely tender on a soft butter toasted bun. The chow chow added a fun component to the flavor but you couldn’t really taste the pimento cheese even though you could see it spread on the bun. It was good but again not crossing into the great category. I chose fries with it too and they were nicely crisp. With it I tried a glass of house red (cabernet) and it was awful.
Coconut Cake was made with a vanilla sponge cake, coconut cream filling and cream cheese buttercream. It was a really dense cake with thick frosting and scoops of whipped cream at one end. It was not overly sweet and the top was sprinkled with toasted coconut. The berries were large but mostly tasteless. It was a good proportion of icing to cake. With it we had some French press coffee which was fine.