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Restaurants & Bars 13

Capo Review

jcwla | Apr 12, 200412:53 AM

Had never been to Capo so made plans to go with a friend last night. Originally made reservation for Thursday night at 8, couldn't make that, asked them for same time last night, got 8:15 instead. No prob.

Got there around 8 and the place was BOOMING, including lots of people waiting to sit. Some people were eating at the bar. Was told our table would be available shortly -- "just being cleared" -- but figured it would take the better part of a half hour.

Wrong! A few minutes later we were being whisked to our table -- I think we were able to pull this off as a party of two, while others in parties of four who were there before us had to wait twenty or thirty minutes longer.

The room is a gorgeous big room, full of life, with photography mixed in on the walls with smaller paintings, drawings and other art -- usually the combination doesn't work, but here it's homey and it works.

We had perused the menu online in advance, and understood that this place is INCREDIBLY expensive. But would it be worth it? My friend and I always talk about not ordering an appetizer and an entree each, but usually end up doing so and regretting it afterward. Our diets, combined with the priciness, gave us all the incentive we needed to mix and match.

We decided to start by splitting two appetizers -- the heirloom tomato and vegetable salad and the purple baby artichoke salad. Our waiter suggested we add burrata cheese to the tomato salad for "a few dollars extra" and we agreed.

When the heirloom tomato salad arrived, they had split it so we each had a plateful of tomatoes and veggies and a HUGE side of delicious, herb-infused burrata. The tomatoes were delicious but so were the vegetables from Bruce Marder's garden -- each one was as close to the essence of its flavor as I've tasted in quite a while. The salad was priced at $18 and when we got the bill, we saw that they had added only $6 for the cheese -- more than "a few dollars extra" but actually an incredible bargain for the amount of cheese they gave us. This was a salad to dream of.

Served on one plate were the grilled baby artichokes tossed lightly in an olive oil-based dressing, with a large plateful of shaved parmesan on the side. We never got around to the parmesan because the artichokes didn't need it -- grilled on the open fire, they weren't noticeably purple but were delicious, flavorful and filling.

For our entree, we split the pan-seared halibut -- like all the fish last night, it was priced at an eye-popping $40. They brought this out on two plates as well -- and charged us $6 for the split order, as the menu indicated -- and it was a small but tasty cut of the nice, light fish. With it were more delicious garden vegetables, including a grilled zucchini bud oozing with melted cheese on the inside -- a happy surprise. Was the entree worth $46? It was good, but no -- yet again we found ourselves wishing we'd made a meal out of appetizers.

Desserts didn't sound interesting enough to break with our diets, but they did bring out a plate of small cookies and cream-filled chocolates at no charge. The breadbasket also looked interesting and came with a hummus-like tapenade.

The bill:
$3 for friend's cranberry juice
$4 for my Diet Coke
$18 for the heirloom tomato salad
$6 for the burrata
$24 for the artichoke salad
$40 for the halibut
$6 for the split entree.
A total of $101 plus tax, or $109.34 before tip.
(Probably the lowest in the history of the restaurant.)

Service was friendly and very helpful in a crowded and challenging room. We thanked the maitre d' for seating us so quickly and told him we had thoroughly enjoyed the delicious food and the warm, inviting atmosphere conducive to good conversation. At these prices, it's a special-occasion place, but with a bit of planning you can get out of Capo without spending this month's rent.

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