Location: 1810 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, Ca. 310-394-5550
Date: September 4, 2019
Cuisine: Italian with Cal influences
Rating: The food here is really very very good.
The Foodie Club comes to Capo fairly often as it’s close and really good. Atmosphere is great. Service is excellent. Only problem is a somewhat draconian wine policy. Yeah, they have a great wine list — but we have even biggest “lists” at home.
The current menu.
I did all the ordering tonight — with consultation — piecing dishes together from the menu into a series of share plate courses for the 6 of us. I prefer this style SO much to ordering individually. Who needs an entire steak? And who can resist 6 pastas?
Bread here is usually very good.
Tuscan white bean paste and some other kind of paste (maybe eggplant).
Trish brought: 1993 Dom Pérignon Champagne P2. 94 points. Nice!
Maryland crab torta. This really is Crab Norfolk, and it’s probably the best one I’ve ever had, and I spent summers as a boy in Oxford Maryland, land of the blue crab. This is a big juicy pile of delicious blue crab, drenched in butter, and their special touch is a little Meyer lemon in the mix. Bellissimo!
Michel Blanchet smoked salmon. With more white asparagus.
Burrata Caprese. Because burrata always makes everything better.
MZ brought: 2004 Domaine Roulot Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. BH 93. As it almost always is, this is the class of the cellar with more discreet wood framing a reserved but ultra elegant white flower and pungent limestone nose that merges seamlessly into fine, precise and intensely stony flavors that finish bone dry and with a vaguely saline quality. This is built to age and should provide at least 7 to 10 years of upside development. As with the Bouchères, there is a trace of reduction but not really enough to detract from the overall sense of outstanding quality though if you were going to try one young, I would suggest decanting it for 20 minutes first. (Drink starting 2012)
MZ brought: 2014 Château de Puligny-Montrachet Chevalier-Montrachet. BH 92-95. Equally discreet wood sets off the beautifully layered nose that blends together notes of citrus, wet stone, rose petal and subtle spice hints. There is excellent verve to the delineated and overtly muscular yet refined big-bodied flavors that possess an abundance of acid-buffering dry extract before terminating in a moderately austere and explicitly saline-infused finish that is like rolling rocks around in your mouth. This is very clearly built-to-age and is going to require at least 5 years to unwind and develop more depth. (Drink starting 2024)
Baja Sardines ‘al Forno.” Sardines salted and cooked on the wood fire grill. Pretty much Spanish style and delicious!
Foie Gras on toast. Big portion, but the sauce overwhelmed.
Toro Tartar. Like Nobu’s, but no wasabi ponzu. Really excellent actually.
From my cellar: 1969 Tenuta Greppo (Biondi-Santi) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. VM 93. Biondi-Santi’s 1969 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva has aged gracefully. Dried flowers, mint, licorice, molasses, anise, brown spices, iron, game and tobacco grace the palate in a delicate, feminine Brunello that impresses for its overall balance and harmony. All the elements come together beautifully in the glass. The 1969 is now fully mature, although it has more than enough texture and Sangiovese acidity to hold on for another 5-10 years, perhaps a bit longer. The 1969 will always be more of a delicate Brunello with haunting, nuanced Sangiovese overtones and tons of personality. (Drink between 2015-2020)
Larry brought: 2000 Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana IGT. Parker 96-100. Tua Rita’s 2000 Redigaffi has taken a big leap forward in its evolution. The wine is infused with black fruit, prune and blackberry preserves that come together to form an inky appearance and chewy consistency. Beyond those fruit tones are equally robust aromas of Teriyaki sauce, barbecue smoke and exotic spice. Redigaffi is a pure expression of Merlot and it delivers condensed, thickly extracted and syrupy aromas some 15 years after the harvest. The wine is like a time capsule that takes us back to a time when this richer and more opulent style was so enthusiastically embraced. My feeling is that the wine has not aged as steadily as was once predicted. Upon initial release, Robert Parker had given this wine 100 points, and if I’m not mistaken I believe it was the second Italian wine to earn such an honor after the 1985 Sassicaia. Since then, it has shed much of its fruit and has become more defined by its oak spice and tangy cedar. In the mouth, the wine shows abundant texture with integrated tannins.
Yeah, I’m kinda insane and I did the ordering, so I got us 6 pastas — yep, 6 pastas. And we each got a plate like this (followed by a second round below).
White Corn Ravioli with Black Truffles. This is always to die for.
Pasta with uni, squid, and shrimp. Really nice bright seafood pasta.
Round 2: Flight!
Bucatini with lamb ragu. This is one of my favorite pastas. I love the bucatini, I love the gamey ragu.
Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe. Yum.
The dessert menu.
The amazing classic chocolate soufflé.
Made even better with some slightly orange cream.
Tiramisu. Good, but not as good as mine.
Great night. I just love Capo’s pastas. They do them in this correctly cooked, Italian but not Italian hearty style that is just filled with flavor punch. Balance is superb.
Our wines were fabulous too, if varied and perhaps not always perfectly paired.
Capo isn’t great value — it’s pricey — but they do make really really good food and have for 20 years. Every dish is excellent and it’s a pretty varied menu. They were way ahead of the curve too on the whole wood fired trend.