Restaurant: Capo [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
Location: 1810 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, Ca. 310-394-5550
Date: April 11, 2018
Cuisine: Italian with Cal influences
Rating: The food here is really very very good.
Tonight’s two part extravaganza begins with a stop off at Sage Society for a “pre-dinner” Trimbach tasting!
This takes place in sage’s cellar “social hall.”
With plenty of snacks. Liz carefully pairs even these amuses with the wines so the little tags are wine numbers so you can match them up.
And lots and lots of Trimbach, mostly riesling, of course. This includes several vintages of the incomparable Clos st Hune and a couple of super sweet VT and SGN wines.
In the house was Anne Trimbach (on the right).
In any case, on to Capo and the main event. Capo is a favorite of mine and I’ve reviewed it before HERE and HERE. They have a particular high end (but not formal) blend of California style (Farmer’s Market ingredients) and Italian tradition. But it’s not a strictly traditional Italian, more interpreted through a vaguely Tuscan / California vibe.
But today, the Foodie Club decides to brace their strict 2 bottle corkage policy and head on in with a small crew of four of us.
Bread and Tuscan white bean paste.
We found this 1976 Chassagne Montrachet on Capo’s wine list and it was actually in pretty good shape for a 42 year-old village!
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!
Toro Tartar. Like Nobu’s, but no wasabi ponzu. Really excellent actually.
Dutch White Asparagus with prosciutto.
Foie Gras on toast. Big portion, but the sauce overwhelmed.
Fred brought: 2004 Château Margaux. VM 94. Bright red-ruby. Knockout nose features boysenberry, currant, cedar, graphite and mocha. Suave, gentle and sweet, already displaying ineffable inner-mouth perfume. The 17% merlot component injects a silky component, and the oak element adds a complementary sweetness. Complex, lush, horizontal finish saturates the mouth with flavor. It was not clear to me in April that the 2006 would exceed this-and it will certainly take longer to reach full maturity in bottle.
Dungeness Crab Risotto. Pretty awesome and a California take on the Italian dish.
Pasta with uni, squid, and shrimp. Really nice bright seafood pasta.
Tortelli di Zucca. Not exactly the classic pasta, although it might have had a touch of Amaretto cookie in it — great nonetheless.
Rigatoni, truffle meat sauce. Capo is amazing at these meaty pastas. Perfect chew to the pasta itself, incredibly savory sauce.
Bucatini with lamb ragu. This is one of my favorite pastas. I love the bucatini, I love the gamey ragu. A tough call which is better with the rigatoni.
Larry brought: 1999 Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana IGT. 95 points. It needed time to open up, had a dense garnet color, with a fading garnet rim, on the nose had some ripe cherry, chocolate, earth, floral, slight herb, a hint of VA. The palate had very ripe fruit, was slightly out of balance with more fruit than acidity (whereas the Masseto was very balanced here). Food worked great with this wine, bringing out plum and cherry flavors through to an excellent finish. Blueberry, brown sugar, stewed/baked blueberry flavors also noted. “Massive, beautiful now, will last ten more years,” but the wine had a few detractors: “very American, pales in comparison with the Italian acidities, unfocused. Overall, probably averaged a 95-96 score for the scorers.
I can’t remember what came in this.
The amazing classic chocolate soufflé.
Made even better with some slightly orange cream.
This was a relatively simple evening for the Foodie Club, but great fun and the quality level was superlative. 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.