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Nov 1, 2012 12:35 PM

Capo's - SF - Tony Gemignani does Chicago-style

Inside Scoop has the menu. Deep-dish, stuffed, "cast iron pan," and "cracker-thin," plus 20 a day of a "quattro forni" cooked in four different ovens. Full bar. Cash only.

641 Vallejo, opening this month.

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  1. Any reports? Someone's going, because a coworker had trouble getting a reservation for Thursday. Curious what distinguishes the "Chicago deep dish" from the "cast iron pan".

    1 Reply
    1. re: Frosty Melon

      The Chron review has a photo of a cast-iron pan pizza, it's thick crust, not deep-dish.

    2. Went last night. No reservations, sat at the bar to wait but barely had time to order a drink before we got a table.

      Clams casino was a good lightened-up modern version, scorching hot roasted clams with just a pinch of the breadcrumb-bacon-Romano mixture in each.

      Baked conchiglie with Dungeness crab and shrimp in tomato cream sauce was very good, the dish looked like it was going to be a huge amount of heavy pasta but the shells had a lot of air in them so it was a reasonable portion for two. Had to divvy up some big chunks of crab that all ended up on one plate.

      Old Chicago deep dish reminded me of the pie I had at Uno's in Chicago 20 years ago, probably less cornmeal in the crust. Good but huge, 12" pie almost two inches thick sliced in six wedges, one slice was plenty, the second was pure gluttony. Took half home.

      Worthy contender, personally I prefer Little Star's but people who think that's too oily or cornmealy might prefer Capo's. I forgot to ask about the cast-iron pan, the server said the two deep-dish pies were the deep-dish and stuffed, and that the Quattro Forni was thick crust.

      Too full for dessert. Unti Vermentino on tap was very nice.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I've only been once but will return. The bar is a big plus- rye whiskey served properly with a single ice cube.

        We ordered the deep dish Old Chicago as well. The sauce and cheese overflowed the crust a bit much,but it didn't hinder me from eating several slices. Service at the bar is a little awkward as you must stand up to pull slices cleanly from the stand and, as I said, the cheese sauce and toppings overflow the crust such that one must be deft.

        Personally, Little Star is #1 due to quality of ingredients and structural integrity of the pie, with revisits to Paxti's and Capo's due. I speak only of deep dish; both Capo's and Paxti's have stuffed, and I've had neither.

        I guess that's four revisits due. Poor me.

        1. re: Pius Avocado III

          The other thing I like about Little Star is that they have nine- and 12-inch pies, and they're not as thick as more traditional deep-dish, so it's a more reasonable amount of food. Also, you can get slices at lunch.

        2. re: Robert Lauriston

          Went over the weekend with a group of 6. Had a 7:30 reservation but they took us at 7:10. We over-ordered, and had three pies, the Old Chicago deep dish, the Frank Nitti stuffed and the Michigan Ave thin crust. I'd rank them in that order of preference though they were all solid. Leftovers heated up well the next day. I thought they (well, the Old Chicago and Nitti) were unlike any pizzas I ate in Chicago regularly (Giordano's and Malnati's were my mainstays) mainly due to the use of ricotta, and the sauce. Loved that the thin crust pie was cut into squares. I have no occasion to be in North Beach normally but this pizza (particularly the Old Chicago) is reason enough. Ready to plan a 2nd visit, for sure.

        3. We went last night. I'm not a huge fan of Chicago style pizza (way more bread and dairy than I generally eat all day, much less in one sitting) but liked this place pretty well. Great whiskey sour at the bar, and I liked the handsome interior. We got the Frank Nitti pie, and I agree that one piece felt hefty and filling for dinner, two would have been crazy.

          I was starved and we were warned of an almost hour-long wait for pizza, so we also got the artichoke appetizer, baked in cream with toast points. It was good and straightforward--had the feel of a hot dish plate you'd bring to a neighborhood cocktail party. He liked it, I thought a couple bites was enough.

          This is one of the few SF restaurants (the other being Harris' maybe?) where I'd say that you should not take a vegetarian. While it was obvious to me that most of the fillings would include (hopefully removable) meat, I didn't expect the crusts would be non-vegetarian (3 out of 4 are; only thin crust is appropriate for non-meat eaters). Two apps didn't have meat. My (vegetarian) DC reviewed the menu and said "This is why our grandpas died of heart attacks."

          1 Reply
          1. re: pane

            Yeah, it's impressive how few vegetarian options there are on the menu. The crust has lard in all but the thin crust.

            Pretty empty on a Wednesday night, we got seated without a wait at 7:30.

            It was a little bit too salty, but I liked the broth in the complementary pasta e fagioli.

            We got the Frank Nitti pie stuffed crust, which has tomatoes, mozzarella, provolone, spinach, ricotta, romano, oregano and garlic. Very disappointing. The crust was soggy on the top, dry on the sides, and my first piece was blackened and acrid on the bottom. If lard is supposed to make for a better crust than butter, I didn't taste a benefit.

            The ingredients in the pie were higher quality than the lower tier places I've eaten at in Illinois, but the preparation was inferior to those places and to local places Zachary's or Patxi's. The filling lacked any stability.

            The bottom crust was completely saturated by the time I wrapped the leftovers at home.

          2. i think the main draw here isn't the deep dish pizza (esp with little star in town), but more the idea of getting well-executed italian-american food made with quality ingreidents - the pastas here are delicious. also loved the cracker crust pizza

            1. Pulled up this thread because I rec'd a promotional mailer with a few discount coupons for Capo's. That tends to be a sign of a restaurant in trouble, though these reports seem quite positive.

              One of the coupons is for the Sunday lunch family special, $39.99 (feeds 4), "pasta fazool" soup, Caesar salad, spaghetti and meatballs, and garlic bread. Same thing as reported here, maybe it's available without a coupon.

              Cash only