We wanted to do something nice for Easter dinner, so we decided to visit one of our favorites. It's always nice to be back to the Grand Street landmark, and while perhaps because of the holiday most of the familiar faces weren't around our server Charity was excellent. There was an Easter prix-fixe that was tempting, particularly since one of the entree choices was lamb with artichoke and fennel. But we both decided to order a la carte.
For the appetizers, we went with Italian classics. We split the greens and beans Passannante, which we had never had here before although it's one of my favorites. It was divided into two portions for us:
A very nice balance between firm white beans and butter greens, with a tasty broth. We also split an even more banal appetizer, a caprese salad:
This is all about the ingredients, and given how rare it is to get tasty, juicy tomatoes at this time of year it was a godsend. The homemade mozzarella is also terrific.
For the main courses, I went with another classic I had never had at Capriccio before, a pasta carbonara:
At way too many American Italian restaurants, Carbonara is redefined as "Alfredo sauce with bacon in it." This bastardization is not only unhealthier but not as good (more than a couple bites of Alfredo is too rich for me) as the classic version, which should be built from egg, Guanciale or another cured pork, Romano and Parmesan, and perhaps some white wine, and preferably no cream at all. Combined with their fresh pasta, Capriccio does it the right way, and it's superb.
Emily had the pizza with Grilled mushrooms:
Update by Ms. Garlic:
The Easter specials had sounded really good, and were in fact the reason we decided to go to begin with, but I had the mushroom pizza a couple of months ago, and I was still thinking about it. I've become a pizza fan the last couple of years, and I enjoy making it, but my oven only gets up to 550 degrees, and I think a wood fired oven is usually more around the neighborhood of 700, which improves the texture of the crust that much more. It is flaky, light, airy, and straight up fun to eat. Amazing pizza - and you could probably spend the same amount ($12) at Domino's or Papa John's, frankly, for a much more inferior product. I think it is interesting to think there are cheap options at some of the area's nicer restaurants - that just because you think of it as a nice restaurant doesn't mean you can only go there on special occasions when you will order more expensive things because it is a special occasion. In such a scenario, you would leave with the wrong idea that it is an expensive restaurant when some of the cheapest items on the menu are still better than things you can eat most places for the same or more. (Also check out the pizza plate with the little man on it - adorable!) I also agree that our server was great. We wanted to take a picture of her Eiffel Tower tattoo, which was literally the coolest thing I had ever seen, but I was too shy to ask.
Scott Lemieux continues:
Capriccio is definitely capable of more ambitious cuisine, but classics perfectly prepared with well-chosen ingredients can be great too. Capriccio does both, and the pizza and pasta are tremendous bargains. There are a lot of area restaurants were yo will eat not nearly as well for more money. We'll be back soon, but not soon enough.