UPDATE: The restaurant closed in April 2016 for financial reasons.
The story: Caputo is a new Italian restaurant serving up Neapolitan pizzas and the typical seasonal-focused dishes in the space that was once the temporary spot for Slanted Door before it moved to the Ferry Building. Chef/partner Sam Ramadan has worked for sister restaurants in Marin County but made his name in the Seattle area.
Why I went: I was invited by the restaurant for a media dinner, and I brought along my friend Craig as we dined on a chilly Saturday evening, which made the stone fire pits at the entrance a nice welcome as we arrived.
The vibe: The large dining room has a bit of a Midwestern flavor, with pub-like decor and a casual crowd that could partly be touristy given the location along the Embarcadero south of the Ferry Building.
The booze: A menu of specialty cocktails (about 10) and a nice selection of wine by the glass (including a few on draft) and beer. I tried the Cucumber Collins ($12) made with Square One Cucumber vodka, Lillet Blanc, lemon and cucumber. It was refreshing because of the cucumber.
The menu: A traditional Italian menu with antipasti, salads, pizza, and first and second courses. The items all reflect a local, seasonal vibe, such as the persimmons in the baby gems salad ($10) we ordered or the local mushroom pizza. The salad actually seemed plain and simple, but the charred octopus ($14) was well built with roasted cauliflower. We tried the zucca pizza ($17), which was made with butternut squash, gorgonzola dolcelatta, caramelized sweet onions, and toasted walnuts. Craig loved the chewy pizza dough, but I thought some of the edges were a little too blistered. And it was unusual, for me, having a pizza without much sauce. Our entree of grilled lamb ($33) was delicious and nicely cooked, and both Craig and I loved our desserts. In fact, desserts seemed far above the rest of the menu.
My favorite dish: While I enjoyed the lamb, I really loved my dessert of butterscotch budino ($10). I always love butterscotch pudding, and Caputo had a really nice presentation with an almond biscotti crunch and the pudding served in a mason jar. The sea salt caramel was a nice added twist.
The last bite: The location on Brannan Street is a bit off the beaten path for restaurants, serving probably the condo buildings tenants that surround it. Caputo may not be serving up anything surprising in style or manner, but the friendly service and efficient kitchen make it a welcomed addition to the area. The fantastic desserts is icing on the cake.
Because this is a media dinner, I’m not giving it my typical rating. But it’s a spot worth checking out. Thanks to Caputo for a lovely dinner!
The deets: Caputo, 100 Brannan St., San Francisco. PH: 415.543.9722. Open from 11:30 a.m. daily, till 9 p.m., Sunday and Monday; till 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and till 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations, major credit cards accepted. caputosf.com
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