Well, I had said I was done with Capri Tavola Calda, the little italian slice and sandwich joint next to Subway on Walnut between 4th and 5th
Well, sad to say, but I am done with Capri Tavola Calda
I gave them a lot of chances since they are just a half block away from work, but nothing has worked out.
I've tried 4-5 different slices, including the white slice, and none have been better than meh. I've tried two different sandwiches, and the prosciutto/arugula/mozz was at least good but at almost 8 bucks and sized like a half sandwich elsewhere, not worthy of a repeat. A cup of lobster bisque was near as thin as water and tasted like paste, with nary a bit of lobster in sight. A chocolate chip cookie I was given as a freebie when my wait was excessive - a nice touch, mind you - tasted no better than store bought and featured an uncooked center.
Westsider's experience there was more or less in step with my own
I ate at Capri Tavola downtown before Christmas. It is a new pizza place next to Subway on Walnut between 4th and 5th (took the spot of the old Balboa's). I ordered a slice of cheese, a slice of pepperoni and wedding soup. Two other companions ordered the meatball sub and spaghetti and meatballs. The results were underwhelming at best. This was shopping mall pizza and pasta, nothing more. Maybe a step up from Balboa's, but not very far.
but then, not too long ago, a new thread
popped up touting a specific sandwich/panini there - the Arista - with the following message
In town for a Reds-Dodgers game, my husband and I stopped at Capri Tavola Calda (420 Walnut St.) on our walk to the ballpark. We asked the owner what we should order, and he recommended the Arista Panini – a daily special. This sandwich featured wonderfully seasoned roast pork topped with a slice of mozzarella and lettuce on a baguette that was soft and chewy on the inside with a delightfully crunchy crust. OMG, this was one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten! I now know how a sandwich can “melt in your mouth.” Capri Tavola Calda will be one of my mandatory stops on future trips to Cincinnati.
and then more recently, Cincinnati Bites declared in a blog entry
that this very same sandwich is "among my top 5 favorite sandwiches of all time"
Strong praise drew my curiousity, and it doesn't hurt that this place is a block and a half away from where I work.
yeah, it was lunch today The good
: this is a MUCH larger sandwich than the ones I had gotten previously, one is more than enough for most any eater. The hoagie roll it came on was of truly excellent quality, perhaps the best I have had in Cincinnati and reminiscent of some of the rolls I ran into in Philadephia a few years back. This was a tasty, juicy, satisfying sandwich. The not-so-good:
The dominant flavors were salt and dried oregano. I mean, shouldn't a pricey spot like this use fresh oregano? The taste of the pork was not in evidence til the last bites, but was good when it finally came through. Although one might think a fresh mozerella would go on a sandwich like this, thin slices of standard dry mozz were applied, and added very little to the overall sandwhich. While it is not mentioned as an ingredient, the sandwich was doused liberally with olive oil just before wrapping, and the wrapper was soaked with it when I got it back to the office. The overall:
I think this sandwich has the chance to become a real winner despite the hefty (6.99) price. Cut down on the olive oil (perhaps eliminate it all together?), go easier on the salt and oregano, use a sharper (smoked provy? sharp provy? rough grated parm? a combo thereof?) or creamier (fresh mozz anyone?) cheese, and make roasted red peppers an option.....and I think you'd have a serious contender.
I will return to get this at least once more to see if all that salt was just an abberration. it is listed as a special rather than a normal menu item, so it make take several stops to get another shot at it
I noticed two other very interesting items on the specials board - porchetta and italian beef. Also worth checking out, particularly if they both come on that excellent roll UPDATE 05/12/2010:
I stopped in for another Arista today. I asked about adding onion, and was told they'd charge 50 cents to add a vegetable.....per vegetable. Outrageous, particularly given the base price. Keeping my calm, I ordered anyway, and asked them to go easy on the olive oil this time. The bread was as good or better than the first, but the pork was even saltier this time, so much so that I went through near 24 ounces of water to get through it. Texturally, this remains an excellent sandwich, and it will certainly fill you up, but overall I will pass on it. I will go back to try the italian beef (the excellent crusty roll is definitely up to going the 'extra wet' route, if thats available as it would be in Chicago) and the peppers and parm slice. UPDATE 05/14/2010:
I had what this place calls an italian beef. The same excellent roll was used, but it all goes downhill from there. Cold beef was place don the roll as well as some cold congealed wet stuff, looke dmuch like gravey out of the refrigerator, and then some green peppers, and then this was put into an oven for about 5 minutes. The result was filling, surprisingly tasty, and very spicy hot tho lacking in the expected garlic. Good, but not 7.25 good, and definitely a cruel joke on anyone expecting (hoping for?) a real Chicago-style italian beef. UPDATE 05/20/2010:
I have since my last update had the Porchetta, which was unremarkable, and re-tried the slices. I liked them a lot better this time, but at 2.65 a plain slice, they remain too expensive for what you get. I also fond the crust to be dense/spongy rather than airy, and the crust itself is just a bit sour when eaten by itself. My favorite slice of the lot is the occasional special of roasted red and yellow papers with fresh wide shavings of parmesan - very, very good, but at over 3 bucks a slice is IMHO not a good value. That said, I admit to craving another as I type this, so I do recommend anyone in the area at least trying that particular slice once. Also - I found out today that the excellent hoagie rolls come from Gimminetti in Walnut Hills
<message edited by TJ Jackson on Thu, 05/20/10 3:05 PM>