Wednesday, August 17, 2011
1355 Clairmont Rd. Decatur, GA www.capozzisdecatur.com
So you've probably noticed I've been spending a lot of time eating in Decatur lately. Well, that's because Decatur has lots of good restaurants. Capozzi's is no exception. It's located in a nondescript shopping center near the intersection of Clairmont and N. Decatur roads, along with Thai, Greek and Indian restaurants.
While the outside might be boring, you'll be more impressed with the interior. Once inside, you'll be greeted by a smiling host, who will take you past a singing piano man (Asian, and can sing just like Tony Bennett) to a nice booth. The walls are brick and the chandeliers are varied - nice, but a little eccentric and definitely not intimidating.
Torn between the pasta with clam sauce (your choice of red or white) and the basil pine nut pesto, I took our very friendly and solicitous waiter's suggestion and got the pesto ($14 for a full plate, although the lunch portion is cheaper and will allow room for dessert). It was great - a bright green, truly basil pesto with lots of salty Parmesan and plenty of pine nuts. I had this with penne, and was very happy with my choice. If I have a complaint here, it's that I was actually served too much sauce - so much I couldn't determine the quality of the pasta. That being said, it's not the worst of problems.
The menu includes all the usual Italian-American suspects - those dishes like veal parmegiana and manicotta that I never consider when dining out. However, Capozzi's also has a few potential winners: homemade focaccia, eggplant napoleon (an appetizer with grilled portabello mushrooms, marinated tomato and goat cheese), saltimbocco, and a forte sauce for pasta that includes fresh mushrooms and onions with a "dab of jalapeno puree". Nothing on the menu will scare your kids or anything, but there are options for those who are tired of plain ole' spaghetti with meatballs.
And the desserts! I haven't gotten this excited about a dessert menu in quite a while. The night we were there we had our choice of chocolate chips filled mini cannollis, cheesecake, limoncello cheesecake, chocolate layer cake, coconut cake, chocolate coconut cake (like a big Mounds bar), tiramisu and gelato. What doesn't sound good here?My brother had the cannollis, which I liked but I thought were short on chocolate chips (the best cannollis I've had yet in Atlanta are the ones at Mulberry Street Pizza in Marietta), and I selected the limoncello cheesecake. This was awesome, and I'm not even a cheesecake lover. The limoncello was best detected within the graham cracker crust - I think it must have soaked through - and was excellent, a tart contrast to the sweet, creamy cheesecake. The desserts alone are reason to come back to Capozzi's.
Our service was great from the time we entered the restaurant to the time the pianist waved good-bye and thanked us for coming in, despite the fact that the restaurant was consistently busy. (Note for L.S. - they were all men, so I doubt you're concerned in this case about their level of attractiveness).
Capozzi's isn't as quite as good as the chain Maggiano's, but better than previously reviewed Nino's Italian Kitchen and far above Bambinelli's near Northlake Mall.
Verdict: The best moderately priced Italian food I've had in the past couple of years.