Walking into Capo’s is like walking into a movie about Chicago’s old mob days: art deco bar, tin ceiling, a dining room lined with red booths so shiny and plush it’s hard to not start referring to one’s dining companions as “associates.” Dinner begins with a complimentary bowl of pasta e fagiole. Pizza whiz Tony Gemignani’s retro menu offers a range of pies (including Chicago-style versions) named after mob bosses, and his classic red sauce-joint standards like linguine with clams and veal scaloppine breathe new life into traditional dishes. On the drinks side, bar manager Elmer Mejicanos focuses on whiskey and Prohibition-era drinks that were popular in the Windy City in the 1930s. The Chicago Cocktail, which blends brandy with sparkling wine, is a fine place to start. But Mejicanos’s original creations are just as successful. Exhibit A: the herbal, fragrant Wise Guy made with rye whiskey, house-made orange marmalade and fresh oregano. It’s a drink worthy of big shots.
641 Vallejo (at Stockton), San Francisco, California
This story appears in the print issue of October 2013.
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