Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Capo's Italian Steakhouse

Vegas... I'm still only in Vegas...  I'm gonna be here a week ... waiting for a mission... getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger. Each time I look around the walls move in a little tighter. My apologies to John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola, but that's what it feels like when you stay in LasVegas for a week. It's too long man. you lose your inner compass, your verve for life. It deadens you and weakens you. you become one of the walking dead, never venturing outside during the day. Breathing fake air through vents in buildings called casinos that have been lightly scented with vanilla to keep the masses happy and content. Stepford wives Hell! this is Stepford wives meets Westworld,where everyone on the strip is in on the game except the zombies who roam through it on "vacations".
Staying at the Paris Hotel in a room where you couldn't tell it from the Clarion up the street. most Vegas hotels are like this. no frills. The object is to get you out of the room to roam with the zombies and drop your coin into the vats of Vegas. Although I have been known to don a 007 dinner jacket and head to the craps tables, I'm not a gambler. Life is a gamble enough for me, Hell, just driving here is a gamble. 6 1/2 hours it took this time. My God, I have made this trip more times than I care to remember on wheels. This time I drove straight through, not stopping at Peggy Sue's or Mad Greek's, No Alien Jerky for me this trip. I wanted to get there fast and get out quicker.
There was an Avon convention at the Hotel as well. Nothing like seeing overly made up Avon ladies with one to many cosmopolitans in them, cruising through the jungle looking for prey. It was quite a sight to see every night. the continual parade of drunken cougars in there finest Avon make up looking for 20 somethings and their male counter parts, "Manthers" looking for the same. never noticing each other. For me. I'm content on my bar stool with my favorite bar tender "Big D", sipping my double Crown Royal with a twist and watching the game play out before me. This is life. Like watching ants parade in front of you.
Hunger set in hard as we had worked all day long for 12 hours straight. An associate suggested we go to Bally's Steakhouse. it was close by, So off we went. I had never been to this place before, but can assure you I won't be back. was in the mood for a nice cut of Prime rib. You know that wonder of the buffet line. the cut of meat that has been downgraded to $4.99 specials at low brow casino billboards all over Vegas. I wanted to see what "fine dinning" / "Steakhouse" could do with it. This is a great cut of meat. a roasted whole rib eye. It was absolutely horrid. I actually felt that the animal was so defiled by this I could have become a vegan on the spot. $36.00 for it a la Carte and it was tougher than Rosie O'Donnell in a fight with Oprah Winfrey over a canned ham. The service atrocious.
Next evening after another long day we decided to go to one of my favorite steakhouses in Vegas. Mon Ami Gabi, which of course is in the Paris Hotel. they have the best aged rib eye steak I have had in the area. When the Europeans come to the US. they all order the beef. In Europe they don't "age" beef as we do. It's OK in Europe. But US beef is still king. aging breaks down the fibers and makes the flesh turn to butter. truly worth the price. But not this time. I was shocked that my beloved dry aged rib eye that I order every time was of the same quality as the prime rib at Bally's! Tough, tough tough and I ordered it rare. Not black and blue, but rare.Oh the humanity. Too tired to complain, Hell it would have taken another 45 minutes at least for a replacement to arrive. I opted instead to focus on the Escargot. Now these are perfect, succulent little garden pests swimming in a sea of garlic, parsley and olive oil. slathered on a piece of bread. oh my, these go down quicker than a Clinton intern.
Which leads us to Capo's Italian Steakhouse. Tired of the fare on the strip and looking for something else, maybe even a place that was worth the money. I don't mind paying top dollar, but I want more to my meal than a busting out everywhere server.
Located a few miles off the strip in a rather nondescript shopping mall is the Capo's. It doesn't look like anything special at all from the outside.
Opened in 2004 by two brothers, Dominic and Nico Santucci. Who moved the families eatery that had been established since1964, from Chicago to Las Vegas.Serving Southern Italian food and themed after a 1920's "speak easy". OK I wanted out of Vegas and was tired of the themes. and here I was in a world  that looked like it was put together by Disney imagineer's. It worked though. definitely Vegas over the top. They say that things are bigger in Texas? Pffft. No way. maybe pork and beer bellies. but Vegas is king of over the top huge! You enter the place via the front door, which really isn't the door. you walk inside and have to knock. and from behind you slides a door where the "guy" looks you over and asks what you want.

Your eyes are not prepared upon entering. it's dark. I mean really dark. no lights. candles on tables light the way. the bar has a slight back light to it. You literally have to be guided and told where steps are. Like Frau Blucher guiding Doctor Frankenstein up the star well from Young Frankenstein.
We are sat and left in the dark. just the candle light glowing dimly in front of us I can't see my dinner companions faces. I can make their figures out in the dark but that's it.
After being in the light all week. I find the darkness soothing, comforting maybe. I don't have to smile and play Vanna White. It hides me and I can breath for the first time in a week.
 Your eyes start to adjust as the waitress approaches, She's genuine, real. Not like the zombie wranglers that work the strip.  

She handed us the menus and we grabbed for them fumbling and grasping for them in the dark. The menu's had miniature flashlights attached to them. It was the only way to read them other than if they were printed in Braile.
Classic Italian food. more upscale than the normal red and white checkered tablecloth places. Themed menu, yes. But quality stuff. I had the Makers Mark 100% certified Angus Beef with whiskey peppercorn sauce. Not really a sauce on steak guy. but wanted to try it out. It was good. My God, after a week in the jungle I found a good steak at last. It had to much sauce on it for me. I just pushed most off. but the beef had flavor to it. creamy and buttery. melted in your mouth. for $36.00 it was worth it. I had to use a quick flash to snap a picture of it. The flash lit up the place like someone threw a shock grenade through the front door. no one could see for at least 15 seconds.

Soon as our dinner had arrived, so did the stereotypical crooner. He started to belt out really classic Sinatra tunes that no one hears anymore. his voice circled the room in a low pitch adding to the place and not taking away from the experience. He wasn't the show. he was the ambient music and it worked. When you dine in the dark your senses are heightened. your smell, your hearing. I felt rather fine doing so. I was able to relax and felt free and ready to tackle the rest of the week.

Capo's Italian Steakhouse
5675 W. Sahara Ave
Las Vegas, NV 





Anonymous said...

I love that restaurant too....
Your review was cool and accurate.
Capos has become our favorite new Las Vegas hang.

Cool writing!!

Michael said...

Hello, and thanks for stopping by. I love this place.

caninecologne said...

hi michael - what an interesting experience, having to eat in the dark...

that place seems pretty cool, especially how you described entering the place and there was a window in the door where someone gives you the once over.

again, an enjoyable post!

Michael said...

hi cc,

Thanks for cruising my vegas post.
It was so odd at first to dine in virtual darkness. but it really works your senses and I actually felt very comfortable after awhile.


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