Optimistically Cautious

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fresh and Friendly: Da Capo Cafe

I had a quick coffee at Da Capo Caffe (8738-109 Street) over the summer, but I had always been meaning to go back to give their menu a try. An opportunity came up on Wednesday evening to do so.

While I'm still not sure that I like the design of the cafe, I understand the reasoning behind it. The dining area is essentially split in half by the substantially-sized staff/food preparation area smack in the middle of the cafe. This does allow for two lines - one for espressos and another for food, but in my opinion this division creates a lack of harmony in the seating space.

At any rate, I approached a staff member with the simple question of "What is there to eat?" He led me to a chalkboard menu on the other side of the counter, listing a dozen or so pizzas, calzones and salads in the $10-15 range. I did a quick scan of my options, and chose the Margherita ($10.50, including tax). A patron next to me in line ordered the black truffle-prosciutto-parmesan variety without hesitation, which the server noted was his own favorite, so I may have to return in the future to try a more adventurous topping combination. A note on payment - cash is the only means accepted, so like Leva, you have to be prepared.

I took a seat on one of the stools facing the windows looking out onto 109 Street (I find the rest of the space much too dim), and was immediately brought my requested glass of water. The wait was tempered by a free weekly I had picked up on the way, and half-way through the paper, my pizza arrived. The server wasn't kidding when he said the pizza was ideal for sharing - it was huge! The sauce was reminiscent of the sweet tomato base used by Famoso, nice and light, but the best part of the pizza was by far the crust. Addictively crunchy, I would have gladly consumed an entire plate of breadsticks made from the bread alone. And though it hit the spot that day, I would pick Leva's version if forced to choose.

Still, with great service and interesting menu items, I wouldn't hesitate to return to Da Capo.

Margherita Pizza

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