Beat Eats: Melbourne’s newest American-Italian food baby

So let’s chat about Capitano, Melbourne’s newest American-Italian food baby doing exceptionally well. 

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Most would agree, Italian food is the most orthodox of cuisines. You don’t often see staples being sliced and diced into fusions and contemporary creations; somehow it seems disrespectful to do so. Take Massimo Bottura for instance, the first chef to challenge Nonna’s delicacies with his restaurant Osteria Francescana. The chef brewed quite a storm with his take on the classic lasagne – diners solely being presented with the final, crispy layer of the dish. With that being said, the one and only well-received branch of the cuisine is ‘American-Italian’, shaped throughout history when Italians hit American shores. The cuisine doesn’t show many shades of difference from the traditional, yet you can certainly recognise a heavier element with more sauce, more cheese, and plenty more meat. The new Capitano in Rathdowne Street, Carlton, is one of Melbourne’s first American-Italian eateries exemplifing just that.
Try their ‘Double Roni’ pizza with double pepperoni, fresh and aged mozzarella, pecorino cheese and tomato. For the vegetarians or those after a lighter option, their ‘Broad Bean Shoot’ pizza of fresh and aged mozzarella, provolone cheese, garlic, cream and pecorino is perfect. The ‘Asparagus’ pizza works with ricotta cream, mozzarella and capers, and if you’ve not tried a deep-dish pizza before, forget everything I’ve just mentioned and order the ‘Tomato Pie’ immediately. Referred to as a pie as the dough dips just like one, this pizza is full of rich tomato sauce, garlic and marjoram. Sicilian anchovies are an extra option for a salty finish.
For pasta, their ‘Chittara’ [thin spaghetti] uses clam sauce, as their ‘Vesuvio’ [curly pasta] works with a vodka sauce. The ‘Casarecce’ [twisty pasta] would be the heartiest option working with pancetta, cavolo nero and pecorino cheese. A veal parmigiana is on offer, as well as meatballs, and porterhouse ‘Pizzaiola’, which is my favourite story to share. ‘Pizzaiola’, traditional to the pizza makers wife, is a dish that works with any type of meat in a tomato base. The wife would buy some meat from the butcher, and use ingredients from the pizza shop — olives, anchovies, and always oregano — to cook the dish together. Oh, and Tiramisu should always complete your evening.