We love new restaurants. I mean, we love finding new (or even just new-to-us) restaurants. Sometimes they aren’t very good and we don’t ever go back, but sometimes they’re surprisingly tasty and we try to fit them into our rotation when we can. If we discover we haven’t visited one in a while, it’s probably because the restaurant was more on the pricey side. It’s hard to find good cheap eats close to home.
We recently tried the new Hawaiian place on Poway Road, by CVS and Big Lots, and we were sadly disappointed. The short ribs had hardly any meat, the macaroni salad was weak, and the bbq beef was thin and underflavored. The kahlua pork was okay and the bbq chicken was moist and tender, but it was all very blah. The spam musubi was just a failure. Too much rice (that was too dry), too tough nori, and the spam was very thin and almost crunchy.
Another “new” restaurant we’ve had an eye on is Capri Blu. We got a flyer in the mail months and months ago, but then the coupons expired and we filled our dining-out nights elsewhere. Then, in a moment of serendipity, T mentioned that we should start marking down new restaurants on our calendar, almost scheduling them so we would make a point to actually eat there. And then another Capri Blu coupon came in the Clipper magazine. So we went.
Capri Blu is in 4S Ranch, a new community that’s not quite Rancho Bernardo, not quite Carmel Valley, but somewhere in between. We saw it when we took our Barbeques Galore “cooking” class, which also reminded us that we had wanted to eat there. I’d describe it as a contemporary Italian place. It’s not as simple as Filippi’s, nor as mainstream as Macaroni Grill, but it’s not as old-school as The Godfather. The appetizer list includes dishes like ahi, stuffed eggplant, carpaccio, and calamari. They have salumi and cheese platters with reasonable prices, although I don’t know how the portions are. Pasta dishes are $14-16 and entrees hover around $20. It’s not a cheap place, but it’s not too expensive either. Sundays and Mondays are half-price wine nights, which makes their wine list extremely reasonable.
We ended up with the ravioli of the day (in the best pesto cream sauce I’ve ever had) , orechiette with sweet sausage, and a split spinach salad. It was all really good. The dishes were flavored simply and looked like something you could easily throw together at home, but it was all done very well. We also enjoyed a creamy panna cotta for dessert, one of my new favorite desserts.
We signed up for their VIP card, which tracks how much you spend and then you get $15 off once you spend $100 total. I don’t know how often we’ll go back, but it’s a good option to have that’s fairly close by. Of course, Domenic’s is even closer, but they have a more traditional menu. I guess it all depends on what kind of Italian-food mood we’re in on a Sunday night.