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10 December, 2009

Cafe Capistrano (Cary) — Restaurant Review *CLOSED*

Posted in : Dining in Cary - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez

Café Capistrano *CLOSED*
2250 Gathering Park Circle
Carpenter Village, Cary
Website
Entrees: $10-16

I’d heard good reviews from some friends who live in Cary and Morrisville about Café Capistrano and one of those friends took me out to dinner there to thank me for editing her dissertation. It’s hidden away in the Carpenter Village development, in their central square of shops and schools.   The inside is pinkish-orange with thick brown curtains, not the most appealing combination. It’s very low key from service to atmosphere to food, and reminded me of spending an evening in your family’s kitchen.

Dinner started with standard tortilla chips and salsa that tasted brightly of tomatoes, jalapeno, and lime with a touch of sugar. I ordered a side of guacamole and out came huge chunks of avocado, topped with some diced tomatoes. Cilantro, and I think garlic, was loosely mixed with the fruit. I love avocados in any form but I prefer mashed guacamole to chopped.

For my meal, I had the Santa Fe enchiladas, made with their secret mole sauce and stuffed with three cheeses and chicken.

The tortillas were almost too fresh; I think they could have been held together better somehow. The sauce was thick but not nearly as flavorful or pasty as mole usually is. I neither liked nor disliked it. I thought the same of the rice; it was very plain but fine. The shredded chicken was the best part of the dish. It tasted pure and simple.

My friend had the chimichanga with black beans and rice.

She was happy with it but did agree that her dish did not have much flavor, either.

We both decided to try their Mexican Wedding Cake (tres leches cake) for dessert.

Other than the unnecessary Reddi-Whip topping, it was great and so much better than the one I had at Cuban Revolution recently. I especially enjoyed mixing it with the berry and kiwi sauces that adorned the plate. The soaking milk was heavy on the condensed side but the sweetness didn’t weigh down my fork until the last few bites.

Café Capistrano’s menu seems to focus on a healthy style of Mexican-American cuisine that they bill as Californian. The dishes definitely adhered to that concept, though I think they sacrificed a lot of flavor in the process. I had the same opinion of Margaret’s Cantina in Chapel Hill, so perhaps this take on Mexican cuisine just isn’t for me. There was nothing to complain about but I’m still not inclined to go back. I am too much in love with spiciness.

2 stars

Reviewed 11.23.09.

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0 thoughts on : Cafe Capistrano (Cary) — Restaurant Review *CLOSED*

  • February 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Please let me begin by saying that I deeply regret that you did not thoroughly enjoy your meal at Cafe Capistrano. As the founder of both, Cafe Capistrano and Cactus Flower Cafe’s (FL) it is important to me and to us that our customers leave our establishments feeling very satisfied!

    Our price range of $10- $16 (for dinner) is accurate and for that you get food that is made freshly all day long! We do not use any pre-made products and pride ourselves in our food having MUCH flavor. What is does not have standard, is heat..spicy heat. We ask our customers to request HOT if that is there preference. We have wonderfully fresh ingredients that can make any meal very “kicky”…we do however, use a lot of garlic, onions, cilantro, lime, cumin, cayenne and other spices for FLAVOR.

    I do not wish to change your mind, but would like to clarify, our food is not BLAND, it simply does not rely on “Spicy heat” for all its flavor. Tex Mex is, on the other hand, heavier & spicier. We do not pretend to be Tex Mex.

    California style Mexican food is by its nature, less heat spicy, but every bit as flavorful..and again, we can always kick it up, as we do for many, many of our customers! We make our food fresh to order..so order it however you like! Mild, medium or hot! Its all about YOU! Desfrute!

  • February 10, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Thanks for stopping by, Lee! Owners’ comments are always welcome. That’s good to know that more heat can be requested if a patron wants it. I honestly had no idea and might have missed that in the menu fine print. I definitely agree that your focus was on lighter food, which is a nice change from what you find at Tex-Mex spots (I like Tex-Mex, traditional Mexican, and experimental Mexican each on their own merits), but was a bit bland for my personal taste, with or without heat. If I was cooking it, I’d have probably doubled the herbs and spices but obviously, we don’t all cook alike! I have plenty of friends who can’t at all handle the level of heat that I can. It’s all my years growing up in California with jalapenos on everything (Mmm, California burgers with jalapenos and guacamole!). If I make it back to Cafe Capistrano, I’ll be sure to order my dish hot!

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