I’ve always prided myself on my piccata. “Why order it in a restaurant, then?” you ask. It’s one of my favorite dishes, and as you might guess, I’m at restaurants more than I’m home.
Finding a piccata that hit the right notes, however, has been more of a chore than I expected. I’ve eaten some pretty wan examples in the past year. But I can forget about those disappointments. I’ve found a pitch-perfect iteration in Lansdowne. Naples native Tony Illiano opened Il Cappero at the end of 2019, just before the pandemic hit. Its name means “the caper,” and his application of the flower buds is spot-on.
But that’s not the only thing Illiano and his team get right on the dish. The saline capers balance amiably with lemon–just enough to rouse the palate, without reminding you of a Warheads candy. The sauce is robust with garlic and white wine, but not excessively buttery. He lets the stronger flavors sing.
The chicken is smashed thin, but not so skinny that it disappears. That’s a trick, but not as skillful as his next one, serving up some of the most ideally al dente spaghetti I’ve eaten in a restaurant. The sauce coats the firm noodles so heartily, I would have been happy eating that alone.
My party also tried the chicken and broccoli Alfredo. I was a bit disappointed that it was the American, cream-based recipe, not the original Roman one which uses no cream. But no matter, it is a stunner in its category, too. The meat and veggies are sautéed in garlic before being added to the noodles and sauce, far from the afterthought that they often are. In fact, from warm service to the bread that emerges straight from the oven, nothing here is an afterthought. And I now have a new source for my piccata fix.
19307 Promenade Dr., Leesburg
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