Road Trip—Capri Sogno

November 2014 View more


In a world where people of otherwise sound mind willingly pile their kids, and a great deal of their stuff, into the family vehicle and drive to far-flung locales like Colorado and Florida, a trip down to Plainfield hardly seems like the stuff of a National Geographic adventure. 

After all, despite the curious geography that can, from some parts of town, make it seem like an entire world away, Plainfield is, in fact, Naperville’s next-door neighbor to the south—even if some North Siders might need to pack a lunch for the journey. Nevertheless, anyone who has experienced the particular brand of joy that is a commute on Route 59 might think twice about saddling up for the ride, even with the enticement of a nice little Italian restaurant at the end of the line. 

Downtown Draw

Capri Sogno-022_800pxBut if ever there were a plausible argument for adding another pasta push pin to one’s local culinary map, Capri Sogno is it. Situated on a quiet corner of Plainfield’s idyllic and mostly organic main downtown drag, this is an attractive and unassuming little spot that, judging by the news of hour-plus waits emanating from the hostess stand on our Friday night visit, has caught on in a big way in this little burgh. 

Part of the demand undoubtedly comes from a lack of supply, as the restaurant’s cozy vibe is very much a product of its modest scale. The dark, compact space features a mere eight to 10 tables on the main floor—including one curtained, semi-private confessional-style booth—and another dozen or so upstairs. A small but handsome bar handled a constant overflow of reservation-less diners on this night, with almost every stool occupied by someone enjoying a full meal, as opposed to merely a drink. We managed to snare a table near the window looking out onto a rainy Lockport Street, with a constant stream of prospective diners coming and going. 

I Dream of Linguini

Capri Sogno-045_800pxThe diminutive island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Western coast of Italy (near the high ankle of the boot) inspires not only Capri Sogno’s name, but apparently its appetizer slate as well, where a majority of the dozen or so small plates incorporate treasures of the deep such as calamari, clams, and mussels. However, we opted for the pepe rosso rapieni—an intriguing take on the tried-and-true caprese concept that features the expected fresh mozzarella with basil and balsamic vinaigrette, but swaps out the traditional tomatoes for roasted red peppers, to delicious effect. 

From there we attempted to narrow down our entrée choices from among a wide array of seafood, veal, chicken and pasta selections, eventually settling on rigatoni in a creamy vodka sauce and linguini with shrimp and broccoli in garlic and olive oil. In both instances, the quality of the homemade noodles really stood out, helping to elevate what could have been fairly predictable standards to another level entirely. Although, the flavorful sauces more than held up their end of the bargain as well.

Capri Sogno-059_800pxDespite spoon-twirling enough linguini to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, I had only conquered about half of my meal by the time fullness started to creep in. So despite wanting to push forward, we wisely stopped there and ordered a couple of carryout containers—not to mention a big slice of chocolate cake and a couple of scoops of the salted caramel gelato to share. 

Considering what had come before it, dessert may have not been the most prudent choice from a caloric standpoint, but we were just visiting from out of town and it seemed like a good vacation splurge. Dietary responsibility could wait until we got back home. 

Capri Sogno
24102 W. Lockport St. Plainfield

Photos by Greg Shapps