Artisanal Pizzas And More Hit Asbury Park At Revamped “Capitoline” 

The first thing that greets you when you walk into Capitoline is the gigantic decades-old folding window that could seat 10 along its width quite comfortably.

The richness of that prominent feature promises something unique inside, and it does not disappoint. Capitoline has revamped itself with the help of talented young Asbury resident and chef, Sergio Casal.

Chef Sergio Casal

Armed with a stylish gas pizza oven, Chef Sergio creates wonderful artisanal pizzas born from homemade dough that crisps to thin perfection using a lineage of former doughs to create a stepping stone of flavor in each batch he spins.

Chef Sergio then tops his pizzas with all kinds of delicious, creative mixes of savory deliciousness. His “Mortadella Pie” is a mix of freshly shaved mortadella, pesto, Italian cheeses and pistachio, baked to perfection and a brilliant take on a “white pie”. It’s an incredible burst of flavors and gets my stamp of approval.

Chef Sergio took over as chef of Capitoline in March, giving the existing eatery a true identity rooted in an homage to all that makes Italian food great, and done so with a chef not afraid to impart his Spanish Ecuadorian flair to the mix. Chef Sergio hails from such restaurant gems as Porta and Grand Tavern.

In fact, after writing this article I ran into Chef Sergio dining at Grand Tavern, a patron to his former coworkers and friends. That’s what makes the Jersey Shore dining scene so special, it really is a food network here, filled with talented culinaries not afraid to be creative and branch out on their own, while remaining respectful and appreciative of their neighbors’ creations.

Chef Sergio brings his local culinary experiences together at Capitoline, spinning his pizzas in all directions, like the NY-style favorite “Caperoni”, made with tomato, pepperoni,  red onion, hot honey, and Italian cheeses.

Beer clams

His appetizers also do not disappoint. I tried the “Beer clams” and WOW, the flavors were off the chain with delicious bites of sausage and fennel in a scrumptious broth, and topped with an unbelievably mouth-watering slice of toasted bread, brushed hard with honey butter and fennel pollen.

It was delectable and everyone knows my palate is not easy to please. Honestly, I could’ve licked the bowl and I’ve thought about that bread at least a dozen times.

Chef Sergio credits intuition as the key to creating a great dish, like his braised beef rigatoni, seasonal Porchetta, and homemade Zeppoli’s that can be made into a decadent sundae for dessert. And Capitoline doesn’t draw its line at the food, it also provides a great ambiance with Chef Sergio’s eclectic musical playlist. Like his food, he feels his music moves through all genres and walks of life to provide a relaxing vibe, that same feeling he wants you to have when you try his dishes.

Certainly, Asbury Park is not lacking for exciting restaurants, and Capitoline has joined the ranks of them, presenting food that is new and fresh in an already thriving culinary mecca. After all, the name “Capitoline” is derived from the Roman She-Wolf, and with its powerful, memorable bites, it’s certainly living up to its name.

Capitoline is located at 639 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park – 732-455-3609

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