The Italian sub, laden with provolone, cold cuts such as Genoa salami and mortadella, shredded lettuce, tomato, hot peppers, and vinaigrette, is a wonderful thing—if you live in New York City or Providence or any other city with a thriving Italian-American community. In Washington, you have to work a little harder to find one. If you do, it might contain trespassers like mayo or roasted red peppers. I’ll routinely drive a half hour to get my fix at the Italian Store in Arlington. It’s good, but not north-of-the–Jersey Turnpike good.
With the opening of Capo Delicatessen, Italian-sub fans have an even better option. The snug takeout, a few blocks from the 9:30 Club and Howard University, nails the sandwich (which, depending on where you’re from, you might call a hoagie or a grinder).
The secret isn’t the Boar’s Head meats—you can find those in many a grocery store or deli—but the way they’re sliced, or more accurately, shaved, to order. It takes time, but these paper-thin helpings of zesty cold cuts add up to a luscious and cohesive creation. The ingredients don’t slide out when you take a bite. There’s no funny business when it comes to toppings, either.