Caroline Jones

The Sandwich: Italian Beef

Where: Capo Italian Deli, 715 Florida Ave. NW.

Price: $8.95 for a small, $11.95 for a large

Stuffings: Shaved, home-cooked roast beef, marinara sauce, fresh garlic, onions, romano cheese, melted mozzarella

Bread: Seeded Italian loaf

Thickness: 3 inches

Pros: Because Capo doesn’t have a seating area, all sandwiches are served to-go style. They’ve mastered wrapping sandwiches with minimal mess and this hot sandwich stayed warm even after a 30-minute bus ride. The seeded loaf adds a pleasant nuttiness that complements the marinara sauce.

Cons: This sandwich can hardly be called an Italian beef. Traditional versions of the Chicago-born offering include thin slices of roast beef topped with jus and giardiniera or roasted sweet peppers. This one dumps the tangy vegetables for raw garlic and replaces the savory jus with a cloyingly sweet marinara sauce. The beef has no flavor whatsoever and the sandwich is packed so tightly, it’s hard to take a bite.

Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 2. You might expect a sandwich slathered in marinara sauce and melted cheese to drip all over your hands, but in this situation, the sauce is so thick it stays in the confines of the bread. The mess is minimal. So is the taste.

Overall score (1 to 5): 1.5. Selling sandwiches near the U Street Corridor is a good idea, but Capo has room for improvement. The combination of flavorless fillings and a seat-free storefront make it a place to skip, not to seek out.