Campo Italian Bistro & Bar

Reviewed By: Leslie & Andy
Before we left town for a month in June, we watched closely as two new restaurants were on the verge of opening in our neighborhood.  By the time we returned, both restaurants were up and running much to our delight.  Being our cousin and neighbor, Laura's, birthday it was time to try out Campo Italian Bistro & Bar.  Let's find out if we have yummy authentic Italian food within walking distance of our house.

Ambience:  Upon entering Campo you are struck with the homey stylish bistro feeling of the decor.  There's patina copper, wood, paper, and other organic materials decorating the bar and restaurant area.  The tables are mostly bistro high tops which lends to a sort of hip farmhouse feel.  However, most of the chairs are backless stools, so your posture and core muscles, not to mention your balance, are tested a little through dinner.  I don't mind, but for someone who had a few glasses of wine or a bad back it may be a problem.  We did note the overall volume of the restaurant is high.  So conversations for those with soft voices may be a challenge.  

Quality:  The entire table seemed very happy with their meals.  I had the Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe which I thought was great.  I liked the use of pink peppercorns rather than black peppercorns in the dish as they added a nice floral flavor rather than the harshness of the black peppercorns.  Andy had the lasagna and though he liked it, he noted it was a tad under seasoned.  I think he was just being nice as lasagna is a Specialty of Leslie's Kitchen--he didn't want to get a charlie horse to the arm.  No lasagna is as good as Leslie's Lasagna... *wink*.  We shared the Mozzarella Salad which is one of my favorite classic Italian salads.  Though the salad was presented beautifully, the heirloom tomatoes were delicious--cold and fresh--the salad was severely lacking in basil.  Now, this may not have been a Caprese Salad, per se, hence why it was called a Mozzarella Salad, but classically I expect basil with my tomatoes and mozzarella in a salad.  Other dishes at the table were the Italian Chop Salad, Cheese Board, Creste (pasta with sausage in a creamy sauce), Chicken Al Matone (marinated chicken served with gnocchi), and the Crispy Salmon served with Tuscan beans, roasted peppers, kale, and tomato butter (Laura noted her salmon was perfectly cooked and delicious.). Follow-up 7/2/2022 - We have now been back multiple times are are finding many of the dishes a bit bland or cooked incorrectly. We had to knock down the quality points, sorry Campo.

Service:  Our server was very attentive. She mentioned she was fairly new and this was her side gig, by day she is an accountant.  We could tell she was training, but she was about 95% there as far as training goes. She did a lovely job. We were happy with her.  I would have liked to see some more bussers around, ready to clear dishes, but our server was pretty on top of keeping glasses full and dishes cleared. Note, there was very little food auctioning.  It's a huge pet peeve of mine to have a conversation interrupted with "WHO HAD THE CHICKEN?!?"  But I digress.  The food auctioning didn't happen at Campo and they get kudos for that.

Value:  From what I've read regarding Campo, the restaurant is owned/operated by Alex Stratta, a James Beard award winning, two Michelin star having chef who also appeared on Iron Chef America.  If you've seen Iron Chef America that alone is a feat, but to actually posses two Michelin Stars and a James Beard Award, well, that's pretty amazing skill. The menu prices were pretty fair, some items seemed a little high, others seemed just right.  There is a limited wine list, but it has pretty good choices.  Everything seems priced in a way that you can tailor your bill to your budget. I actually would have expected higher pricing considering the accolades of the chef, but I'm happy to see he is trying to keep his menu accessible.  

Overall, we all left pretty happy with our meals. When Andy and I summed up our feelings about Campo we thought it was good. Not amazing, not awful. It's a great place to have a small gathering, there were several tables of ladies or birthday gatherings, including our own. I would say Campo is the perfect place for a ladies night or happy hour, but it might not be quite what you're looking for on a romantic date. We will definitely be walking to Campo when we are hoping for a glass of wine and a nice Charcuterie board.