November 15th, 2011

Location: Campagnolo  View Google Map
Website: Click Here

I recently had friends in town from London and panicked trying to decide where to take them for dinner. They are extremely well-travelled, cosmopolitan, really enjoy good food and drink, and the best part is they are completely unpretentious. I wanted a spot where we could have a casual but tasty dinner and enjoy drinks in a fun, relaxed space. The back bar at Campagnolo fit the bill perfectly. A cozier, more manageable room than the cavernous area at the front, we managed to sneak in without much of a wait on a Saturday night. Campagnolo offers affordable and rustic Italian fare and many of their dishes make use of inexpensive ingredients like very tender seared octopus that is the base of a salad and fried chickpeas with arugula, chilis, and citrus in their ever popular Crispy Ceci. The orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage is simple but delicious. I am a huge fan of vegetables and am often disappointed by their neglectful treatment at local restaurants – here, contorni like broccoli with anchovy dressing and baked radishes are simple but tasty, family-style sides for sharing. The pizza has come a long way since Campagnolo first opened when the dough was heavy and yeasty; it’s now a light and crisp treat, balanced with the perfect ratio of sauce, cheese and toppings. After dinner we were served cordial glasses of sweet and effervescent Moscato and my guests and I left happy. You might also finish with the bartender Giovanni’s house-made ginger syrup and cranberry juice mix, a peppery and sweet non-alcoholic cocktail. (EL)

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