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Jan 11, 2008 12:52 PM

Tigelleria Ristorante Chowdown Report, Campbell, Thursday 1/10

Good Afternoon!
Group of nine met last night for Modena style chowdown. Menu & wine, below, with cost at the end. Menu listing is the restaurant's description, any misspellings are mine.
I'll save my personal and editorial comments for the thread.

Tigelle is a type of small flat bread typically served w/ cheeses, meats and other relishes.

Salumi Palette (original), $18: prosciutto di Parma, toasted ham, coppa, spek and salami, served w/ a small side of crescenza (creamy slightly sour cheese).

Grilled Vegetables Pallette, $18: A selection of marinated and grilled seasonal organic vegetables, all served w/ organic hummus, sun-dried tomato spread and olive tapenade.

Paddus River, $14: Coppa Piacentin (cured ham), pancetta arrototlata (aromatic ham) prosciutto di Parma, pecorino (sheeps milk cheese), Romano, Gorgonzola.

Etruscan, $14: Porchetta (aromatic ham, finocchoilona (fennel salami), salamino carriatore (hunters salami), pecorino (sheeps milk cheese), Roamno Toscano.

A la Carte orders:
Coppa (1 order), $4
Parmesan (2 orders), $3
Nutella, $2

Dessert (I believe, all made in-house):
Tiramisu, $7: Lady finger cookies dipped in Italian espresso coffee and Marsala wine, topped w/ Marscarpone cheese and dusted w/ dark chocolate.

Sweet Chocolate Salami, $6: little known Italian delicacy, homemade w/ organic chocolate powder, dry cookie crumbs, organic butter and organic sugar.

Meringue Cake, $7: delicious meringue crumbs dinner in organic zabaglione and topped w/ organic whipping cream.

Fruit Salad, 46: organic seasonal fruits finely chopped and steeped in organic orange juice. Topped w/ walnuts and cherries.

Veneto, La Cappuccina Soave DOC (white) $22 per bottle
Emilia Romanga, Vivante, Lambrusco (sparkling red) $12 per bottle

Nine people total, total bill including wine, with tip: $225, $25pp.

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  1. It was a very interesting introduction to a new regional variation on the bread, meat and cheese theme. Who knew what a tigelle was? Turns out it's sort of a mini pita about three inches in diameter, but served piping hot from the tigelle maker (the owner brought out a classic cast iron one, and we later went back into the kitchen and checked their array of electric ones).

    I think my favorite accompaniments were the speck (Italian cured bacon), what I thought was the "regular" coppa, and the surprisingly smokey hummus. The cheeses were also excellent -- a plate of chunked parmesan with 25-year-old balsamic vinegar drizzled over it parked itself by my elbow, and I kept reaching for another piece. The 80-year-old balsamic vinegar they carefully drizzled over another cheese was fantastic. Of the desserts, I also thought the meringue cake (definitely made in house) was the standout.

    I enjoyed all the food -- all the ingredients are all very high quality. But somehow it didn't feel like a meal to me -- more like snacking -- so in that sense it wasn't very satisfying. It would have been nice to try a hot dish or two (especially since I had spent the day hiking out in the cold and damp!). It's a lovely, relaxing space, and hhc would approve of the bathrooms.

    Finally, as usual, while we were eating, we were talking about food -- here's the link to the recipe for milk-braised pork loin I was talking about:

    It's discussed at length in this thread:

    1. Ok...sorry for the delay but based on the lack of posting, I can only guess others felt the same: ok, not great. Some of which could have been to new resturant and working out the kinks. But ultimatly, seemed like a better place to drop in for an appetizer and a glass of wine before moving on to dinner...
      Overall, good/ fine/ different but not great or exciting. Felt more like appetizers or a tapas bar. While bread was fantastic, and made to order, the kitchen had trouble keeping up on getting the bread out to our table of nine...couple other tables but resturant was not full; I wonder how they'll keep up on a busy Friday or Saturday night? Same issue w/ the wine, pacing was off. We actually ordered three bottles but never got the third from the bar.
      The plates of, well, not food so much as chaurterie and cheese were wonderful and varied. My favorites were the hunters salami, coppa, Gorgonzola and percino. The coppa had a wonderful clove taste/ fragrance.
      Wine was interesting and since I'm not familiar w/ Italian wines, it was great to try something different.
      I'd go again with a better perspective and expectation, ie, app's and wine not dinner.
      Looking forward to reading other perspectives.

      1. link

        Tigelleria Ristorante
        76 East Campbell Avenue, Campbell, CA 95009

        1. Erin, thanks for kicking this off, and to rworange for finding the Places record I set up. Sorry for my late reply, got my photos together finally.

          Slideshow (click on "i" or the lower edge of photos for captions) -

          And, a bigger thanks to Arrigo "dudesinmexico", one of Modena's finest, for tracking down this spot and inviting us to check it out with him. It made the evening feel even more like being in Italy. Even more special was his "show and tell" of his handmade tigelle stones and sharing some of his private stash of balsamic vinegar (see slideshow).

          Until Ruth mentioned it, I didn't notice the lack of hot food, having nearly burned my fingers trying to split one of the little breads. But yes, it is more akin to the light evening meal of coldcuts, cheese and bread in Germanic cultures that what we consider "dinner" here at home. But that was partly by design, as we skipped the soups, salads, and pastas also offered on the menu in favor of trying more platters with the tigelle.

          There were some identity issues, so I'm not sure I can say which of the meats I liked best with certainty. For example, which was the speck and which was the pancetta arrotolata? Or the case of the two coppas. But I certainly liked enough of them to order with abandon again. One I am certain of is the salame cacciatore, which was well aged, dry, and intensely flavorful. I also thought the gorgonzola dolce was in its prime. Don't know which brand, but they buy it from SSF's Italfoods.

          I liked all the desserts, especially the meringue cake. I would have liked it even more if it hadn't been dusted with cocoa powder, which would have made it more distinct from the tiramisu. I've had commercially made imported chocolate salami before, and the housemade stuff here was much better. I'm liking all those little crumbs in things. The menu description implies that nutella is part of the palettes along with "bottomless" tigelle, so we might have been shorted a bit when we didn't have enough to go around.

          The wine list has about 50 selections, mostly from Italy with a sprinkling of Californians. Almost half of them are available by the glass. The list doesn't show vintages, so I cant' say what year for the La Cappuccina Soave, but it was very good. We tried the entry level one, there's also a Garganega-only cuvee from the same producer for more money. The "Vivante" lambrusco is a dry one from Riunite. It normally retails for about $10-12, so putting it on the list for $12 is quite a deal, if you like it. Maybe they're trying to teach their customers to drink lambrusco, which is generally considered a match made in heaven with Italian cured pork products. I'm hoping that there will be other (better) lambruscos available when I visit next (and will notify my friend who imports a very good one to get over there). I was very happy to see the Mikasa stemware here.

          No one has mentioned the Fellini films yet projected on the wall by the bar. Yes, I took a snapshot of that, as well as the ladies room (see slideshow). Lastly, it was enlightening to go into the kitchen at night's end (we shut down the place at 10:30pm) to see the electric presses. There are three, which can make six flatbreads at a time, so it's easy to see why it was hard to keep our table supplied. Something will need to be done about speeding that up, or reinstating the old-fashioned iron, when this place gets busy. I do hope that they'll continue to fire them to order and not make them ahead of time.

          More about this Modena specialty (in Italian) -

          Tigelleria Ristorante
          76 East Campbell Avenue, Campbell, CA 95009

          1. Last April I read a blurb on the San Jose Mercury new about Tigelleria, a soon to be opened italian restaurant in downtown Campbell, serving crescentine, a bread obscure to most people, even Italian!. As a native of Modena, where I have been eating crescentine since I was a kid, I was surprised, to say the least. Since then, I have been checking regularly on the status of this project, and when I found that the restaurant was open I knew that it was time to organize a chowdown. First, let's get this straight: the breads are called crescentine, not tigelle: the tigella is the terracotta tile used to bake the breads. People still get this wrong even in Modena! Tigelleria's owners are a nice italian couple of former silicon valley techies who wanted to go for a career change. They went to great lengths to explain all the hurdles that they had to go over to tune the recipe and showed us around the kitchen.

            Considering that they have been open for a couple of months now I think that the crescentine recipe is a good start, even though I like them firmer and thicker. The salumi and cheese plates were excellent as others have said. I was also expecting to find a bowl of "aglione", the typical condiment served with crescentine in Modena: lardo marinated with garlic, rosemarin salt and ground prosciutto. The owner told me that they might introduce it at some point, but are not sure if their customers would like it... I liked the homemade tiramisu a lot, in fact I tried to get the recipe!!

            I was expecting to find more wines from Emilia Romagna, and I was not impressed by the Vivante.

            All in all, I'll defintely be back to see how the menu evolve and to try the pastas.