Campo: Nice new Italian restaurant in Reno.
- SteveTimko Nov 21, 2011 09:56 PM
Campo is a new upscale Italian restaurant that opened in downtown Reno across Sierra Street from the theater. You enter from a door facing the Truckee River.
It’s a tad on the expensive side but the quality is good. It’s not a place where I can afford to eat regularly.
Reading the web site I see that they make their own cured meats, or salumi. So I definitely had to try that. They also make their own olives so that was another must. I had trouble deciding between the pizza and the pasta but I decided to try the pizza.
The salumi and the olives were both excellent. The best cured meats I’ve had were in Vancouver and Montreal. The Seattle-based Salumi Cured Meats is also very good. The cured meats at Campo isn’t up to those levels, but they’re quite good and I’ll definitely get them the again. My favorite was the salami. There was one that some kind of poultry – I think chicken but maybe turkey – that wasn’t that interesting. They also give you a taste of the pig in the pot, which is some kind of pork dish. It was also good. The olives were quite tasty.
The flatbread pizza was good, but not distinctive. The crust was nice. Good flavors and properly cooked. I wanted more sauce, cheese and toppings. The meat in the toppings seemed a little salty, too.
They make their own gelato, too. I got three small scoops of pistachio, chocolate and vanilla. The vanilla was bland. The other two weren’t especially good. Maybe I’m spoiled by the gelato at Bijou’s. The gelato is the only thing I tried I wouldn’t get again.
There’s good news and bad news with the wine. The good news is that they have one of the better wine lists I’ve seen in Reno. They have good selections by the glass, too. The wine selection has a strong Italy influence. The bad news is that if you order wine by the glass or a bottle off the standard menu, they serve the wine in a tumbler, the same as your water glass. You only get a wine glass if you order something off the reserve wine list. When I asked about it the waiter offered to get a wine glass. I don’t think this is going to go well with the wine geeks. If they spend $60 for a Giacosa arneis I think they’re going to want a delicate glass with stems, not a tumbler. I’m not one of those people who feel my Romanee-Conti Montrachet was ruined because I drank it from a Reidel Chianti glass instead of a Reidel Vinum Montrachet glass. I like a bowl in the glass to help get the aromas of the wine, and you don’t get that with a tumbler. I’m guessing Campo will eventually realize the mistake of this policy, especially when they can’t sell bottles of wine, and they’ll spring for wine glasses. It also doesn’t do much to fight the reputation that Reno is a little bit of a cultural backwater.
I’m definitely going back to Campo’s for the salumi and olives. I’d like to explore the other things on the menu, when my wallet says I can afford it.
50 N Sierra St
Reno, NV 89501
I've been meaning to give this a try, particularly since they apparently brought in a pizza oven from Italy. Maybe the prices are a little expensive just so that they can cover the shipping cost!
Where would you rank the pizza compared to the candidates we had in the pizzathon?
Hmm, Whole Foods tied for second in our pizzathon. So my tastes do no calibrate well with the group's.
I'd say it ranks in the top tier but I like Bistro 7 better at every level.
I've been meaning to send you an email. I hope everything is back to normal.
7111 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89511
I went to their opening and although it was crazy crowded, the food was steady and really quite good. Looking forward to going back for a more relaxed meal. Highlights were the pizza - love the crust, macaroni and cheese, and the meatballs, although I can't say a bad thing about any of the food we tasted.
I came back to Campo and had to choose off the tweener menu. I got the cured meats again, along with a Margherita pizza and a ginger-flavored Italian soda.
The cured meats again rocked. Great flavors. You can tell they make it themselves.
I liked this Pizza better than the Campo pizza I had before. It had more sauce. The basil was fresh. Again quite tasty.
The waitress checked on the variety of Italian sodas available that day. When she said ginger I knew I wanted that. It tasted especially good. I didn't ask how they make it but I suspect it's not the standard Torani syrup. Italian sodas join the salumi as my list of must get at Campo.
Campo opened in November and we started eating there in December. I'm guessing we've eaten lunch and dinner (and one brunch) there a dozen times and is our favorite resto in all of Reno/Tahoe. We've had nothing but great food. And I consider the prices VERY reasonable. We had a lunch a while back that was $22 for two with two glasses of wine. The executive chef/owner, Mark Estee, is REALLY into local fare and sources locally as much as possible. They break down a pig or two a week and a cow when needed. We've had a number of really tasty "pig parts" at super reasonable prices which I guess they can do when working with the whole animal.
Some of the things we've had there: The kale salad is a must-have. Chiffonade-d kale massaged with salt, crumbles of a Grana Padano crisp, light vinaigrette with a little bit of minced garlic and a poached egg on top. I finally learned how to make it so I could order more and different things while there. The roasted cauliflower with Calabrian chiles done in a tiny, rectangular cast iron skillet is perfect. A new fave are the Shishito peppers which are sweet with a bit of a zip. We've had a couple of pizzas, most recently with a sunnyside up duck egg in the middle. Papparadelle with boar ragu. Polenta. Well, you get the picture. They make almost everything in house. Great foccacia with evoo. Salumi. Pasta. Their pizzas are super thin and I understand cook in under a minute in their authentic Italian pizza oven. I believe they told me that they don't have "sauce" on them so if that's the style you're accustomed to, you might be surprised. And last but never least...the caramel budino. Along with an extensive wine list, they also have a nice selection of beers and a bunch of specialty cocktails. And maybe the best deal in town is a carafe of their house merlot - $18 for 24oz.
In the warm weather, they also have a patio area overlooking the river. It's so charming with tables and chairs but also some Victorian settees.
As you can tell, we love this place and it gets the majority of our dining dollars. I know Reno hates being compared to SF but Campo is as good as and frequently better than most places we've eaten in the Bay Area. You won't be disappointed. Promise :)
I saw your report and was sorry you had that experience. What I forgot to mention while waxing (in)eloquently is how much we love the service. Everybody seems to really know and like food. When it's super busy, we've had the RARE occasion when it got a little slow. Sorry that you hit one of those. I wish you'd have commented to the server about your disappointing dishes. They'd have whisked it away and cooked another or something else or just removed it from your check. Campo seems to be very, VERY into customer satisfaction. Again, sorry you had the experience you had. And glad we haven't :) I'd hope you'd give it another chance but understand that a first less than pleasant evening could sour one on a place.
Back to Campo last night. It's been about a month and I was getting withdrawal pains :) This time we ordered four apps, two new to us and two 'old' faves. Started with the roasted cauliflower with Calabrian chiles and garlic. Perfect and it shows we can eat really healthy and really good. With that came the grilled mortadella with a perfectly cooked duck egg on top. (My pic shows a half portion cause I always forget to snap pix til we're already into it.) After those, we got the shishito peppers which are so super. Sweet but with some kick. And the "trotters." In quotes cause the feet themselves are cooked and the meat is removed and ground. Then it's mixed with some glorious ingredients and I guess fried. We were so involved with eating, moaning and eye rolling :) that I didn't get a real detailed explanation from our server. It was served with housemade pickles. I think that's now our new favorite. One of the great things about Campo is something new is always showing up on the menu. The chefs love that as do the customers. With the 24oz. carafe of house merlot, the tab was $50 before tip. Quality, quantity and price - I don't think there's a better deal anywhere.