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Mar 4, 2012 08:21 AM

Oh, Campanile - what happened?

Salty, salty, salty. My goodness, Mr. Peel - displaying your cook book so prominently in the front of the place is a bit of an ego overkill. Hadn't been back to your place in a few years - and decided a birthday dinner for four would be a good one. This was mentioned to the hostess (I brought a huge floral arrangement in advance) - but it obviously was unnoticed by our waiter, who was pleasant, but seemed lost - as were our cocktails until I reminded him when the appetizers came. A bad sign is when a runner gruffly interrupts the waiter taking the order to plunk down the bread and butter - who is running the table? But then, getting an extra pat of butter for the bread was a challenge. Getting plates cleared without an obvious eye contact - also a challenge. The bartender seemed sleepy - past his bedtime? Took two trips to get out three drinks. All were disappointing - how do you screw up a martini? Well, of course - just use too much bitters. The bibb salad - bitter. The prosciutto-wrapped asparagus - SALTY. The pickled veggies - no flavor. I had foolishly ordered an olive plate - which no one could eat, considering the amount of SALT we had already ingested. The prime rib - I did order medium well, but did not expect it to be thinly sliced and laid out on a SALTY bed of lava beans. The meat - SALTY. My partner's pork chop - enormous as if it were stuffed - but it was not - other than with SALT. Does anyone taste items before leaving the pass? The dessert - passable - and I certainly don't want the Chuckie Cheese singing of service staff - but could you have afforded a candle on the dessert as a simple recognition? Of course not. By the time we were ready to leave, the manager had left - and the box to carry the flower arrangement out had been tossed, apparently. Mr. Peel - as I was disappointed with the Tar Pit - I can firmly say your ex-wife is the better cook - and runs better restaurants. So sorry to see a great atmosphere get buried in a mound of - salt.

The Tar Pit
609 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

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    1. re: AAQjr

      Trust me - nothing is more disappointing than to see glowing reviews of Mr. Peel - and to have such obvious cooking mistakes performed in one night - along with such absent-minded service - makes me pine for the old Grace on Beverly and Neal Fraser for special occasions.

        1. re: maudies5

          Sorry, another good idea gone bad by a chef with an ego-

          1. re: pogi455

            Peel seems more interested in joining cooking competitions on Bravo TV than paying attention to the food in his own restaurant.

            That said, we went to the Tar Pit during Dine LA and quite enjoyed our meal though service was pretty slow and annoying.

    2. I think this place has been going downhill for quite a while. Although my last experience there (and I do mean LAST) was not as bad as yours, I found the food to be mediocre and the service to be almost non-existent. There are way too many good restaurants here, and new ones to try, to put up with that.

      1. Is this a review of Campanile or Tar Pit? The title says "Campanile" but the body refers only to "Tar Pit". I'm also curious as to whether you contacted the restaurant before posting your comment. I've done so in the past with surprisingly positive results.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Steve2 in LA

          Campanile. Tar Pit is closing - and Campanile needs to do so also.

        2. We took a couple for a birthday dinner recently. It was tastier than you suggest, but exceptionally salty as you noted. Very expensive, and I concluded it would be more cost-effective to install a salt lick in the back yard, where the animals could enjoy it, too.