Campo Pizza (Palo Alto)
The new pizza place in Lavanda's spot is Campo. It was pulled together very fast. My brother went the first week and said it's not ready for prime time yet. The sister restaurant, Osteria Coppa in San Mateo is better at this point.
Had a late lunch here today. Everything went smoothly, but it wasn't at all crowded. The chopped salad was fine and the small, served family style, was plenty for the 3 of us. We got the pizza with bacon, grilled radicchio, piquillo peppers, fonduta and balsamic vinegar. The toppings worked for me, but the crust was rather thick and bland and not cooked as much as I'd have liked. One of us had the pulled chicken sandwich with pesto and teeny tiny arugula on Acme bread. Looked boring to me, but he liked it. I ate his pickled giardiniera (did I spell that right?) and enjoyed its bit of heat. Basically a pleasant but not exciting experience.
Went to Campo this past weekend. I wouldn't call it a bust, but it still needed work. We've been to their sister restaurant in San Mateo and while we weren't enamored with that either, it was still a step above what we found at Campo.
The one item that satisfied was the pulled-mozzarella, served with toast and pickled beets. Straightforward but on the mark.
The one pizza we ordered (sausage) suffered from limp crust syndrome and was thicker than I'd expect. The tomato sauce was flat and lacked acidity.
The rest of us ordered various pastas. The pasta fared a bit better, but I was confounded by the texture, which led me to believe that it was freshly cut pasta that went dry/stale.
We had the Bomboloni's for dessert, and again, it wasn't quite on the mark. The Bomboloni's were pretty stiff/stale, and the dipping sauce which was stated to be italian drinking chocolate (a la Cafe Venetia?) turned out to be a really sweet, thick chocolate sauce with orange liqueur mixed in.
Overall, it seems like they still have some work to do and prefer Howie's over this for pizza in Palo Alto. Haven't tried Figo, Terrone or Vesta, though.
We went to the other new pizza place on university, Figo, in the old pasta? space, and I was not very impressed. The pizza is very lightly cooked, the menu has some interesting bits but is fairly bland, portions are very small, prices are high. Another party sat next to us and wasn't waited on for over 15 minutes, so they wandered out. We got all our food - apps and mains - at the same time.
I like the feel, and the owner is hanging around. He needs to focus on the food, because there's a lot of cal-ital places just like his now. I hope they can pull things out a bit -- but I don't think the owner knows the food is mediocre.
I also had a report that Campo is not yet ready for prime time.
Cedro near Barrone looks to be taken over by the Barrone people, according to the permitting signs. Not sure if they'll expand or simply put in something new, with their Vesta experience maybe they'll just do another restaurant.
Why are there no french places on University Ave?