DC: I recently revisited Campagnolo for lunch, and I must say that my second experience far surpassed my first. The staff was super-friendly and attentive. I ordered another Albicocca ($10), the drink that I fell in love with on the first visit. Sadly, it is removed from the menu and our server had no idea what I was talking about (he was new, so he gets a pass). HOWEVER, the bartender knew, and was happy to whip one up… and my my my, let’s just say that the drink was definitely made with LOVE; it was nice and strong and still very tasty. The apricot flavor adds a springy/summery uniqueness that is utterly enjoyable.
For the meal, I ordered the Cappellini ($12) – pomodora sauce, basil, parmesan (I added meatballs). This was absolutely delish. The sauce was so flavorful and the meatballs were moist and savory. As for the rest of the ingredients, you can’t go wrong with those. All in all, this dish was simple yet remarkable! If you like a little spicy kick, ask for a side of crushed red pepper; it really took this to the next level, though it was good as is. My darling lunchmate got the Chicken Picatta Sandwich ($9) – capers, lemon, tomato, parmesan, garlic ciabatta bread. This, too, was extremely flavorful and good. It came with a delightful arugula salad. My only complaint is that the bread on the sandwich got a bit soggy. Other than that, everything was on point. My only regret is that I didn’t order the Caprese that I so love and enjoy… what was I thinking?!
There were a few people sprinkled out on the patio, which was a little less intimate for the occasion, so we sat at the window overlooking the patio and could still enjoy the sunny scene outdoors. If you’re thinking of having a cute lunch date or a first date, take them here, and then go for a walk in the park, which is right around the block! Campagnolo, you’ve won me over!
*Update ends here* We still stand by our previous opinions about other items on the menu, so we are keeping that information on the page.
LC: We strolled into Campagnolo on a Friday around noon, and naturally, we started with drinks. I ordered La Paloma ($10), a tequila-based drink that resembles an Italian margarita. Frankly, it wasn’t all that exciting. I didn’t see any difference between getting that at an Italian restaurant vs. your neighborhood El Restaurante. I kept waiting for the “Italian” twist, but it was lacking what I expected.
DC: I ordered the Albicocca ($10), a vodka-based drink that was light and refreshing and immediately swept me to paradise! The presentation alone gave me exactly what I needed for a lush, leisurely lunch on a sunny day.
LC: Emphasis on the “lush,” lol. I definitely liked your drink better!
DC: Basically, the Albicocca is my new favorite thing in the universe.
LC: For our first bite, we went with the Caprese ($8). Word on the block was that we NEEDED this in our lives, so we definitely wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I’d honestly have to say that it truly lived up to the buzz. The difference between this Caprese and any other was that it was bloody huge! Definitely not a stingy portion.
LC: I really appreciated the roasted garlic, and the balsamic vinegar was tasty, but not too pungent!
DC: For the main course, I went with the famed Campagnolo Burger ($11). With double patties, topped with mortadella and pepperoni, you’d expect this burger to pack a lot of “meatage” and flavor… meh, not so much. This burger sounded oh so exciting on paper, but never quite gave me the life that I anticipated. The patties were pretty much flat; not the beefy, juicy bite that you crave and expect from a burger. The pepperoni did not particularly stand out. Admittedly, this was my first mortadella experience. It was very thick and reminded me of bologna, which is probably my least favorite meat in the history of meatdom.
LC: I’ve had mortadella before, but never so thickly-cut; a thinner slice would definitely benefit the cause. The taste of the freshly-ground meat did not rise above that of a regular fast food patty. It needed more flavor, and that’s what took away from the dish. I did enjoy the garlic bun, but that’s the only noteworthy occurrence here.
DC: The burger was served with ginormous onion rings battered with Sweetwater 420. I didn’t hate ’em, nor did I love ’em.
LC: For my meal, I ordered the Orecchiette ($10). The first thing I noticed was the copious amount of broccoli rabe. Though I wouldn’t say it took away from the flavor, it made it difficult to get a balanced bite of the other ingredients this dish had to offer.
DC: The broccoli rabe was extremely chewy, and there was LOTS of it. I literally had to SAW my way through it.
LC: Outside of the rabe fiasco, I really appreciated the fennel sausage and pretty much everything else about the dish. It’s something I would totally get again, if I return. I thought the price was a steal; I would definitely pay more for this $10 dish.
DC: You would? As a lifelong carrier of acute OPD (obsessive pasta disorder), I was EXTREMELY excited to try this. Though I agree that the price is reasonable, I was somewhat disappointed. For starters, it was entirely too pasta-heavy… (I know, DUH, it’s pasta), but the orecchiette totally overcrowded the dish. This made for a very starchy experience. I also feel as if it needed more sauce… maybe even a thicker, creamier sauce. If you asked me to describe the flavor of this dish, I really wouldn’t be able to tell you… and that’s an issue. Though I liked the sausage, I wanted it to give more of a savory flavor. Instead, it reminded me of average pizza topping meat.
LC: I think the sausage would’ve been better if it were a little spicier.
DC: Spicier is always better!
DC: Though the dish was definitely eating-temperature, I would’ve loved if it came out piping-hot. Overall, the concept of the dish is sexy, but it definitely needs more pizazz.
LC: Campagnolo stands in the former spot of the “Big Red Tomato.” Walking in, I was immediately transported to a swanky New York lunch spot. I could definitely appreciate the upgrade from its predecessor. Large windows overlooking a casual patio welcomed natural light, and made the experience indoors just as enjoyable as it would’ve been had we decided to dine on the patio.
DC: When it comes to ambiance, I feel like this is the perfect spot for a lighthearted lunch date in Midtown. The décor is simple and neat, with subtle, comforting earth tones. It’s sort of contemporary without trying too hard to be. The vibe is airy and cozy. It’s a classy and charming place overall.
LC: The staff was very welcoming and personable. I fell in love with our server, E.J. He was very conversational, without being overbearing. Not only did he update my files (by giving recommendations to other local spots), but his personality gave me everlasting life! He seemed to genuinely care about our dining experience. He was insightful and thoroughly explained the dishes. Even the guy at the bar (manager?) took time to make casual conversation with us.
DC: Service was great and it was a comfortable, laidback environment altogether. I appreciated the fact that it wasn’t crowded for lunch. Drinks and food rolled out at perfect intervals. The only less-than-positive thing was that the bar did not have the particular vodka that my drink is supposed to be made with. The drink was still stellar, so I’m not caught up on that, but it’s probably a good idea not to run out of that sort of thing. Overall, the dining experience was definitely pleasurable.
Our grand summary… with 30 seconds on the clock, GO!
LC: My overall experience at Campagnolo was a pleasant one. I believe I had higher expectations for the food. Though I really enjoyed my pasta, and would probably get it again, I feel like I would need to make special requests to make it even more enjoyable. I would definitely return, perhaps to explore the dinner menu. Big ups to E.J., how you doin’?
DC: (Verdict is in the update at the top of post).
3.75 / 5