Regular readers know I’ve been feeling disappointed lately. Bad silver noodle salads, the predictability of California cuisine, laziness in kitchens, inhospitable restaurant seating practices…. And then last night I went to the brand-spanking new Camino in it’s-always-sunnier-than-in-SF Oakland.
There is a gimmick at Camino (isn’t there always)–everything is wood-fired. I will admit to being suspicious. Last time I went to an all wood-fired restaurant the pacing of the meal was a complete and utter mess as the poor single wood-fired oven tried desperately to keep up with the orders. Bits and pieces dribbled out at a maddeningly slow rate, turning a casual wine-bar type dinner for two into a 3-plus hour event.
Not so at Camino! The food was hands-down delicious and arrived in a manner that attracted no attention or comment from the four of us. From the duck cracklings (you heard me, DUCK. CRACKLINGS.) on the bar menu through the frozen honey nougat with roasted cherries at dessert the meal was a delight (for the record, honey is not my favorite of flavors–I like it fine but do not tend to seek it out, and for the most part I can take or leave cherries, so when I swooned over that dessert it really meant something, you know?).
I could go on and on, about how beautiful the space and how perfect the cocktails and how stunning the bathrooms and how well-considered and well-priced the wine list, but I’m starting to blush. I think I have a crush on a restaurant.
So I awoke feeling a bit less disappointed, a bit more hopeful, ready to eat again.
* I can’t resist a little shout-out to our pal James who constructed an open-faced sandwich with the duck cracklings. He buttered the bread first. Liberally. Before topping it with duck cracklings. He’s my kind of dinner companion.