NOTE: This restaurant has closed.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a restaurant review here. We’ve either been going to our regular joints or just eating at home. With Laura away for the week I decided to try a couple of new places. Tuesday evening I headed over to Campobello Italian Ristorante on Wade Hampton Boulevard in Taylors.
This location started out as a Kentucky Fried Chicken place, and that architecture is still evident. When the KFC closed down, it reopened several years later as a breakfast place. The bit ceramic rooster from that incarnation is still out front of the restaurante.
I haven’t been able to find much about Campobello itself. The restaurant has been open in this location for several years. It’s not part of a chain, and it advertises “authentic Italian.”
It’s hard to escape the original design of the building. For example, the entrance to the restrooms are technically OUTSIDE of the main dining area, just one step shy from having to completely exit the building to find them. In that entryway the strong smell of garlic hit me, perhaps a bit overpowerlingly.
The dining area itself is small, with a capacity for about 40 diners. Typical Italian restaurant decor transforms the otherwise utilitarian interior. The tables and decor are nice and neat, but it seems a bit dated, and the drop ceiling tiles certainly looks like they could be updated, too.
Tuesday night obviously isn’t a hopping night for the place. Three other tables were occupied – two with customers, and one with the owner’s family.
The menu includes sections for pasta, veal, beef, lamb, seafood, and chicken, as well as a variety of hot and cold appetizers. There are traditional dishes, such as marsalas, lasagna, homemade ravioli, and fettuccini Alfredo, but there are other specialty dishes as well
Prices range from $12 for some of the pastas to $20+ for some of the seafood and beef dishes.
One surprising thing was that drink prices seemed VERY reasonable. Wine, either by the bottle or by the glass wasn’t as outrageous as some places. Campobello only recently has been carrying beer and wine. Previously they would allow patrons to brown bag their own bottles.
My meal started with bread with olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese, followed by a salad with light Italian dressing. Nothing fancy, but it was good. This was matched with a glass of house chianti.
For my entree I ordered the Pollo Campobello. I figured a dish named for the place must be their specialty. There were three chicken breasts, each topped with a roasted red pepper, and served in a deep red sauce with sliced portabello mushrooms, garlic, and lemon. The mushrooms and peppers imparted a smoky flavor to the dish, which was rounded out nicely with the garlic.
There was a side dish of penne pasta with marinara sauce. I wasn’t impressed as much with the marinara sauce – it tended to clash with the sauce from the entree. I almost wished they had used the pasta as a bed for the main dish. I could have gotten the pasta without the marinara, and will know to do that if I order this again.
I rounded out the meal with homemade tiramisu for dessert. It was light and very fresh. It was quite good.
Scatterbrained and harried comes to mind. Even though there were only three paying tables, the waitress seemed constantly flustered. She initially forgot my wine, then almost knocked the glass into my lap. The food items came out at a reasonable rate, and she did check back on me regularly, but it was always under a state of clumsiness, confusion, and apology. I would hate to see this poor woman have to work a full house.
The food was good, but the service was spotty. While the prices were probably consistent with dishes of this type and quality, they seemed a bit out of place in restaurant that still looks like an old KFC. Other than that, I enjoyed the meal. I would recommend coming back, but I’ll check out the menu ahead of time. I liked my dish, but would like to try others.