At a prime location of Sierra and First Street, Campo had been catching my eye for a couple weeks. The sign is glitzy and the people going in always seem like they are about to create the drunkest, but hippest business plan around. I had to investigate, considering Campo is usually referring to Brazilian grasslands or camps of various sorts, but this place seemed to be plotting to make all of that chic, and I was interested to see how.
Upon arriving, I realize Campo is dimly lit, and a haven for hipster dads, moms and grandparents. My date and I are seated next to a table full of kids that all seem to belong to a man with a handlebar mustache and spiky hair that has a tattoo on one shoulder and a cloth ready to catch baby vomit on the other. His wife is older, has experienced the pleasures of botox and seems to be sporting some glorious earrings. This is when I announced to my date “This place looks fancy,” and he simply responded “This is Campo!”
I worked to figure out what exactly it means to be Campo for the rest of the evening.
I asked our waitress what beers were on tap, and she responded they had three, but all of them were out except for the Maroney la Rossa, which my dated decoded for me as Moretti la Rossa. The beer is $4.50 a glass, which seems like a deal when you look at the rest of Campo’s pricing. To be Campo is to be expensive, as no entrees come in at under $12. I opted for the spinach salad with pine nuts, pancetta, goat cheese and a red wine vinaigrette at $8. My date drank his beer faster than me, and thus went for the Campo Burger with tomato chutney, aioli, rucola, and aged fontina for $13.
While we were waiting for our food, I witnessed a waitress drink straight out of the pitcher. The same waitress was later seen drinking Gatorade and loudly talking on her cell phone. Another waitress brought us some pomodoro, which we thought was complimentary, but surprised us by saying “must be another table” and took it away. To be Campo is to be unaware. And loud. We also got some complimentary bread, which we were informed was baked fresh every day. We were not informed that some of the pieces had anise in them, which for us, was quite the unwelcome surprise. Campo is all about complimentary surprises. When I received my salad, our waitress asked if I wanted parmesan on it. When I replied yes, she surprised me by getting some complimentary parmesan on my sweater for a good 20 seconds.
Sweater decorated with parmesan or not, the food was really good. The ingredients of the salad complimented each other nicely, and my date told me his burger was one of the best he’d had in Reno. The burger is made with 80 percent beef and 20 percent pancetta, or Italian bacon. I tried the burger, and that is a ridiculously tasty combination. To be Campo is to be surprisingly delicious.
Though the service was a bit incognizant, the food was worth it. In fact, with the meal totaling almost $40 for an entrée, an appetizer salad and two beers, we were almost happy the service was lacking, as it meant we got to save on the tip. To be Campo is to be oblivious, but manage to deliver where it counts.
This is Campo.