Laura Taxel, author of Cleveland Ethnic Eats, is my new hero! I had gone to hear her speak a couple of months ago at the library. Someone in the crowd asked for a recommendation for an Italian restaurant on the westside of Cleveland and she replied, "La Campagna"!
So last night was B's birthday and I surprised him by taking him to a restaurant that we have never been to. In fact, he had never heard of the restaurant. It was risky..... but it turned out to be great. Better than great.... amazing!
La Campagna is a little Italian restaurant tucked into an average looking shopping center in Westlake. It a tiny little place that you would never look twice at. Laura Taxel described it as a gift shop by day and restaurant by night. It is family owned and everything is made to order. The owners shop daily(from local vendors) and try to use foods which are organic when available. The menu changes everyday. Laura Taxel had recommended that a reservation be made because the restaurant might just close up if it has no customers coming. Another warning..... there is no written menu. They make a handful of entrees daily and they just list them for you. Now, I like this kind of adventurous eating, but, others may not. But, I will tell you that everything we ate was extraordinary!
We started off with a bottle of Syrah(above) and a fried pepper appetizer(below). The wine is purchased from the shop so it is not marked up and there is a large selection. This picture of the peppers does not do them justice. They were simply sauteed in olive oil with a generous sprinkling of sea salt. However, there was a nice combination of sweet yellows and reds along with some spicy Poblanos. So simple but delicious!
Next we ordered our entrees which were accompanied by salad and soup. B had a corn and clam chowder. I had the salad below. It was a nice mix of fresh greens, blueberries, and goat cheese. One of the owners was actually making the salad dressing, a balsamic with fresh figs, minutes before I received the salad! It was like eating at a family members house, except an extremely talented family member. I think I may have to adopt this family!
My entree was mussels in a fresh tomato broth. Also phenominal.
But B's dish was the award winner of the night. He ordered their clam bake. This clambake wasexceptional. Check out the lobster twice baked potato in the front of this plate. There was no skimping on the lobster. The chicken was cooked with some nice herbs and very moist. The corn was picked that day.
Needless to say... we were very happy customers!!!! The price was also a pleasant surprise. I intend on becoming one of the regulars at this spot.