My husband, his brother and wife and I went to Campanile last Fri for the Anthony Bourdain dinner. As requested by CarbLover from the Not About Food Board, I'm writing a short (long) review of our experience.
Our reservation was for 8:15 pm and as soon as we walked in the door we noticed that Chef Bourdain and a companion were sitting at a table right next to the door. When I saw him I gave him a big goofy smile and he graciously came over to us and introduced himself. I was a blubbering idiot in his presence and told him that he was my idol and I had made the reservation for this evening as soon as I had heard that he was going to be there. I asked if I could take a picture with him and he said yes and it turned out to be a really nice one. It looks as if we have been friends forever! Oh, and I forget to include my husband in it, c'est la vie. We talked for a couple more minutes then were seated at our table which was in the very front of the room where I could watch Anthony Bourdain the whole evening...;o)
When I noticed that he was outside smoking (he was out there more than a couple of times) I grabbed a couple of his cookbooks and asked if he would sign them for us. (By this time he probably thought I was a stalker.) He said that he would come to our table and sign our books for us...which he did and he sat with us for about 10 mins to sign and chat with us. I told him his companion looked lonely and he told us that was the "Grill Bitch" on page 57 from "Kitchen Confidential" and she was paid to do that. He was just hilarious! I found out that he likes to drink negroni's which is my second favorite cocktail...and Mario Batali turned him on to them...bonding with Anthony Bourdain, what could be better...
When it finally came time to order the waiter recommended the Skate Grenobloise and Onglet Gascon (Hangar Steak) for the entree. I'm kicking myself because I didn't ask Chef Bourdain for his recommendations...I was so much in awe I couldn't keep up a decent conversation:(
So, First Course....I had Onion Soup Les Halles, good, but a little to bacony for me. Others had Frisee aux lardons which they said was good. I was trying to be different from everybody else.
Second, I had Moules a la Portugaise which again I wanted to be different from everybody else which was a big mistake. It was good, but I think I prefer more seafood tasting broth without the chorizo sausage. They had the Foie gras aux pruneaux which was a small portion, but excellent!
Entree, Again my mistake trying to be different...I had Onglet Gascon which I thought was just ok, but by then I had a couple of cocktails and wine in me...I had to, I was meeting Anthony Bourdain! Others had the Skate which was incredible. Very crisp and flaky...should have ordered that or tried the Veal tongue.
We also had the cheese course which was fine, nothing exceptional. It had Brillat-Savarin, Fourme d'Ambert and Comte Reserve des Granges. I enjoyed the Brillat-Savarin, but I think my husband ate all the Fourme d'Ambert because I don't recall tasting that and the Comte was just fine. Highlight of the cheese course is that Anthony Bourdain came back to our table for a few minutes because I told him he had to say good-bye to us. My brother-in-law wasn't at the table, so the Chef sat at his seat and noticed the cheese plate and starting munching away:)
We finished off with dessert which surprisingly was uninspired. I had Chocolate Mousse which looked like the size of a sorbet scoop and tasted like it had been sitting out all evening. I miss the choclate mousse back from the 80's, it was like the Tiramisu of the 90's. Again, what I didn't order looked better...the Tarte Alsacienne.
Overall, the food wasn't all that memorable, but it was good (it was a prix-fixe we didn't expect much more)the true highlight was being able to spend so much time with Anthony Bourdain. Also, Chef Mark Peel stopped by our table for a few minutes too.