At long last, I got to try this LA institution, albeit on a busy holiday for restaurants.
The prix fixe was $80 so had some high expectations. Our party of 4 each had different appetizers. Our table was waiting for us with these wonderful heart-shaped breads spiked with a rosemary garnish and some dreamy fresh butter.
I had the pappardelle pasta with pancetta, wild mushrooms, and spinach which was very disappointing. I was craving a comforting mushroom cream sauce for it, but the pasta turned out to be too al dente and in a watery broth that tasted like watered down chicken soup. A friend's butter lettuce salad was excellent though, very soft beautiful butter lettuce in a very light herb dressing. I will be sure to order this next time. Another party had the foie gras torchon which was rich and tasty and high quality.
Originally the prime rib with tapenade was the only beef dish, but I have been wanting to try their famous porterhouse steak for a long time now and the server graciously obliged. I am glad I did, the steak was very good and peppery and cooked beautifully, although I must say I can do just as well at home. Accompanying fries were actually very thick potato wedges fried to a wonderful crisp. The creamed spinach was nicely done and good balance of creamy and savory. The plate came with a small side of what tasted like a peppery wine reduction sauce for the steak and fries.
For dessert I tried the warm chocolate brioche pudding with chocolate nibs ice cream. Absolutely divine!
As a going away gift, we each got heart-shaped chocolate cookies that were very decadent and rich, tasting similar to the pudding I had for dessert.
Apart from the pasta mis-step, my experience Campanile was good, perhaps not entirely worth the $80 price tag, but would still like to try it again, hopefully for the sandwich night.