Boston Restaurant Blog -- January, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
It has been a really rough winter weather-wise so far, and New Year's Eve was certainly no exception. For awhile, it looked like there would be no plans at all, the way the snow was coming down, but it ended just in time for us to head out to a restaurant to celebrate the New Year's. And it turns out that our destination was Campanale's Restaurant in South Braintree, an old-school Italian restaurant that, while quite inconsistent at times, can also be very good.
After giving them a quick call to make sure they were open, we slowly drove over to Campanale's and walked in to a restaurant that was perhaps half-full. We were seated at one of the more comfortable tables near the front door and started out with a couple of drinks, including a "scotch and soda" for me that was mistakenly made as an 8-ounce scotch on the rocks (not that I was complaining about it at the time). We then ordered a Caesar salad that frankly was not very impressive, as some of the lettuce seemed limp and the dressing was bland and watery. It was really disappointing to me, especially since I have had some outstanding Caesar salads over the past few months.
Fortunately, the main dishes more than made up for the subpar salad; the chicken panino (battered chicken layered with roasted red peppers, prosicutto, and mozzarella cheese) was simply delicious, with all the ingredients working well with one another to make for a very flavorful dish, while the the chicken and sausage larossa (boneless chicken, Italian sausages, gorgonzola cheese, mushrooms, and marinara sauce) was every bit as good, with the sausages being sweet and delectable and the "gravy" being as good as always here (their red sauce really is quote good). For dessert, we shared a tiramisu that was a bit underwhelming, but not all that bad.
The place remained fairly quiet the whole time we were there (undoubtedly due to the weather), although about midway through our meal, a loud blast of "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC rumbled through the dining room, making us feel, just for a moment, like we were at a Patriots game. Service at Campanale's was very good overall, with our waitress checking with us constantly (though not overly so) and the prices, especially for New Year's Eve, were very reasonable.
Campanale's was not our first choice for dining out on New Year's Eve, but it turned out to be a satisfying one (except for the salad). I had been a little worried as to which form of Campanale's we would encounter--the mediocre one or the excellent one--and in the end, it was definitely closer to the latter than the former. Hopefully they can continue putting out this quality food more consistently in the future. If so, I'll surely be going there more often.
If you would like the address for Campanale's, here it is: Campanale's Restaurant, 88 Pearl Street, Braintree, MA, 02184. Phone: (781) 843-6966.
We returned to Campanale's the other night. It wasn't the best experience I've had there, as they were out of anchovies for their Caesar salad (which begs the question, "How can an Italian restaurant run out of anchovies?"), the salad itself was rather watery, and the ravioli with tomato sauce consisted of undercooked ravioli and highly acidic sauce that overwhelmed the taste of the pasta. The tortellini with fra diavlo sauce was quite good, however, as the sauce had a nice kick from the garlic and the pasta was cooked just about perfectly. The place was mostly empty (on a Saturday night) and it felt a bit more worn down than the last time I was there. I'm not sure about returning to Campanale's anytime soon, as it continues to be inconsistent. Ecco in Weymouth and Gennaro's in Quincy are close by, both of which I would choose over this restaurant at this point in time.
Posted on 10/6/10
About a year after last trying the place, we went back to Campanale's over the weekend, this time having a quick dinner that included salad and pizza. The Caesar salad was a little watery and the dressing was just ok, but the bar-style pies were excellent, with both the hot pepper pizza and the chicken and broccoli pizza being very impressive. Both were classic individual bar pies, though the crust of the two pies were quite different, with the cherry pepper pizza having a chewy and flexible crust, and the chicken and broccoli pizza having a firm and crisp crust. Both were great, though, which makes me think that pizza may be the way to go when heading to this pleasant but inconsistent restaurant.
Posted on 10/31/11
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