by sophia johnson
We dropped in, crossed our fingers and luckily snagged the only open table at CampO in the Bishop Arts District. It’s a cute little cottage in a great geo-eatery block that is also home to Spiral Diner and Rush Patisserie, so maybe good taste just hangs out here. It was recommended to us by friends who know how to eat on both sides of the Trinity – you know, cool people. There’s ample porch space and the inside is crisp and cozy (like your table is pretty close to the next table and waiters kinda squeeze by you to get to your neighbor).
To start, I ordered the La Paloma – a tequila, grapefruit, lime delight. For cocktail lovers, trust me when I say you’ll drive back to CampO just to wind down with La Paloma. She’s my new BFF. If you get tired of simple syrup overpowering your alcohol, try this little if-I-were-a-person-I’d-be-a-grown-woman-in-a-silk-blouse cocktail.
After troubling the very patient waiter for three minutes about which entrée I should choose, I selected the lemon sole, the evening’s market catch. My husband sighed, wondered silently why do I go on and on with waiters and chose the CampO Salad and the pan-roasted-chicken, the café’s most popular dish.
Okay, now the bread – oh my. It’s your first opportunity to learn that the food here is not like the chain recipes you find at so many other restaurants. The bread makes me think of something you pack on a train when your trip is more than eight hours. It is hearty, sticks with you and you love it. Although the waiter raved about the chorizo fritters appetizer, neither of us fell for it. They are light, fried, breaded morsels, but we left half of them in the basket. Of course, I tasted my husband’s moist chicken, risotto and figs, and the dish made me feel like I was in a country inn in Europe. My lemon sole was tender and the pickled vegetables were a great contrast and just delicious. I only had a bite of the mashed potatoes below the sole because they didn’t seem to match their plate-mates. We were too full for dessert.
CampOs is inspired, fresh and a welcome detour from the copycat dishes I keep seeing on every menu. They have limited selections, but execute well. The wait staff is attentive and unusually pleasant and gracious. Saturday night’s crowd had a great mix of demographics and that was another plus. In one sentence: a win for the non-cookie cutter dining experience. CampO, 1115 N. BECKLEY AVE. DALLAS TX 75203 (214) 946-1308