What’s up, Oakland? Despite all the “New Brooklyn” chatter and BART access, we are not getting out here enough. Especially if you’re turning out places like Camino.
Like seemingly every Bay Area restaurant, Camino serves a variant of “California cuisine,” which at this point basically means they use fresh vegetables. Unlike most of those restaurants, Camino takes it to the next level.
There are only three main courses available each night, and they are all cooked over a giant wood fire. And they are excellent, and served well above room temperature (looking at you, TBD). Plus—pig head fritters! (When seasonally/discretionally available.) We ate a cube of fried pig head here, and it was an explosion of sumptuous flavor. Thumbs up.
The drinks are also tasty, and the room feels like it was carved out of a single piece of wood. It will bring you back to your childhood, if you grew up in a log cabin or ski lodge.
Basically, Camino is the restaurant that so many others are trying to be—seasonal, earthy, ostensibly healthy, fun, and bringing the eats game.
Move it up on your Oakland Hit List. Move it up on your Hit List, period.
Citrus, Belgian endive salad and chicory salad with aged sheepsmilk cheese
Nice, refreshing, light salads. What more do you want?
Grilled Artichokes with Sheepsmilk Ricotta
These are awesome and the ricotta brings things up a notch. There's also some additional root vegetable playing alongside, and it's just right.
Grilled Pork Loin and Pig’s Head Fritters
If you haven’t relished the explosion of flavor that is a pig’s head fritter, you haven’t lived.
Grilled King Trumpet Mushrooms and Asparagus with Grits and Poached Egg
We dig the meats at the Infatuation, but Camino has an especially magic touch with the vegetables. So much so that this is our favorite dish here. The mushrooms have a nice meaty flavor and juiciness, the egg is runny, and the GRITS are killer. A-plus.
Wood Oven-Baked Whole Local Sand Dabs with Hen Of The Woods Mushrooms
Sand dabs are a whitefish, by the way. We can only imagine how they got the name. These come well-cooked but a bit salty (and we like salt). The magic mushrooms strike again and the farro on the plate rounds things out.
Tunisian Orange Cake with Citrus
A nice slice of zesty orange/grapefruit cake. Get it.
Susanne’s Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding
Fat kid’s delight. The pudding had something like a baked creme brûlée crust, and beneath this we got to go prospecting for chocolate beneath a layer of butter flavors. Nice work, Susanne.