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Good News/Bad News: Camino

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Nary a month goes by without a Chez Panisse alum opening up his/her own restaurant, and the most recent Alice offshoot is Oakland's Camino. While nearly everyone has praised the design (wood oven, concrete floors, 30 foot tables, etc), Russell Moore's minimalist eatery stumbled out of the block, but open now for almost exactly a month, things seem to be smoothing out a bit, though being compared to Chez Panisse is a tough task for anyone. But enough from us; here's the buzz surrounding Oakland's hot newbie:

Good News: "The food is very similar to Chez Panisse Cafe's. (So is the appetizing smell of the place.) ... just four appetizers and three entrees, so three of us just ordered everything ... Short but interesting wine list. We shared a bottle of marzemino ($28?) and one glass of Banyuls. No significant service glitches. Total bill before tip was $56 each. I really like this place. I hope it's as relaxed and pleasant when it's full." [Chowhound]

Lukewarm News: "Not sure it's worth it yet, we all left hungry. But I'm sure they'll get an onslaught of feedback soon enough..." [Eater Inbox]

Bad News: "I am not one who wants to leave a restaurant stuffed or with food to go. However, this place is charging a pretty penny for chicken, pork, beans, and rock cod. If you feel like paying the money for the CP pedigree and think you are getting your money's worth then that's fine. I eat out a lot and Camino did nothing for me. I understood the quality of the ingredients, the freshness, and the clean flavors. Even if the food had been hot, the portion sizes and prices were out of whack considering I can go other places and have a more enjoyable meal for less money. Its really not about the money, I am willing to pay to have an good experience. In the case of Camino, the experience was not worth the price." [Chowhound]

Old English Epic Poem News: "the interior is like a mead hall in a beowulf-like epic poem." [Yelp]

Just Great News: "I could go on and on, about how beautiful the space and how perfect the cocktails and how stunning the bathrooms and how well-considered and well-priced the wine list, but I’m starting to blush. I think I have a crush on a restaurant." [Dinner Files]

Finally, More OK News: "I told myself after it opened I would give them a few weeks to work things out before I tried it out. I am glad I did. The food was great. Camino was not at all pretentious. It is rare that I got to a restaurant and feel comfortable right away but at Camino I did. I can only give them 4 stars because I wish they were just a bit cheaper so that they really could be the neighborhood restaurant they were originally thinking of being." [Yelp]

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