As I was driving around Buffalo and Amherst last night, I was thrilled to see so many cars parked at local restaurants on a Tuesday night, which is not typically a busy night in the restaurant industry. Western New York has really embraced Local Restaurant Week, and it’s great to see so many people trying new places and new, inventive dishes!
Last night, we picked Campobello’s Cucina Italiana in East Amherst as our “new to us” place to try. They are located on Transit Road near Casey Road in a small strip plaza. They are tucked away in the corner. The restaurant offers dine in, and has plenty of take out customers as well. I called on Monday to see if I was able to make a reservation, and they do not accept reservations during Restaurant Week. It bothered me they wouldn’t accommodate, but we still planned on going there. To me, it would seem in the best interest of the restaurant, and customer to offer this option. I also called about 30 minutes before we intended on arriving to see what the wait was, and if we could get on a call ahead list. They would not allow that either.
My boyfriend, his Mom and our 8 year old arrived before me, and they waited about 25 minutes before we were sat. We were promptly served fresh bread/butter and our drinks came out shortly after.
They offered a great special which included choice of one appetizer, dessert or a half carafe of wine, two soups or salads, and two entrees from a list of about 10. Between the four of us, we chose two of the $20.13 specials.
We ordered two appetizers and picked their mozzarella sticks and the Campobello artichoke. Both served their purpose. I wouldn’t say either blew us away, but the mozzarella sticks were freshly made and the artichoke was an interesting combination of flavors (although not the prettiest plate to look at – see picture below). It was basically an artichoke quiche, with egg, romano cheese, white wine and artichokes. I enjoyed it. If you do order it, ask for a side of marinara sauce, it tasted better that way!
The salads and soups were both good. It was a hearty salad with chick peas, tomatoes and black olives. They had a few soups to choose from, we had the minestrone and it was flavorful.
The entrees we chose were lasagna, Eggplant Parmesan and two Chicken Parmesans. The latter two were served with a very generous side of pasta. After a few bites, I asked everyone what they thought of their meals. Without any other prompting, Jacob (the eight year old), said “I’ve had better sauces. You can quote me on that.” Haha. He was absolutely right! Everyone thought the dishes were okay, but not great compared to some of the other wonderful Italian meals we’ve had around Western New York (particularly at Mulberry and Mangia).
If I had to pick the best of our dishes, I would say the lasagna. The cheese filling was delicious. My Eggplant Parmesan was very good, too. Outside of Restaurant Week, the menu prices fell into the typical Italian price range in Buffalo: $15 – $17 for the entree. They open at 11:00am Monday – Saturday and stay open until 9:00pm most nights, 10:00pm on the weekend. Sundays, they are open from 12:00pm – 9:00pm.
The portion sizes were extremely generous, and we all took about half of our dishes home with us. The service was good, but our waitress fell a little flat for us. Towards the end of our meal she became a little more personable.
Overall, the meal was fine. It was an incredible deal for $20.13 and I’ll be enjoying it again for lunch today. I don’t get out that way often, so I can’t say I’ll be headed back anytime soon, but it is worth checking out if you are out that way this week!