Monday, October 11, 2010

At Campania Restaurant in Fair Lawn

A restaurant menu in Venice, Italy.

We had dinner Saturday night at Campania, the Fair Lawn restaurant whose chef committed suicide Sept. 24. When I heard of his death, I recalled our excellent meal there after Chef Joseph Cerniglia appeared on Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares," and wanted to return as a gesture of support.

This time, we had to leave our car with a valet in the small strip mall, and people without reservations were turned away. Alberto, a tall, thin man with a European accent who greeted us, said the restaurant was fully booked. We also had a $25-off coupon that was in a newspaper ad.

We started with three house salads. We also chose the pasta special, with fava beans, fresh tomatoes and shrimp; a wild salmon fillet topped with a cold vegetable slaw and more fresh fava beans; and a pork chop with a delicious sauce, but too few roasted potatoes (for my son, who has resumed eating meat).

We really enjoyed the food, but the mood in the dining room was subdued. Our waitress was glum, and seemed to be having a bad night, and it was only 5:30 p.m. But the waiter who brought our salads and ground fresh black pepper over them couldn't have been more animated.

My wife was looking for a photo of Cerniglia, 39, but we didn't see one in the room.

There was a long wait between our salads and the other dishes, prompting my son to complain, but it just reminded me of my recent restaurant experiences in Italy, where most food is made to order.

I wanted to ask the waitress why she seemed so glum. I wanted to ask Alberto, who coincidentally showed us to the same table we occupied on our first visit, if he was related to Cerniglia. I wanted to ask whether the restaurant needed customers' support after his death. But I didn't ask any of these questions.

With the $25 discount and a $15 tip, our meal came to $86.69. The BYO restaurant is named after Italy's Campania region, which includes Naples and the island of Capri. 

Campania Restaurant, 17-15 Broadway, Fair Lawn; 201-797-8222.

Posted by Picasa
Enhanced by Zemanta

1 comment:

  1. Second Helpings, the food blog at, reports the owner of an Italian restaurant on Route 4 that closed is helping Campania in the weeks after the death of Chef-Owner Joseph Cerniglia.


Please try to stay on topic.