Camper-Menlo Park- 5/26/2019

I am always looking for new restaurants to try out!  As I was searching the web I stumbled on a few articles talking about Camper described as a laid back restaurant located in Menlo park with emphasize on local, seasonal products, sustainable, hand made pastas. Camper is working with local farmers, fisherman, artisans and craftsmen to bring to best local ingredients to the table and they also have relationships with specialty growers in Northern California to source the freshest and finest, and because of that the menu is ever evolving.


In case you are wondering about the name "Camper", it has nothing to do with camping, it is actually a homonym for "happy camper" the convergence of experience and skill and making diners happy. That's the restaurant's goal, according to chef-partner Greg Kuzia-Carmel and managing partner Logan Levant.

Also if you are familiar with Menlo Park, LB Steak used to be at this location.  Lb Steak was a bit too formal and pricey for everyday consideration so maybe that is why it was not doing well. Camper isn't inexpensive but it is in step with today's prices for casual-upscale dining and has a neighborly vibe. 


Camper is also know to have a list of great cocktails and the bar has a really nice vibe and is inviting.



The interior is warm, earth tone, minimalist but really cozy with lots of lanterns hanging from wood beams, and large windows letting lots of lights in.


I took a panoramic picture but it is a bit distorted (the actual wall behind the bar is straight)


Cocktail menu on the left and food menu on the right.


On the left: Noriyuki's sour :Japanese whiskey, Orgeat, Yuzu, honey, bitters, Lemon.  On the right: Now + Later: Mercal, Bird Eye Chili, Alps Genepy, Nasturtium, Lime, Bianco Tequilla

Phuc got the Noriyuki's sour and Huyen and I we shared the Now + later.

Hoa ordered the good ole' fashioned: high west rye, cane simple, Angoustora bitters.

Out of the 3 cocktails the best one was the Noriyuki's sour.

Phuc and Huyen brought a bottle of Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere, 2009 and a bottle of Chateau Neuf du Pape, vieux Telegraph 2009.  Both bottles were exceptional.  We drank both bottles between the four of us.

Life is indeed good!


We are starting with a blistered shishito peppers served on a bed of smoked yogurt, mint, and pomegranate syrup


Here the shishito peppers are served on a bed of smoked yogurt to cool your tongue in case some of the peppers are hot.  Most of them are very mild but you never know until you bite into one. I also like the sweetness of the pomegranate syrup against the acidic yogurt and saltiness of the peppers.


Phuc likes butter so we order an order of bread with butter.  Very good bread but not enough butter for Phuc.

Charcuterie platter

Camper is using products from La Quercia (best cured meat in the U.S.) for their charcuterie platter.

The meat was good but I wish they added something sweet such as a jam or quince marmalade with the platter. 


Shoestring French Fries, Garlic Aioli, Spicy Catalan Ketchup

We love  French Fries and they were crispy, just the way we like it.

Mount Shasta Porcini Mushrooms, Brown butter, Shiso.

This dish was recommended by our waiter and it we all like it.



House made Trofie, grilled half moon bay Squid, Almond, Genovese basil pesto.

Not sure why they called it Trofie as it is not the right shape.  The pasta was decent but not extraordinaire.


Vadouvan poached Rock cod, Ginger, Quinoa Tabouleh, Cauliflower, Soft Herb Salad.

The best dish of the evening.



Everything on this plate was delicious.  Vandouvan is a type of a mixture of traditional Indian curry flavors of turmeric, cumin, curry leaves, and coriander and it is given a sophisticated French twist with the addition of grated shallots.  I have to say that the flavors came together really nicely.


Close look at the pasta dish.


Roasted Chicken, Bastami Rice, Carrot Hummus, Broccoli Di Ciccio, Dates, Pistachio Dukkah.

The chicken was very moist but we were a bit full and I only took a few bites.


The Camper Cheeseburger, Pickled Green tomatoes, Shoestring Fries, Aioli, Catalan ketchup.

Nothing special but it was a good burger.


Since we were quite full we opted to order 1 dessert: The caramelized milk jam pudding with Chantilly cream and pecans and a scoop of ice cream to share among the 4 of us.


I really enjoyed this dessert, rich, decadent and very satisfying with a nice cup of piping hot coffee.

We ordered too much but since this is our first time and we wanted to try as much as we can just to find out what we like.  Overall, we had a very good time at Camper.  Service was pretty good, sommelier was nice (Phuc gave him a glass of our Chateau du Pape), the dishes are nicely plated on ceramics made by local artisans, and we also enjoyed the food.  Some dishes are better than others but in general it met my expectation.



898 Santa Cruz Avenue,

Menlo Park, CA 94025

Tel. (650) 321-8980


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