Best New Restaurant


Chef Russell Moore didn't do a few years' time at Chez Panisse just so he could nab some recipes and open his own restaurant. He worked the kitchen there for a dedicated 21 years. Perhaps this explains why Camino stands out among the many cousins on the Chez-descended family tree, and why the Oakland restaurant opened to such hot buzz among the local fooderati. Camino's flavors are carefully chosen and create indelible taste memories; months may pass, but the butterhead lettuce with the chervil-and-bleu cheese dressing will not fade away. Moore's menu is always simple: three appetizers, three entrées, and three desserts on each daily menu. He has a focused idea of what he wants diners to eat, and can get idiosyncratic. Take his ban on pasta, for example. Camino's cuisine has an obvious Italian influence, but Moore is just not that into pasta, so the restaurant never serves any shape or cut thereof. The dining room has a farm kitchen ambiance with heaps of produce as decor, and communal tables that feel like summer camp.
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