For fans of the much-loved Kitchen 388 on Grand Avenue, there’s good news and bad news. Owner, Philip Toman closed in late December due to family issues which forced him to focus on Olea, their San Francisco restaurant. He recently found an eager tenant in the person of Chef Alessandro Campitelli, who grew up in Rome, trained with some of the best chefs there, and came to San Francisco at age 24 to pursue his culinary dreams. Those dreams came to fruition when he opened Chiaroscuro, a small Italian restaurant in San Francisco’s Embarcadero, where he served a devoted clientele.  After ten years, Campitelli opted to shutter his doors last Fall and look for a location in Oakland, where he’s made his home for the past decade.  

The 388 Grand Avenue space will provide Campitelli the perfect opportunity to try out his new weekend-only restaurant concept: a pop-up inspired by Roman trattorias that will be called, Contrasto Test Kitchen.  The food, he says, will be inexpensive and unpretentious fare and “a test for me”.  It also has space for his pasta machines and a refrigerated counter for packaged pasta sales.  His mother comes from Italy several times a year to help train the pasta-makers.

Campitelli wants diners to feel as if they’ve been “invited into a private Italian home” where they’re served  “a home-cooked Italian meal like my mom and my grandma made me and taught me when I was a kid!” Eventually, he hopes to expand on the dining-at-a-home experience by inviting diners into the kitchen where they will participate in the cooking and serving and then sit down together to eat at a big table.

As for the ingredients and the actual menu, Chef Campitelli vows that he “will will shop all of Oakland’s weekend farmers markets for fresh ingredients” that will be on the menu for diners to choose from. Then, the chef will use his creativity to prepare a custom-made dish specifically for these ingredients. In addition, the fresh pasta he was known for at Chiaroscuro, will feature prominently on the menu and will be packaged and available for sale.  His pasta machine is already set up and attracting curious pedestrians as he prepares the space for his soft opening this Friday, April 7.  Reservations (initially limited to twenty) will be available by mid week on his website and Facebook page.  Dinners will be served Fridays and Saturdays.  Brunch only on Sundays.

Contrasto

388 Grand Ave near Perkins
Parking difficult
www.contrasto.com  (active after mid week)

Keep up at: https://www.facebook.com/contrastosf/?fref=ts