Camille’s, the recessed, dim, empty, restaurant next door to HamDel has long been the subject of rumors, ranging from mob front to late-night bingo club. Intending to see if anybody actually eats there—and risking earning a pair of concrete shoes—brave brunch explorers set out for Camille’s.
Evidence of racketeering was scant, though there was a dead cockroach. Even after hastily moving tables to avoid the sight of “curling cockroach legs,” the image was still a bit of a downer. One bruncher noted that “it was probably due to the aftereffects of my Friday evening, but the atmosphere was not very warm and inviting.” Said bruncher also complained about the insufficient frequency of water refills. Beverages aside, the scant number of patrons in the restaurant and its all but silent interior only strengthened the mob hypothesis in everyone’s minds.
The brunch deal (Saturdays only) looked great on paper: $8.50 for coffee, juice, pastries and any brunch entree. But things weren’t pretty below the surface (and we didn’t even have to dig six feet). The omelets had “a strange velvety and fuzzy texture” and, more alarmingly, the accompanying home fries were deemed to be “definitely rusting or shedding or molting.” Possibly the greatest offense was that Kraft grape jelly (not even jam!) was the only available spread.
Stomachs were partially saved by the basket of pastries that earned a consensus of “pretty yummy” thanks to its impressive variety. The coffee, too, held its own (though it was no Oren’s). The real winner of the midmorning, however, was the banana bread french toast: the lucky bruncher who ordered this was the only one with no complaints about her meal.
The service throughout was perfectly acceptable, though at the end of the meal the staff (a single waitress/hostess and whoever was in the kitchen) seemed in no rush to shoo us out the door, and took a long time to produce our bill. Your team of brunchers left the establishment feeling more or less satisfied, and concurred that the experience was thoroughly mediocre as a whole. But if you’re stranded on Amsterdam, looking for a cheap brunch, and don’t care much for food quality, the deal isn’t all bad. The trick at Camille’s seems to be carb-loading: shoot for anything baked as opposed to the fried. And you’ll probably be the only ones eating there, which can be kind of fun. Just look out for the cockroaches.