Zagat on CAMAJE, 2013: This "little" Village bistro showcases chef Abigail Hitchcock's "beautifully presented" Franco-American fare ferried by "attentive" staffers in "arty", "laid-back" quaters; added attractions include "intimate cooking classes" and blindfolded "dining in the dark", an "experience unlike any other."
2009 New York City Restaurant Guide:
Food:22, Decor:15, Service:19,
Hitchcock's "creative menu" supplies a "true
foodie experience" at "good value."
2008 New York City Restaurant Guide:
"With the air of a "secret" find on an "out-of-the-way
Paris street", this "terrific little" Village bistro's
French-American fare comes via a "sweet" staff; it can
be a "squeeze", but it's "romantic" for dining
a deux; P.S. "try the cooking classes" or don a blindfold
for one of their 'Dark Dining' events."
December 26, 2007: See Eyewitness News' Story on Dark Dining at CAMAJE: "One-by-one the masks go on and the journey into darkness begins. And they'll stay this way for the next two hours as they eat dinner at Camaje Bistro in the Village. ...The sensory deprivation certainly gets you thinking, and it seems to gets plenty of diners touching. To further enhance the mood there's live entertainment. Diners seem to listen a little more closely with the blindfolds on."
September 5, 2007: Independant Reviewer NicholasLewis:
"Wonderful little place with reasonable prices and a good wine list. Nice place for the kids too. It's the kind of restaurant that you wish you lived around the corner from."
"...with the arrival of the lights-out concept here, entrepreneurs have given it a distinctive spin by adding performing artists to the mix." An article describing a reporter's Dark Dining experience at CAMAJE.
Maria Trejo-McDonald, Concierge at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park says, “A really reasonable, charming Village experience that I love is Camaje(85 MacDougal St.; 212/673-8184; dinner for two $70), a tiny French-American bistro. And the chef-owner Abigail Hitchcock gives cooking classes—from Italian to French to Asian.”
..."By making available her [Chef/Owner Abigail Hitchcock's] fully equipped restaurant kitchen, top-notch culinary skills and delightful dining room, groups both large and small gladly cheat on their apartment stoves for this memorable affair... After serving your very own three-course feast, washed down with perfectly paired wines, nothing beats taking home a doggy bag filled with the gratitude of friends and, of course, those newly acquired knife skills." by David Foxley
NY1 on Dark Dining March 2007:
A great write-up and video on our blindfolded sensory feasts
Where to Dine in NY, Feb 2007:
Relaxed and cozy, sophisticated and seductive... Camaje is all this and more. Unique and inventive, Chef Abigail Hitchcock offers a warm spirit to go along with her superb cuisine. Abby offers one of New York's finest cooking classes several days each week with a different type of cuisine featured. View complete article.
NY1's Jill Scott, Feb 2007:
Check out NY1's piece on our Knife Skills Class - Televised andOnline.
ZAGAT 2007: Food:21, Decor:15, Service:17, Cost:$34 “Quirky” yet “très charmant”, this Village bistro delivers “inventive”
Franco-American cookery from “superwoman” chef-owner Abigail Hitchcock,
who also “gives cooking lessons”; it may be “tiny”, but the “great value” justifies “being a little crushed.”
Relaxed and cozy, sophisticated and seductive... Camaje (cah-MAHJ) is all this and more. The 2007 Zagat Survey says that Abigail Hitchcock is chef,sommelier and "superwoman." Signature dishes include a delighful market seafood soup infused with saffron. The roasted hanger steak with crispy shallots & mashed potatoes au jus is sensational. Abigail offers one of New York's finest cooking classes several days each week with a different type of cuisine featured. Camaje offers an incredible "one night stand" where you are the chef and the dining room is your "house". Unique and inventive, Abigail Hitchcock offers a warm spirit to go along with her superb cuisine.
Lovely litttle joint, I must say. All food sampled by my mate & I had quiet yet knowing flavor and a loving touch to it. Service was attentive and even engaging. If you're lucky enough to be with a lover, sink yourselves in the sofas by the front and spend a long snuggly evening sipping wine or tea, sampling the eclectic plates, and pulling some of the random books out from beneath the coffee table for additional subjects of chat.
Another shared this on 10/12/06: Casual, comfy atmosphere that is very serious about the food and wine. Service was attentive and charming and the meal was fresh and inventive franco-american fare. I get lost in the plush couches while sampling their extensive tea list and checking emails; perhaps treating myself to an intense chocolate-banana crepe. Chef/owner also hosts intimate cooking classes right in the bistro. A very cool village retreat.
From the corner of MacDougal and Houston the garnet-colored awning bearing the name gently invites you to venture over and take a seat in the shade thusly being transported to a different place. Time moves a bit slower, and the atmosphere eases away the cares of the moment as if to prepare your mind and palette for what is to come. Seating is low in numbers and close in spacing but you never feel crowded...
As a Christmas gift, I was given a one-night class at Camaje cooking classes. The course for the evening at the West Village French bistro that my benefactor chose to enroll me in was “A Taste of Thai.” This was the first cooking class I had taken since seventh grade home economics, and I couldn’t wait...
CamaJe achieves more with a casual shrug than many restaurants do with a night’s worth of preening and posturing. The secret? This place is serious about food.
City Search 10/02/06:
I went to Camaje recently to celebrate my birthday and found it to be wonderful in every way. The service was lovely, never rushing me or anyone in my party, but still being attentive. The food was some of the best I've had in the city. I'm a big fan of Hanger steak and Camaje's was truly wonderful. I also tried the crabcake and souflee, both of which receive a strong A+ in my book. The rest of my party all raved about their food as well. And to top off the night, the waitstaff put a candle in my souflee before bringing it out to me, a lovely, understated way to wish me a happy birthday (and certainly nicer than the waitstaff becoming an amatuer choir). I would suggest this restaurant to anyone, they make you feel like you're home with friends and the quality of the food is terriffic. Earnest was very nice.
“Wonderful French-American bistro fare comes in 'cozy' quarters at this 'laid-back' Village 'refuge'; factor in 'reasonable prices' and 'terrific cooking classes and wine tastings', and it’s a puzzle why it remains largely 'undiscovered.'" Food 22 Decor 17 Service 18 Cost $33
Abby received her Sommelier Certification on July 25
We have been to Camaje several times over the past year and have never had bad experience. Anything on the menu is worth ordering. I prefer the shrimp and avacado sandwich but was sad to see the smoked salmon off the menu the last time I was there. Kobe beef burger was excellent thanks to the advice of the waiter on how to have it cooked. Great after-dinner teas and coffees, too. Favorite undiscovered place in NYC.
French-heavy, Pan-European cuisine sans attitude provides the ideal ingredients for a relaxed Sunday brunch. Often featuring live jazz during that time, Camaje fills up quickly as it only seats about 30 at its tables and couches. Dishes range from the $7.50 BLT to the $8 Polish kielbasa, but Franco dishes like $24 filet mignon in a puffy pastry steal the show. The make-your-own crepe option really rounds out a menu that has something for everyone. The bar itself doesn’t stay open late, but it does possess an unusually large array of wines along with a few beers that are worth sampling if you’ve just stopped in to wet your beak while people-watching from one of these coveted outdoor tables.
"Outstanding" French bistro fare "made with care" keeps cost-conscious fans returning to this "quiet" Village "oasis" ... P.S. the chef hosts "great cooking classes" three days a week.
This "serious" Village restaurant "masquerading as a cafe" serves a "fabulous" French bistro menu in a "small" but "human" setting; "understated" and "nontrendy", it's "rarely overcrowded", allowing for "relaxing" grazing with "no pressure to rush your meal." Food rating: 23
TimeOut NY Eating and Drinking Guide 2003:
A coffee table and a set of worn, overstuffed couches in the front of CamaJe's small dining room make it seem like the perfect place to plop down with a laptop and latte. Do not. Despite its apparent devil-may-care attitude, CamaJe is serious about its food--the point is to eat out, not hang out. A hearty duck confit appetizer--the slick, dark meat of the leg paired with tangy raspberry vinaigrette--could double as an entree. What follows are generous main courses: a chunk of roasted halibut sprinkled with capers and chopped olives, and a brined pork tenderloin that boldly carries the flavor of its cumin rub. The only problem with this modest operation turning out so many ambitious dishes is that the kitchen seems overworked: One weeknight dinner turned into a tortuously slow (if finely prepared) three-hour meal. Any wisecracking diners offering to expedite matters by cooking their own food should be prepared to backed it up: CamaJe's amateur-hour program lets regular folks spend an afternoon doing prep work with chef Abigail Hitchcock.
Zagat Survey 2002:
"Dont tell" beg discoverers of this "undiscovered" Village French-American bistro thats "amazing in all respects", from the "creative" cooking to the overall "laid-back", "sexy" vibe.
TimeOutNY 2002 Guide, Eating and Drinking:
CamaJe takes creature comforts seriously, offering diners a choice of sitting at one of the distressed-wood tables or, more appealingly, on the assortment of couches, cushions and glittery blankets gathered around a magazine-stacked coffee table. The food, a well-rounded selection of French-inflected brasserie plates, sandwiches, salads and soups, has something to sate every degree of hunger. The kitchen endows even the simplest items with a distinctive character. A beet salad with walnuts and chopped egg is big and well-seasoned, and the roasted hanger steak with mashed potatoes and plenty of jus will quell the fiercest appetite. The homemade desserts are indulgent, especially the crepes with banana chunks and dreamy roasted chocolate sauce. In addition to its balanced menu, CamaJe offers a large selection of beer from around the world, a short wine list and an assortment of high-end teas. Sip away as you ponder the good fortune of having wandered into this obscure little haven.
Gerry Franks where to find it, buy it, eat it in new york 2002-2003:
They might not be great interior decorators, but they know how to cook a great meal. In tiny quarters (capacity 20 or so), this cozy French bistro will bring back memories of some wonderful little place you discovered in Paris. Camaje is one of those New York restaurants that few know about; however, diners who know it return often. From the moment delicious crusty bread arrives to the excellent homemade desserts everything is wholesome and tasty. I dont think Ive ever had a better sandwich than their shrimp salad with avocado (only $6.50 if you can believe that). Theres the three-onion soup gratinee, smoked trout salad, a half-dozen sandwiches, crostini, small plates, meat and fish entrees, and veggie side dishes. You can create your own three-ingredient crêpe, if you desire. By all means, try one of their crêpes sucrées for dessert: my favorite was a chocolate ice cream crêpe with caramel sauce. Another plus is the large selection of quality teas; for a change, my iced tea was the real thing.
CAMAJE 85 MacDougal Street New York, NY 212-673-8184