Archive for July 20th, 2006

This year for restaurant week, I’ve been keeping under the radar.  I think it’s mostly because I’ve already either eaten at all the places I want to go to or I can’t get reservations.  I truly believe that all food bloggers should be treated like royalty in the food industry.  GIVE ME A TABLE AND I WILL WRITE GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOUR FOOD…  but I guess the restaurant week menu could always suck and thus the former not happening. 

Where do I want to go? [just to name a few]
. Gramercy Tavern
. Nobu [again]
. One if by Land, Two if by Sea [on a date]
. Brasserie 8 1/2 [everyone’s already been]
. Mercer Kitchen
. Chanterelle

I had reservations for Smith & Wollensky, but I ended up cancelling them-twice by the busy schedule of one person.  I could always hop by for lunch since I work so close so it’s all good.

The twin made reservations to Cafe Centro for Friday so I went along.  Cafe Centro is owned by Rapatina, which includes restaurants like Brasserie and the Rock Center Cafe. 

What is seemingly a casual and everyday-ish restaurant turns out to be pretty schmancy on the inside.  The interior of the restaurant really steps away from the hustle and bustle of Midtown.  I walk by this place everyday and would never think of going there for restaurant week.  It’s a place for a nice quick outdoor lunch to me.  After looking at the a la carte prices, I now know- this is definitely midtown.  Average entree cost is $25, which incedentally happened to be the cost of our bottle of wine- after a 25% discount, that is.  [We ordered a bottle of Pinot Grigio.]

When we sat down, we were presented with loaves of bread, butter, and this mysterious spread- and olives.  Only Richard ate the olives b/c none of us seemed to have acquired a taste for them in our 20 some odd years on this Earth.  Back to this mysterious spread.  At first, I thought it was garlic butter.  Then, I had a closer taste test and realized it was cheesier.  It turns out that they combined several cheeses [goat cheese & blue cheese being two] with green onions to make it. 

pre app
*pst! it’s on the right

For my appetizer, I chose the seared tuna with hearts of palm and it came with a bitty salad on the side.  There was also crab salad as a selection, which of course, I can’t eat.  The tuna was good and fresh.  I would’ve liked some mesclun but that’s just me.  You all know what a mesclun salad eating freak I am.  Unfortunately, I can’t share my experience with the crab, but I didn’t hear any complaints about it.

tuna     crab salad

For my main course, I got duck confit.  It came with corn rhubarb, spinach, and a strawberry reduction sauce.  Rhubarb is a plant that is sour and mostly used as a fruit in pies like this corn rhubarb piece.  The presentation was nice but it’s impossible to eat a tower of duck and trimmings so I took my tower apart.  It turns out I’m not a fan of rhubarb and I think I’ve had it before… somewhere.  The strawberry reduction was too sweet for me, but it was tolerable in tiny doses.  Most of the guys, however, got the steak.  It came with potatoes, tiny stripes of fried onions, and truffles with a kick-ass unidentified sauce.  I dipped my duck into the steak sauce and it was fab.  Phil didn’t like his potatoes because it was room temperature and he thought it was undercooked.  Rich and I thought it was delish with the sauce and the cheesey herb spread.

duck confit
duck in layers

steak         steak

Cafe Centro has changed their pastry chef so they are no longer offering soufles, much to the dismay of my friend Jon.  They did offer blueberry crisp and chocolate cake.  The blueberry crisp is made up of blueberries, some type of breaded shell, marscapone cream, and fried lemon crisps.  It was too sweet for my taste buds but it was still yummo.  Especially the marscapone.  The chocolate cake came with fresh whipped cream, strawberries, chocolate chocolate [the zigzag thing], and some type of sauce. 

 blueberry       chocolate

 It was a good dinner all in all.  It wasn’t the best and it’s not the worst.  Was it worth the $35 price tag?  Not really.  But good effort on behalf of Cafe Centro though.  I would come back for lunch and just do entree without all the extras.


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