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Centrolina, Chef Amy Brandwein's and Pastry Chef Caitlin Dysart's Italian Restaurant and Market in Palmer Alley - City Center

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Any recent reports?  I'll be heading there in the near future and welcome any highlights.

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10 hours ago, KMango said:

I'll be heading there in the near future and welcome any highlights.

Pasta. Let me know when you're going, and I'll examine the current menu.

I'd be all over this:

CASUNSEI pinched ravioli, braised beef, swiss chard, raisin butter, lemon zest 24

It has been four years, but it was great when I last had it. (Also, I still remember the octopus I had in that meal.)

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On 10/18/2019 at 7:37 PM, KMango said:

Any recent reports?  I'll be heading there in the near future and welcome any highlights.

If anything I feel like Centrolina get's slightly better every time I go.  I've yet to try any of the "mains" just because I tend to fill up on apps and then a pasta.  Photos from last time I went - in particular I was a huge fan of the squid  ink tuna sausage pasta:

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For only the second time since early March, we went out and enjoyed a civilized dinner last weekend. We've had such good experiences this year with Piccolina, and also with a carryout meal at Centrolina, that we decided it had earned our business and then some.

Centrolina is now set up the way all fine-dining restaurants will one day be set up: You pay in advance, just like you would if you were going to an opera (and you're always free to transfer your reservation to someone else). Many people were dining outdoors, but the dining room was as safe and well-spaced as it could be - no diners were within fifteen feet of each other - and we took a booth near the kitchen, and enjoyed a pre-paid Tasting Menu ($68) - note that they only serve this Fri-Sat nights, and it changes each week, so this is already outdated:

PalmerAlley.jpg Menu.jpg

We enjoyed a bottle of 2018 Angelo Negro Arneis ($56) which was on the by-the-glass lists (there are two lists), under the section titled "Skin Contact 'Orange' & Natural" - Amy Brandwein's kitchen does really good work with seafood, so I knew I wanted something white, dry, and acidic - this worked with the entire menu, although we did get a half-pour (you can get half-pours) of red with the duck course.

Wine.jpg

The amuse-bouche was my dish of the night. Swordfish Carpaccio with slices of wild cherry was as good as it could possibly be. Absurdly thin, I remember thinking what a brilliant way this was to start the meal, because despite its ample appearance, this was really just a couple of nibbles, and it was an elegant way to begin without costing the restaurant a lot of money. Look how pretty this is:

Carpaccio.jpg

The first course was the Capesante ("scallop" in Italian :)) - a single scallop, halved, with garlic scape and creamed corn, and it was as good as it looks. Imagine just how well this wine paired with these first two items (when I dine well, I dine slowly, and these early courses were savored with the respect they deserved: This is not food you cook at home).

Scallops.jpg

Next was the first heavier course, the Uovo ("egg" in Italian) - a single, large farmer's raviolo (I'm actually not sure what a "farmer's raviolo" is - perhaps it's this next ingredient inside?), runny egg, and basil pesto. This was a course, the likes of which I haven't seen in forever, and my only quibble is that the force of both the pesto and cheese tended to dominate the delicacy of the pasta and egg. That was, of course, by design, but I wish the pesto and cheese had been undertones instead of the primary focus of the dish (I am nitpicking here, and it's *so* refreshing to have complex dishes such as this, that are worth nitpicking).

Uovo.jpg

After the raviolo came a Bread Plate (which I originally thought would have been nice to have with the raviolo, but the kitchen had other plans).

Bread.jpg

The reason we didn't get the bread earlier was because the kitchen brought out an extra little dish: Maccheroni ("macaroni" in Italian (*)), a simple plate of al dente macaroni with a simple pomodoro ("tomato" in Italian) sauce. Easily the homiest dish of the night, and much appreciated even though it pushed us both into the "stuffed" end of the hunger spectrum..

Macaroni.jpg

With the Anatra ("duck" in Italian), spiced duck breast, fennel gratin, and red wine grappa, we ordered half-pours of the 2017 Alessandra Veggio Nebbiolo (Langhe, $7.50 per half-pour). Centrolina's wonderful wine director, Alissa Wilmina Diaz, recommended this, but also gave us a taste of their Sangiovese first, which was my initial choice (she was right; I was wrong - this course called for a more assertive red). This was another in a string of very good dishes that were (this might sound trite) both simple and complex, the scalloped layers of fennel being an absolute joy to attack, and the duck having a correct ratio of fat-to-lean, and with a nice sear on the skin.

Duck.jpg

Back to the Arneis with the dessert course: Torta ("cake" in Italian) di Formaggio ("cheese" in Italian), cheesecake with amaretti and yellow peach, which was gone so quickly that I scarcely remember "why" it was so good; only *that* it was so good.

Cheesecake.jpg

In all, a really pleasant, much-appreciated couple of hours spent at Amy Brandwein's baby. We didn't see her working the line, but we "felt" her presence during the meal, and sure enough, she stopped by the table just before we left to say hello, so she was there the entire evening. $68 for this meal, with this level of service, was money well-spent.

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I made plans to go to Centrolina this weekend.  Will be ordering a la carte.  Saw this on the website

Quote

As with everything in nature, things have to change & evolve. To prioritize the health and safety of our guests and staff, our dining experience involves 6-foot spacing at all times, disposable dinnerware upon request, an hour and forty-five minute limit for each seating, and pre-ordering to limit interactions.

How am I supposed to pre-order?  

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47 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I made plans to go to Centrolina this weekend.  Will be ordering a la carte.  Saw this on the website

How am I supposed to pre-order?  

I pre-ordered the tasting menu online, but ordered (and paid for) the wines when I was at the restaurant. There's a $35 cancellation fee if you don't cancel within 24 hours, and I suspect that's what "pre-ordering" means when it comes to à la carte (simply leaving your credit card number).

I suggest going to this link, clicking through, and doing whatever you need to do - selecting "Standard Seating," unless you want to roast on the patio.

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We had dinner outside over the weekend.  It was warm but mostly shaded as the tables were set in an alley between two buildings. 

The linguine and clam pasta is no longer on the menu but there was a clam (VONGOLE) and lamb sausage appetizer on the menu.  Unfortunately an order only had 4 clams.  That did not satisfy our appetite (due to the number of clams, they were otherwise very tasty).  Because it was warm, we ordered the NICOISE salad with seared rare tuna, and AFFETATI MISTI with veal & rabbit terrine, mortadella, prosiutto, and salami which came with some fried bread.   I would definitely get the salad again.  The complimentary bread basket included some decent focaccia.

Our pastas included  FETTUCCINE , the white bolognese sauce tasted like good southern white sausage gravy, and MACCHERONI with a red sauce lamb ragu.  Both pastas had great texture.  We also had a side of CAVOLO - charred napa cabbage with calabrian chile, agave nectar, and chives rubbed in.  So half of head of napa cabbage was grilled and served whole.  I don't know if this is an Italian spin on kim chi or what but they eventually brought out a steak knife so I can actually cut the napa cabbage.  It tasted a little spicy but otherwise kind of bland.

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5 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

MACCHERONI with a red sauce lamb ragu.  Both pastas had great texture.

(*) Most importantly, I now know how (say those three words ten times fast) to spell macaroni in Italian - I didn't have any idea.

I also think that both pastas (the pastas themselves) I had were texturally brilliant.

Finally, up above is the first asterisk spanning multiple posts that I've ever written.

It delights me endlessly that people are sitting in front of their screens, saying "now know how now know how now know how now know how ...." The first few times are easy, but it invariably ends up sounding like "hell no."

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A wonderful week weather-wise after Isaias blew through earlier int he week.  It was still warm outside but not stroke-inducing so the patio at Centrolina was much more enjoyable.

I started with a fritto misto of calamari and cod.  The breading was light and crispy - more like tempura than authentic Italian but very good nonetheless.  The manzo ( marinated charred flank steak, baby carrots, potato crosta, salsa verde), while cooked beautifully in the wood oven to medium rare, tasted only of smoke and not much else.  It was also a bit chewy (at $28, maybe that's to be expected).  The piselli (wilted pea shoots, peas, carmelized onion, guanciale) made eating greens pleasurable - I suspect lots of animal fat enhanced the flavor of the peas.

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