Friday, July 10, 2015


We'd had reasonably high hopes for the new Centrolina in City Centre -- interesting-sounding menu, throwing its hat into a ring that already has a number of excellent Italian restaurants.  Unfortunately, it's not one of them.

We almost didn't order the burrata because Adam isn't the biggest fan of eggplant caponata, but ironically the caponata was probably the best thing we ate all night -- perfectly balanced sweet-sour-savory.  The burrata itself was the worst I've ever eaten.  I usually love burrata, whether it's the excellent simplicity of 2 Amys', whatever composed combination Fiola Mare is doing, or just a run-of-the-mill version like shows up on so many menus these days.  This one was served too cold, basically unseasoned, with an unpleasantly sour center that was almost mealy in texture.  We didn't finish it, which I'm not sure I've ever done with cheese.

The carota (roasted, fried & pickled carrots, lemon, yogurt, turmeric) was much better (not a high bar, admittedly).  A creative idea, pretty plating, and carrots obviously went well with the yogurt (vaguely Middle Eastern).  I'd have liked if the fried carrots were crispier and more salted so that they stood out more against the roasted ones.

I went with the squid ink reginette with black cod (I think) and scallops, mushrooms, and butter sauce.  I'd assumed that the sauce would be a mix of chunks of seafood and mushrooms, so was totally surprised when was appeared was three large stuffed pasta pieces with buttery mushrooms on top.  The pasta itself was too dense (almost gluey) at its folded edges (although it may have been entirely fine in a single layer), and the seafood puree interior was underseasoned.  Disappointing.  (Two weird notes on the pasta: (1) I'd asked when we were deciding what to order whether it was possible to do half-portions of pasta, and the waitress responded confusingly that the chef really didn't like it but it was probably doable if we want to share a few pastas.  Either allow it or don't, but we were left entirely unsure whether we would be being difficult if we did want half-portions.  (2) Google claims reginette is a lasagna-esque flat pasta, but these were definitely stuffed.)

The whole grilled branzino was the best overall dish, presented head- and tail-on but deboned (convenient), stuffed with rosemary, on a bed of grilled scallions with a grilled lemon to spritz.  Enjoyable but not as good as the whole branzino at Nostos or Fiola Mare (which I do consider a high bar).  Minor annoyance: the fish was served on a too-small plate, with the tail hanging over the side.  I had to ask for another plate on which to put the tail/head to give me room to actually cut up the fish and scallions.

We ended with the pignoli tart served with a lightly creamy ice cream (creme fraiche, if I recall).  I like the tart -- essentially a pine nut variation on pecan pie -- but found the balsamic drizzle underneath to be overpowering.

Service was a bit odd.  The waitress was very nice and seemed to mean well, but also seemed sort of awkward and easily flustered.  White wines by the glass were served much too cold.  I think they've done a lovely job with the space, making it feel very airy despite the fact that it probably gets very little sunlight, tucked away in Palmer Alley.  Oh, and fair warning -- Google Maps thinks that the address is located a block west of where it actually is.


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