Friday, November 29, 2002

The Restaurant I Ate at Last Night XVI
I've been cooking more at home and bringing lunch into work, per the goal mentioned in the Nov. 11 entry in this standing topic, but I haven't really continued the new restaurant exploration tour. Wednesday night, however, Hiromi and I went to Centro, a restaurant managed by the folks behind the Good Life on Central Square -- and located right next door. What an amazing dinner. The restaurant focuses on regional cooking from Italy, changing its menu every two months to concentrate on a new region. Right now, they're about three weeks into a menu drawn from cuisine in the Piedmont region, a relatively mountainous region in northern Italy -- and a region characterized by heavier ingredients. The bread and white bean spread with sundried tomatoes was awesome. But the parsnip chowder I had, which was prepared with pancetta and shrimp, wasn't overly impressive in its flavoring. Good, but not great. Then the chef surprised us with a gratis second course, gnocchi with a shaved squash garnish. The gnocchi was the best gnocchi I've ever, ever eaten. Handmade that morning, it practically melted in our mouths, and this is one dish that I'd highly recommend at Centro -- anything gnocchi. Continuing on, my entree was the sole, which was prepared well -- extremely light, flaky, and tender -- but confusingly. They wrapped the fish up into little spirals! I say confusing because I'm unsure whether it was wrapped like that when it was cooked -- or solely (pun not intended) for presentation. I forget what Hiromi had for her entree -- she started with a vegetable torte that looked awfully quiche-like -- but she had bread pudding for dessert. I, as I am usually wont to do in slightly more fancy restaurants, indulged in a glass of port. While the prices do run on the high side, if you're looking for a varied eating experience -- I'm sure to return to Centro in about two months' time to see what region they've moved onto -- and if you're a foodie who like a little education with your mastication, you can't beat Centro's wait staffs explanations of where the recipes come from, why the ingredients were selected, and how they'll prepare the dish for you. I've not learned more about what I was about to eat in a long time. Impressive. And quite satisfying.

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