All About Salad at Centro

Centro Restaurant & Bar 1435 Post Rd. Fairfield, CT 06410 (203) 255-1210 Last weekend, Mom and I sauntered into Centro not knowing w...

Centro Restaurant & Bar
1435 Post Rd.
Fairfield, CT 06410
(203) 255-1210


Last weekend, Mom and I sauntered into Centro not knowing what to expect. Wondering whether we could get a table at 7:30 on a Saturday night, we searched for someone to scribble our name on the waiting list. Mission accomplished. While we stood in the take-out foyer, the sight of the food in the glass showcase—the orecchiette pasta caked with coagulated pink sauce next to the chicken florentine with its yellowy twinge—made me cringe. Think pot-luck picnic lunch left in 90-degree heat for eight hours. I know...I made the same face you're making right now.

Here's the good news: The food you get when you sit down is actually worth celebrating with a fat glass of merlot. So is the inviting atmosphere: mustard-colored walls, pine branches draping over high arcs, yellow ochre lighting...Okay, so I wasn't transported to Tuscany, but for Downtown Fairfield, I couldn't complain.  

Served in a warm, honey-colored bowl, the roughly-chopped fennel with grapefruit, oranges, and candied walnuts in a light, citrus-basil vinaigrette was prime pick as a starter. It doesn't get any better than bitter grapefruit, sweet orange, and salty-sweet walnuts charged with the freshness of basil. A flavor explosion that had me spooning out the remaining droplets of vinaigrette. The fennel could have been more delicately sliced for a more ethereal feel on the tongue, but I could understand the whole rustic quality they attempted to convey. Or were they simply pressed for time? Either way, my taste buds couldn't tell.

For dinner, I ordered the Spinach-Goat Cheese Salad, which would have been even more delightful had the waitress heeded my kind request for dressing on the side. I wasn't going to sit there and grunt; I was too hungry. Nonetheless, I was pleased with the fine combination of baby spinach leaves glossed with a light balsamic vinaigrette, with the tangy-fruity combination of sun dried tomatoes (too thinly julienned and a bit too oily), roasted red peppers and marinated eggplant (again, a bit oily). But the prize of this plate was the lushly warm, creamy goat cheese encased in a Panko breadcrumb crust. The crackling sound of my fork breaking through the delicate ball rendered a pavlovian response: I drooled.

Mom, who changed her mind three times and almost made me rip the menu out of her hand in a hypoglycemic rage, finally ordered the thin crust pizza Margherita. This was probably the best $10 she'd spent in a long time. Despite the sallow, starchy tomatoes on top, the supple yet crispy crust, garlic-charged mozzarella and freshly chopped basil = total redemption. Perfect for two to share with a salad and a few glasses of wine. 

I left Centro well-sated and serene, ready to flip off my boots, flop on my couch and giggle at Lucille Ball stomping on grapes through the TV screen. 

I'd go back again. For sure. I just hope they clear out the day-old pasta in the front foyer. At least for the sake of those who judge a restaurant within seconds after they enter it.

Check out their Web site, www.centroristorante.com, for more details. They do catering and have a reasonable To-Go Special: Homemade pasta & sauce with Caesar salad, brick-oven bread and marinated olives...$15.95 for 2 and under $30 for 4.  That sounds like a delicious deal to me. If you happen to try it before I do, let me know the verdict!

;) Holly



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...BUT AT LEAST MY HAIR STILL LOOKS GREAT!
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