Daily Archives: February 19, 2012

Centolire: 1167 Madison ave. NY NY


My aunt chose Centolire as the restaurant to celebrate my beloved Grandmother’s 96th birthday in, and what a perfect choice it was. There was an elevator to get to the upstairs dining area, and we were seated at a comfortable table near the windows. The decor is tasteful and cheery with fresh flowers, lots of sunlight streaming in, and orange and gold banquets. The service which was slightly on the formal side, was incredible knowledgable and attentive, save for some empty water glasses towards the end of our meal.

A $25 3 course prix fix was a very reasonable cost for a fine quality meal and the menu was full of so many appealing dishes that we all had a tough time choosing. Luckily for me, my boyfriend and I have very similar taste in food and were happy to share everything, so we were each able to try 6 dishes instead of just 3.

The fresh Italian bread that arrived in a basket alongside delicious olive oil was a good indication of the food to follow. Wonderfully fresh and high quality, the excellent olive oil was clearly carefully selected.

We began with our appetizers: a risotto topped with a bacon wrapped scallop and a baby artichoke, arugula salad with parmesan. Both were fantastic, and even though the one lonely scallop looked like not quite enough to share, it really was. Cooked to perfection and wrapped with a thick slice of bacon, this was amazing on top of the creamy, cheesy risotto and had we opted for the entree sized portion of it, it would have been too much. The salad was simple but fresh and delicious, and the thick slices of parmesan on top were again clearly of high quality.

For one of our entrees we chose the grilled salmon with broccoli rabe, which turned out to be good- but pretty boring. The fish was very fresh and cooked perfectly with a crisp crust. The broccoli rabe had large sliced of roasted garlic and was not at all bitter as it sometimes is. That said, the dish lacked anything exciting or original about it and we were a little disappointed with it’s simplicity.

The ‘strangled priest’ pasta with chicken ragout was a total hit. I’d never had this oddly named pasta before- they were almost like little twisted dumplings and had a great sort of springy consistency to them. The creamy, tomato-y chicken ragout had a similar texture to pulled pork and was something quite different than I’ve had before. I throughly enjoyed this dish and pretty much licked the bowl clean.

Alongside of a delicious cappuccino we shared our 2 desserts. The 2 scoops of gelato were incredible, on one side was pistacho and the other was amaretto flavor. I LOVED the amaretto one and really would have like a giant container of that one to take home. It had little ribbons of the almond cookies going through it and I was pretty much in heaven except that it was gone too quickly. The blueberry and vanilla creme tart turned out to be much more cake-y than tart-y but very good no matter what it was called. It was not too sweet but had a lovely crumbly texture and large fresh blueberries inside.

Overall, I was very pleased with Centolire, especially since the reviews online are kind of mixed and I didn’t go in with terribly high expectations. I would absolutely recommend a visit and think it’s a great choice for a date, a group or even dining alone. When we went, it was a fairly mixed clientele, centering around what seemed to be families and I got the feeling that it’s generally a local Upper East Side crowd. Bravo Centolire!



Popbar: 5 Carmine st. NY NY


Gabriel and I *almost* ruined our appetites here before going for dinner the other night, but decided to hold off until afterwards. It was the cute storefront that drew us in, and the clever hot chocolate presentation that got us to purchase a cup each. Displayed in the glass case as little chocolate bars on popsicle sticks, the hot chocolate includes one block of milk, dark or white chocolate on a stick and a cup of steamed milk. I had the milk chocolate choice and enjoyed stirring it and letting it melt into the milk. A lick of the chocolate bar gave me a nice, creamy, indulgent treat and my first sip of the drink was warm and cozy. It was a great flavor, not overly sweet, just rich and chocolatey. Yum. The price is on the high side at $3.75 each, but you are kind of paying for the novelty of it. I’m not sure I’d go back, but I really liked the idea of it and plan to make some at home myself with a chocolate bar and milk steamed in my little at-home-frother. Yum. Thanks for the idea!

Ido Sushi: 29 7th ave south. NY NY


It sounded like a great deal. $39 for up to $98 dollars worth of sushi and drinks. The specific details said: 2 glasses of wine or beer, 1 hot or cold appetizer and a sushi/sashimi/maki roll dinner for 2. When we arrived and we seated, the deal seemed to change a bit. First of all, the total was up to $91 worth. The wine or beer was only the ‘house’ type, not what we actually wanted. (and pretty bad, probably from a box) and the appetizers couldn’t exceed $15. When we totaled our meal up it actually came to around $85. Although it was still a nice deal, I did not appreciate that it mysteriously changed from the description and the waitress, quite frankly, was pretty rude and dismissive about it. When I showed her the original offer on my Iphone, she simply said ‘That’s not how we do it, it was a typo”. Oooookay, thanks.

As far as the food goes, we started with the scallops and mushroom appetizer which was tasty, but tiny. If we’d actually paid the full $15 price for it, I would have been very disappointed. The sushi/sashimi/maki roll platter was very good quality, presented quickly and attractively, but really wasn’t as much food as we had expected. We finished everything in about 10 minutes and left with bellies that needed more. We actually ended up hitting another sushi place (Miyabi on West 3rd which is quite excellent, though I did not blog it this time…) a couple of hours later because we were still feeling hungry. Kind of hilarious, but also a ridiculous waste of money that we didn’t really want to spend.

Had this meal been at it’s full price, I would have been appalled. We could have gone to Yuka (one of our favorites uptown that offers a $25 all you can eat deal) and been MUCH happier. As it were, after leaving the 18% tip and tax, this meal cost us about $60 and we were not impressed. Although the atmosphere was cute and cozy, and there was a pretty good live jazz trio playing, the seats were uncomfortable, the food was overpriced and the service was nasty. I would not return.