Centeno's stamp on Bar Celona menu
Recently checked out the new menu at Bar Celona in Pasadena, and it's definitely a winner. Before Chef Josef Centeno swept in for his consulting gig, this was yet another waste of space in Old Town; great atmosphere, but no substance or style when it came to the food. Now it's a different story.
The menu features tapas that you would actually find in Spain: fried anchovies with a touch of honey (believe me, these are addictive); chicken liver conserva [pate] on crispy toasts, blistered padron peppers with just a touch of sea salt, charred bread rubbed with raw garlic and tomatoes. This is the kind of food I love to eat, and paired with one of the selections from the restaurant's new wine list (Centeno also consulted on this), well, it's all I need for a good night out. To finish? I highly recommend the chilled cinnamon rice pudding with candied pecans and caramel.
We had a really good dinner there last Friday. We'd been in the past, and it was OK, but the food was definitely of higher quality this time around. I cannot say the same for the service, which was a bit off. They forgot our cheese plate, but tried to bring us two charcuterie plates when we'd only ordered one. A request for sangria with very little ice gave us a glass that was about 3/4 full of ice, which meant I had to spend a few minutes picking it out. That was no fun.
But I'm sure we'll be returning again soon so we can continue to work our way through the menu. My basic feeling after reading it was, "Yes, please."