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Apr 18, 2010 03:48 PM

Centro tapas bar - Federal Hill

My husband and I went to eat at the Centro Tapas bar on light street in Federal Hill. This restaurant was recommended to me on Chowhound, so I thought I'd put down some thoughts about our experience.

We loved the ambience. The kitchen is open, the lighting was low, the music was latin and it wasn't blaring. The tables were a nice wood, and they had these cute little vases with lavendar stems placed on each. The staff were wearing jeans, which I thought was really cool. I love it when you can go to work in your jeans. It was a very informal but classy enviroment with welcoming energy coming from everyone.

We got four dishes: The first was the Capacha which is a sweet corn pancake with cheese on top. We got this because we heard from reviews that this was a really good dish. I was a little disappointed. The dish had too much oil, and the pancake was soft. I thought it might have worked much better if they cooked it lightly in oil so that it was crisp on the outside and warm on the inside. The choice of cheese on top, I also thought could have been more flavorful.

The second dish was the Gambas al Ajillo, which is shrimp and garlic cooked in a cast iron griddle. This was a good dish. The shrimp were tasty and cooked perfectly. It came out in the skillet, so my husband and I could turn over the shrimp and sear it on both sides before eating.

The third dish we ordered was amazing. It was the free range chicken wings. So incredibly yummy and so well cooked. WOW. If you like chicken wings, I highly recommend these flavorful, juicy morsels.

The fourth dish we had was the pork belly. AMAZING, again. So tender, the pork literally melts in your mouth and I had forgotten how much I miss and love hominy. The hominy went really well with pork (as it usually does-have you ever had pork and hominy stew-YUM).

We ended with churros con chocolate. As soon as I saw this plate, I was so incredibly excited, I ate the whole thing before my husband could have any. The fritters are perfectly cooked. Crunchy yet light on the outside and like air, melt in your mouth on the inside. And the chocolate is incredible. We loved this dish so much, we actually ordered it again, and then again. So, we had three of these dishes.

We will be going back to this restaurant. While, I felt the first dish could have been prepared better, overall, the ambience, the service and the food were amazing.

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  1. My husband and I had dinner there last night and we agree that it was very tasty. We started with the Sobrasada Mallorquina, which was advertised as a spreadable sausage. It was, indeed, soft, but it was sliced, so not very spreadable, though it was delicious. We next had a grilled calamari special that was excellent--tender and smokey and I think it was a cilantro sauce (great bread to mop up the plates, too). We also had the heart of palms special (speared on bamboo toothpicks with a slice of avocado and cilantro) recommended by the server, who noted that it was light but delicious. Next was the Arepa Mechada (Venezuelan corn masa topped with pulled oxtail meat, fried egg, avocado) which was an interesting mix of flavors. Worth trying, though. Our last tapas was Churros de Pescado, crispy rockfish fritters w/almond aioli. Again, not my favorite, but good. I finished the meal with Quesillo de Coco, basically flan, but thicker than any flan I've ever had before. Very good, but you have to like flan. Overall, we really liked the vibe of the place--hip, but friendly. We'll be back and will be telling friends about it!