- Michael Florey Apr 11, 2014 08:57 PM
Went to the Zentral soft opening tonight. Truly exceeded expctations. The space is intimate, comfortable and classic. The food was superb and inspired. The open kitchen is full of joy and precision. The wines are hors classe and work seamlessly with the food. The staff polished, mature and kind. Just loved the experience.
Glad to hear it. I had a disappointly average experience at Meritage recently, primarily due to what I perceived to be taking shortcuts with details. I'll post something in a Meritage thread.
I walked by just about and hour ago and it looks like they're open (staff prepping in the kitchen, tables all set, etc.). yet their sign says they're not taking reservations earlier than April 21st (next Monday). Aare they open or? Oh, and how does one find one's self on an invitation list for soft openings?
Usually if you are a regular guest at an existing restaurant, member of their email club or rewards program you will get an invite to a soft opening.
Vendors and reps from the various food and beverage companies.
Family and friends of staff.
Industry insiders like local restaurant owners, restaurant reviewers, media insiders, etc. Anyone that will help spread the word about the new place.
I went this evening and also had a wonderful experience. There were four of us and Zentral offers a number of small plates, so we were able to try a good variety. Don't know if they will all remain on the menu next week when they open, but I can highly recommend the outstanding white asparagus & hazelnut cream soup, whole halibut tail, gnocchi (light, billowy, among the best I've ever had), ravioli stuffed with nettle and served with spring peas, spaetzle with roasted rabbit and mushrooms, the whole roasted chicken stuffed with foie gras and an inspired foie gras sampler that I personally can't report on but my dining companions loved. We also had an artichoke gratin that was very good, altho richer than I would prefer for a side dish. The menu is fascinating; offerings that are fresh, intriguing, and unlike anything else here in the cities.
There's a vast wine list, including wines from Croatia and Hungary. I'd report in detail on our delicious cocktails if only I could remember what was in them... our favorites were the Lawnmower and something-something Lena. Be warned--the Lena packs a real punch.
Deserts all round were excellent, in particular a tangy black current sorbet and an incredibly delicious, clean and fresh tasting pear sorbet.
The environment is lovely but relaxed, and service was excellent. The train runs right outside its windows, or if you prefer to drive, parking is easy, with lots in the building and across the street on the other side of 5th ($4 for the entire evening). I'm very excited about this new venture, and looking forward to many more dinners there. And lunches, because lucky me, it's just two blocks from where I work.