A Surprisingly Delicious Dinner
Restaurant Type: American
Sometimes going to a place without having high expectations can bring a pleasant surprise to a diner, and that is just what happened to us when we visited Central Park Restaurant in Pasadena last week.
I had been here a few times before for breakfast and on a couple of occasions for lunch, and I thought the food was ok, but not really memorable. So when Tracy and her mom wanted to go here for dinner, I figured it would be fine, but not necessarily something to write home about. As it turned out, I was wrong.
On its website it says that Central Park “specializes in mouth watering steaks, fresh fish, hand-crafted pastas and gourmet pizza.” The menu actually has numerous interesting dishes to choose from, and you can look up and see the various pictures of movie and television stars on the wall.
I started off with one of the best salads I’ve had in quite some time. The Napa Valley Field Greens, with Brandied Cherries, Candied Walnuts, Goat Cheese & Mandarin Orange Vinaigrette ($7.95) was terrific, highlighted by those brandied cherries.
We were also supplied with an ample amount of warm garlic bread with oil and vinegar. I could immediately tell that this evening was not going help us on our diet.
Tracy and her mom were also quite satisfied with their choice, the House Salad Baby Greens with Yellow & Red Tomatoes. House Vinaigrette ($5.95).
Our dinner choices consisted of beef, chicken and fish, with me, of course, going the cattle route. I opted for Braised Boneless Short Ribs Slow cooked with Caramelized Vegetables & Red Wine, served with Yukon Gold Garlic Mashed Potatoes, laden with rich Natural Jus ($19.50). The short ribs were cooked to perfection.
Tracy’s mom ordered the Pressed Brick Chicken Boneless Herb rubbed half Chicken with Balsamic glaze. Served with Yukon Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Vegetables ($17.95). She usually doesn’t have that big an appetite, but by the time she was done, the plate hardly had to be washed.
Finally, Tracy had the Sand Dabs With Lemon Caper Sauce Pacific Sand Dabs lightly seasoned, Sautéed & topped with Lemon Beurre Blanc Sauce. Served with Yukon Gold Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Sautéed Vegetables ($18.25). That made it three for three on this night. There wasn’t a bad dish in the bunch.
I had read on Yelp (whose reviews I often do not trust) that the service at Central Park Restaurant was extremely slow, however our server was nice and attentive, and the overall service was spot on. Sadly we were too stuffed for dessert, but when I come back (and I will) I must try the Butterscotch Pot de Crème that sounded so good. A great meal at a great price with great service equals a great night in my book. Give this place a try.
MaiTaiTom Rating Food + Ambiance + Value = 4.1 maitais (out of 5)
Central Park Restaurant
219 South Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105
Parking : Small (free) Lot or metered parking
Hours: Monday – Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. • Friday 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. • Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.