Centre Park Grill is a new restaurant in Ellicott City, located in the old Café de Paris spot. I first learned about Centre Park Grill via a tweet from Bare Midriff’s.
I decided to take my friend Arman with me to check it out.
On opening weekend, we arrived at the Centre Park Grill around 5:30 on a Friday to a fairly crowded and loud restaurant. Most people were at the bar, which is not in its own secluded spot, but is located in the middle of the restaurant.
I expected a more formal atmosphere for a place that serves upscale cuisine. However, it had a cozy and lively feel.
The service was amazing. Our waitress constantly refilled our water glasses and regularly asked us about our meals. Even the owner came by to check on us.
Usually when I receive bread at restaurants, they offer me a slab or stick of butter. However, Center Park Grill does it right with creamy churned butter. The subtle difference is evident as this butter is easier to spread and just rich and whipped goodness. The bread had a nice sweetness, similar to Panettone bread (Italian fruitcake) but without the tiny fruit pieces.
For my entree, I selected the 14 oz prime New York strip (cooked medium) with truffle butter. For my two complementary sides, I choose the bourbon glazed sautéed mushrooms and the "lil butter n' cream" sweet mash potatoes.
The presentation made my mouth water. I'm a sauteed mushroom fan and these mushrooms were out of this world - buttery, savory, and soft. I could have easily eaten two portions.
The steak was equally as delicious. Easy to cut thanks to the largest steak knife I've ever seen. The slight crisp on the outside, coupled with the flavorings of the truffle butter on the moist, tender meat, made for a crazy good meal.
The sweet mashed potatoes were also excellent. They were more of a puree than mashed potatoes, all smooth and no chunks. This side dish comes right out of the oven hot and ready (maybe a little too hot because I had to wait a while for it to cool down so I didn't burn my mouth).
I also ordered the house salad with my meal. I liked the combination of arugula, red onions, carrots, and assorted greens. My mom makes salads with these ingredients all the time so this dish hit close to home.
Arman ordered the 28-day-dry-aged ribeye with black truffle salt fries. He loved the large portion. As you can see above, this 16 oz steak nearly covered the entire plate.
My friend thought that the ribeye flavor was more bland in comparison to the New York Strip and wasn't as juicy. He would have preferred truffle butter to enhance the flavor. Also, Arman stated that the delicate yet mildly crunchy fries were one of the best fries he has ever tasted.
There are many more menu items that we'd like to try another time such as the Cubano and Salmon BLT sandwiches. There are also a variety of salads and burgers that look interesting.
Centre Park Grill has great potential. Let me know if you try it.