Posted March 19, 2015
By COURTNEY BARICH
If you are looking for a relaxing French meal in a charming, laid-back atmosphere, Brasserie Central is a good option for you.
Brasserie Central is a brand new Parisian restaurant in the middle of the Village of Merrick Park. Its talented owner Pascal Oudin has one other restaurant called Pascal’s that is located on Ponce.
I walked into Brasserie Central on a Tuesday afternoon with five friends and no reservation. I was not sure how long the expected waiting time was going to be, but I was satisfied by my first encounters in the restaurant.
The young hostess, Jessica, with green eyes and black hair, was delighted that we were dining there for the first time and was pleasingly friendly. She walked us over to the patio bar facing the mall courtyard and made sure that the bartender immediately took our refreshment orders. I was impressed by how well the employees communicated with each other and quickly put a table together for us.
We sat at a low wooden table with five metal low chairs. The actual seating was not to be bragged about, but the location of the table and the scenery around me was refreshing.
Our table was right outside the restaurant in the center of the Merrick Park courtyard. We were able to see the commotion around us at the mall while enjoying our own private lunch with a classic French ambiance. The patio was very green with elegant flowers, a few surrounding tables, and red umbrellas.
The minute we were seated, a staff member brought out multiple warm baguettes with roasted garlic. We were then handed the menus but were a little confused by its layout and options.
We started our meal by sharing a whole artichoke, Boudin Blanc (sausages with truffles) and Saumon Fume Ecossais. The smoked salmon appetizer was delicious. It had tomato, lettuce, red onions, and capers all mixed in a sour cream sauce.
The Boudin Blanc was cooked perfectly and was accompanied by mashed potatoes covered in sauce. The sauce had a sweet twist to it as it was made with apples and my entire table was fighting over the last bit of sauce (no one seemed to care about the mashed potatoes under it).
For my entrée, I had a small portion of the steamed mussels with French fries. The mussels were fresh and had a distinctive taste from the wine sauce they were made in. I asked for the French fries to be well done and they were crispy, golden, salty, and heavenly.
One of my friends got the French onion soup, one got the beet salad, one got the hand-cut steak tartars, and the last ordered the short ribs. The French onion soup looked rich and had melted Gruyere over the bowl. The beet salad was disappointing with barely any beets or goat cheese in it. Instead, it was filled with apples and shallot vinaigrette.
The steak tartar ($26) was incredible looking. It was made with egg yolk, onions, cornichons, and anchovies. The tartar looked like it was from an award-winning restaurant while the salad looked like it had been made at a fast food place. The tartar also came with a side of crispy French fries.
The braised beef short ribs ($28) were overall average. Though came with a side of mashed potatoes in a warm barbeque sauce, the ribs were overcooked and the portion was too large for lunch.
Overall, the food was very inconsistent and the menu did not provide many choices. However, it is a perfect place to go if you are craving classic French food like French onion soup, muscles, steak or pomes frites. However, I would not recommend ordering something more “American” or random off of the menu.
It is in a beautiful location, has a very delicate and tasteful appearance and creates a comforting mood.
The Brasserie also has a few memorable dishes, like the Boudin Banc, and the food is fairly priced. I was impressed by a few of the components that the restaurant offers. A walk up window opens daily at 8:30 a.m. selling fresh pastries and hot coffee and the Sunday brunch for $37 including unlimited mimosas and a three-course meal.
However, the service was less than average and declined from the high expectations the hostess gave me. Although the waiter seemed to be hovering over many of the tables in the restaurant, it took more than 40 minutes for our appetizers to be served and just getting the check took an additional fifteen.
The establishment is also surrounded by competition: Villagio (an Italian restaurant), Yard House (a high-end sports bar), Crave (an American cuisine with sushi) and Love is Blind (a globally inspired cuisine). Each of these restaurants have loyal customers and I see Brasserie Central’s business having a slower start as a result.
- Brasserie Central
- 320 San Lorenzo Ave,, Coral Gables, Fla. 33146
- Phone: 786-536-9388
- Reservations: over the phone or on opentable.com
- Owner: Pascal Oudin
- Parisian Brasserie & Raw Bar
- Rating: 3.5 out of 5
- Priced: Reasonably
- Cash, credit card