I had my first visit to Central Bistro during Arizona Restaurant Week. Tucked at the end of a shopping plaza with a busy, tightly packed parking lot you will find Central Bistro located on the corner of 32nd Street and Camelback Road. When I arrived at Central Bistro, I was very impressed. From the wood patio deck with lots of seating, to the open air interior, Central Bistro had the best style and decor in comparison to the other restaurants that I visited during Arizona Restaurant Week. My friends and I arrived early enough to get a great look of the entire restaurant, and the staff encouraged us to do so--including taking pictures like we were tourists! I am a huge fan of open kitchens in restaurants, and Central Bistro had a huge kitchen with several chefs and assistants, making music while creating aromatic dishes for all the diners. Even though I do not drink wine, I was very impressed with the huge wine cellar that was encased in glass from the ceiling to the floor, which was simply gorgeous! I also loved the "open air walls" located in the relaxed bar area and the dark hardwood floors. It was clearly evident that the owners definitely had ambiance and design in mind when designing Central Bistro!
After I was done surveying the restaurant and taking pictures, I was ready to order my three courses. I indicated to the waiter that I was gluten free and dairy free and wanted to make a few substitutions with my salad; I think he got nervous. For the first course I decided to get the Arugula Salad but without the goat cheese, so I asked if I could have olives/capers since I won't have the saltiness from the goat cheese. Once I got my salad, I was shocked how large it was in comparison to my friend's salad; it looked like a whole bag of arugula was in my bowl so I had to get a to-go container. For the second course I had medium-well Seared Salmon with artichokes, haricot vert, and purple potatoes. When the dish arrived it was beautifully plated, however after I inserted my fork into my salmon, for my preference, it was not thoroughly cooked in the thicker parts of the fish--I had to send it back to get placed on the grill for a few more minutes to cook. Once the fish was brought back to me, it was perfectly cooked! The purple potatoes added a nice pop of color to the dish and they were tasty. For the last course I enjoyed a beautiful bowl of raspberry sorbet, served with fresh berries. The sorbet was made with agave nectar syrup; it was very sweet, but also very delicious--having the fruit paired with the sorbet was a great compliment!
In addition to the food and the ambiance, I noticed on my way out, a huge chalkboard advertising several things including free meals for kids ages 10 and under from 3pm - 7pm daily! Despite a few mishaps with my meal, the entire experience from the staff, to the ambiance to the food, I will give Central Bistro a 4-star rating for the total package. I really enjoyed the experience at Central Bistro and I plan on returning to try other items from the full menu.
So, if you are looking for a restaurant with a great dining experience and gluten free offerings, as well as being centrally located so you can meet up with friends for brunch or social hour you definitely want to add Central Bistro to your list! Be sure to Like their Facebook Page!
Please note that if you have severe allergies, please make sure that you alert the chef or staff member just in case the server looks uncomfortable with servicing you due to your allergies.