This week I attended a media event at Centric, the new restaurant at The Marriott City Center in downtown Dallas. The Marriott wanted to draw attention to their $16m renovation of the hotel that includes a new concierge room on the 16th floor, a state-of-the-art 24-hour fitness center, room upgrades, lobby art, and a new name and menu for the restaurant. The executive chef is Yoni Heredia, a California Culinary Academy graduate who has been a chef positions at Hilton and Westin hotels around the country.
Centric doesn’t become too eccentric. The primary evening visitor (80% midweek) is the hotel guest (while the primary lunch visitor, 90% midweek, is the Dallas local). As a result there are the familiar steak cuts of bone in rib eye ($37) and grilled center cut filet ($39). However, there is an acknowledgement of local and farm-to-table trends. For example, the salmon ($29) is a fillet grilled over mesquite. The rigatoni with sausage is made with Jimmy’s sausage. The chicken breast ($26) is battered with Brazos Valley Parmesan cheese and served with wilted organic arugula. For the more adventurous seafood eater, there is a bouillabaisse with French bread ($31) that features shrimp, mussels and salmon with fennel, tomatoes and saffron-Pernod broth. We enjoyed the domestic rack of lamb ($39) atop a salad of quinoa, mango, rosemary and garlic marinade. It was perfectly cooked medium-rare and only lacked a more pronounced rosemary flavor.
For starters, the lobster bisque soup of the day ($7) was chock full of lobster meat. The tuna and avocado tartare ($12) had well-conceived flavor combinations and the tower of ingredients was so tall that, after the removal of the ring mould, it faced ‘gravitational challenges’ resembling a vividly painted tower of pisa.
The baked Alaska was a tour de force. I do hope they make this in-house as it is a memorable end to the meal.
The bar has its own menu that, while repeating some of the appetizers from the dining room, also offers items like BBQ chicken flatbread ($12) and select three artisanal Texas cheeses ($15). On the night we were there, the latter featured Deep Ellum Blue from The Mozzarella Company and Van Sormon Brazos Valley cheddar. Check out the flight of four Texas draft beers ($7). I chose Franconia Wheat, St. Arnold’s Brown, Rahr and Sons Ugly Pug and St. Arnold’s Elissa IPA from the six available. The interesting beers offset a very abbreviated wine list with only about 20 selections (although half are available by the glass). There is also a selection of popular cocktails.
With its location two blocks from the Meyerson Symphony Center, the hotel is another downtown choice for pre-event drinks or dining. Or, with that baked Alaska in mind, a post-show dessert.