So my friend took me for a rather belated birthday celebration at Cafe Central, and I must say I was enchanted.
I’ve always wondered what was in the alleyway in downtown El Paso and the restaurant is always hopping with well dressed people entering. I, of course, got lost and entered the building where the workers entrance was.
From the moment I stepped in, the service starts, from the front hostess greeting me to the server appearing out of nowhere to give me a menu. They had a small coatrack for our purses placed alongside our table. If you wanted a cigar, I spied a humidor with various brands at the bar area.
We went during lunch and there was just us and a group of very well dressed ladies doing lunch. The patio area was charming, if you like wisteria, you’ll love the look. It really does evoke a New York cafe feeling with the tableware, white linens, and bold dark wood with gold finishes.
My friend already got there ahead of time and was seated with an iced Golden Carajillo (which is my current favorite drink), I also got one and it did not disappoint with the vanilla flavored liqueur and smoky coffee melding into a refreshing brew.
Our waiter immediately provided ice water without prompting and continuously filled our glasses throughout the meal. We sure did need the refills because the place was boiling!
It was towards the middle of our soup that we just couldn’t stand it any longer and since the Nest temperature gauge was right next to us, we could see that it was set to 75 degrees and asked for it to be lowered.
Our server James immediately apologized and lowered it to 65 degrees, which he said was the usual temperature but couldn’t understand why it was so high today. I can only imagine the staff boiling in their immaculate suits.
Other than that, everything was what a quality high end white linen fine dining establishment was supposed to be. Our warm bread was served in a basket and we got to pick and choose from freshly baked cornbread, to multigrain and raisin studded wheat, to sourdough and I forgot the others. In this post-COVID time, I would have liked it to be less communal, but it was a good presentation.
We weren’t that hungry so ordered to share. We got the crabcake appetizer, which was a good ratio of crab to fillers, and it honestly wasn’t memorable beyond that.
James outdid himself with our shared plates request and brought a small pitcher and 2 soup bowls so that we each could get our own serving. The cream of green chile was exquisite with the resulting kick of spice a nice finish to the heaviness of the cream.
Likewise, the plating of the prime rib sandwich was split into two with equal amounts of sandwich, fries, and the incredible chiles toreado au jus was delicious even cold as I was too stuffed to eat it then and James packed a bag for us. I also had to skip dessert this time around. I saw later on the check that splitting a plate is an extra $7, which would have been nice to know, and tells me it’s quite common as the serving sizes are generous.
All in all, it was a great lunch, albeit a pricey one. I wouldn’t go here daily unless I win the lotto, and luckily for me, my friend treated me this time. However, the price was deserved for the experience and I really do commend them for bringing comfortable fine dining to El Paso.
I never felt like I didn’t belong, but was welcomed and appreciated, which is a mark of good training and loyalty in service. I would highly recommend Cafe Central for a special occasion if you have something or someone to celebrate. Come out and #supportlocal!
109 N Oregon St, El Paso, TX 79901