If you live or work in Columbia, MD, you have most likely passed by this restaurant and did not know it! Located in a business building on the corner of Centre Park Drive and Old Annapolis Road (Route 108), this restaurant is across from the Giant grocery store and next to the Wells Fargo bank. I have driven around this restaurant on countless occasions to get money from the drive-thru ATM behind the building. How I found this restaurant was by their heavy marketing campaign on Facebook to attract customers. The pictures of the food looked pretty good and the brunch menu looked tasty so I decided to give it a try with my brunch crew!
The big thing for me when choosing a brunch spot is location and parking. Located at 8808 Centre Park Drive, Columbia, MD 21045, it is a good centralized location for my group and there is ample parking located outside to make brunch a breeze. I also liked the restaurant was not overly crowded on a Sunday, which may not necessarily be good for business, but was good for my group. When I arrived for my reservation, we were seated immediately though only 3 of 5 of us had arrived. After a few minutes, we were greeted by our waitress, who was full of energy and very welcoming of our group. She gave helpful recommendations and did her best to make sure that we were comfortable within the menu and in the restaurant. The mark down on customer service came mainly from the chef/ownder who did not provide adequate options for people who do not eat pork. A lot of the breakfast options included Canadian bacon or regular bacon but there was no consideration or additional options available for others who do not eat pork. The explanation given was that brunch had just been reintroduced and the chef had not decided to include it on the menu yet but it may come later was a bit unacceptable to me. My friend was able to manage but as I go on a 40 day break from red meat that would have annoyed me!
I decided to stick with my faithful sparkling water but a few of people in my group order Mimosas which were good but nothing extraordinary. Something to note is that the brunch menu is rather small so options feel a bit limited. We ordered the Chesapeake Flatbread ($13) to start that included lump crab meat, Chesapeake sauce, mozzarella and provolone cheese, and heirloom tomatoes. One compliant was regarding the temperature of the flatbread not being hot but just warm. I enjoyed the flavors of the flatbread but it was nothing extraordinary and it was just lukewarm. Another person ordered a cup of the soup of the day, chicken chili ($6.50) and really enjoyed it and found it to be the right amount of spice with not too much heat. Another person ordered a cup of the cream of crab ($6.50) and was impressed with the flavors. So much so, she ordered another cup after her meal. I would call her a cream of crab connoisseur so if she likes it, it must be good. After having cream of crab soup with Sherry wine, I cannot imagine being able to enjoy it without that inclusion at the table.
Moving on to the entrees, I was a bit conflicted, but I decided to order the Lamb Burger ($14) with black truffle aioli, red onion jam, baby spinach on a brioche bun with French fries. I like the sophisticated ingredients on the burger much more than the CPG Burger that was $12 (two dollars cheaper). However, the burger was just ok as there was nothing fancy or special about it. The sophisticated ingredients did not shine the way I was expecting them to in the meal. The lamb was a bit overcooked though I asked for the meat medium. Overall, it was just ok. (I admit that I was too busy taking photos of everyone else’s food that I forgot to get a picture of my own. These were found online)
Another person ordered the Shrimp & Grits ($21) with Andouille sausage, Tasso ham, shrimp, peppers and onions and the Anson Mills Parmesan grit. The waitress warned us that the grit was a bit different than we are accustom to but that it was a good dish overall. We appreciated the warning and my friend still enjoyed her meal. She joked that my shrimp and grits still reigned supreme but that it was a good attempt. I found my shrimp and grit recipe in a Paula Dean cookbook years ago and have made it my own with a few additional ingredients and the omitting of others.
Next was the Frittata ($10) with roasted red pepper, eggplant, onions, bacon, and goat cheese with a small field green salad. My brunch goer enjoyed her meal but again this was nothing spectacular. Same review was for the southwestern omelet ($11) with Tasso ham, Andouille sausage, red and green bell peppers, mozzarella and provolone. The portion size was a bit on the smaller side for my friend who ended up needing another cup of soup to fulfill her after the meal. Nothing spectacular about the omelet.
Finally, my friend with the meat restrictions decided to order the French Toast ($9) made with a brioche bread with cinnamon and vanilla custard, and warm syrup and side of eggs cooked over hard. She thoroughly enjoyed her French toast and the thickness of the bread. She found the cinnamon and vanilla custard flavor blend to be wonderful and raved about how good her meal was. That made about one of us for this trip.
I decided to take a walk on the dessert side and ordered the Molten Chocolate Cake ($8) with dark chocolate cake and a warm chocolate truffle filling. I was initially turned off by the dark chocolate cake but the waitress said that it was not a bitter cake and if I enjoyed milk chocolate, I would enjoy it. The dessert is not served with ice cream, which I feel that all molten chocolate cakes should be, but I was able to request that it be added it on top. Overall, the cake was warm and delicious and the ice cream was a welcomed addition to the dessert. My friend ordered the Housemade Cheesecake of the Day, which was the blueberry cheesecake that she said was rich and full of flavor and the blueberries were a welcome addition. So on the dessert front, they are doing a good job.
Before tip, my meal totaled $30.48 or $36.48 with gratuity. Again, I felt that the waitress was very nice but the accommodations to customers were lacking from the chef. Other than the dessert, nothing that I had there was special and would warrant another visit to the restaurant. The molten cake and the cheesecake were great but can be found just as great at other places. Maybe dinner may be different but I cannot even say that I would be willing to give it another chance. The following is my Seven Mac Score for the restaurant:
Centre Park Grill
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Please look of my next post as I share more dining experiences in and around Baltimore and DC, and my trip to Los Angeles. Also, you can find me on Instagram @finediningdiva and twitter @moderndaybeauty. Also, if you would like to follow my blog to receive notification when a new blog is posted, please send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember: It’s a BIG world and we are going to eat our way through it!