Since it opened in 2007, Centro Latin Kitchen has dished up inventive twists on classic Mexican and Latin dishes and cocktails. Earlier this month, the Pearl Street mainstay introduced a grab-and-go breakfast burrito program that leads into a lunch that confidently stands on its own from the dinner menu. Chef Dakota Coburn’s travels to Mexico inspired variations on soups, salads, tortas, and more with the newly launched menu.
Kick things off with an order of saffron rice fritters ($.75 each) made with asadero cheese and cilantro, served with jalapeño aioli. Pair them with an order of chef Coburn’s take on tortilla soup ($5 cup/$8 bowl). Coburn doesn’t step too far away from the rich tomato broth of the dish your palate is accustomed to. Coburn brings chicken meatballs, fennel, tomatillos, chile-lime butter, and a tomato pureé together in a bowl with a tableside pour of chicken consommé—a clear broth that transforms a traditionally rich dish into an approachable appetizer.
Tacos headline the lunch menu with a selection including short rib barbacoa, braised chicken, and grilled panela tacos ($4.5 each) that bring Mexican flavors to the table. Meanwhile, tortas ($7) such as the fried avocado, chicken milanesa, and the barbacoa dip—a merging of French dip and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches—make for a heartier way to fill your midday meal.
The unsuspecting gem of lunch at Centro, however, is the Mexican niçoise salad. This twist on the French classic brings together olive oil-poached ahi tuna and olive aioli in a small mason jar with arugula, manchego, radicchio, hard-boiled egg and house-made black bean croutons mingling with a sherry vinaigrette.
Looking for a drink to wash this new lunch down? The bar team at Centro has you covered with a refreshing hibiscus agua fresca ($4) and house-made fizzes ($5) including a grapefruit-rosemary or mango-ginger. If you feel like kicking lunch up a notch, sip on a libation from bar manager Natalie Dodson. From a coin margarita to a twist on a pisco sour, there’s a cocktail at Centro to match your meal. Don’t miss her latest creation that combines Suerte reposado tequila, a Morita chile, passion fruit puree, lime, and agave syrup.
Bonus: Heading down Pearl Street on your way to work in the morning? Drop by for a $5 grab-and-go breakfast burrito with veggie or chorizo.
All photography by Justin De La Rosa