The word is spreading like wildfire through the Central Coast Grapevine about the great dishes and pastries at the relatively new Central Market that opened in the freshly remolded Town Center Mall in Santa Maria.
You first enter a thoroughly modern deli with the aromas of baked veggies and rosemary infused beef mingling with faint hints of cheeses and chocolates. As you approach the “Order Here” zone you’ll discover the large, sunny atrium with lots of cafe tables and live plants.
If you’re dieting you might want to bring your support group; the pastries are some of the finest looking and tasting I’ve experienced anywhere on the Central Coast.
How did this all come about? I really don’t know the whole story, except that I discovered that the cuisine is in the capable hands of Chef Michael Wood, who has a devoted following. And they have a Pastry Chef, Nova Bevier, that must have “magician” listed in her resumé.
I first learned of this new tasty jewel because three of the last five wine events I attended were catered by Central City Market. I liked the name because it sounded like some place Batman might go to lunch.
Be that as it may, at lunch my heart leapt into my throat when I found that they serve illy coffee at the table a la French press.
I had their Bistro Steak sandwich with grilled balsamic onions, provolone, spicy greens and horseradish peppercorn sauce. My friend had the BBQ Chop Salad that was a medley of chopped greens, grilled corn, smoked cheddar, marinated beans, crispy onions, chipotle BBQ ranch with your choice of chicken, steak or shrimp.
On Saturdays they have a Prime Rib Special for $16 that includes an 8 oz. portion of very slow roasted, herb crusted Prime rib, scalloped potatoes, fresh market vegetables, horseradish cream and au jus.
Sundays they do Wine Barrel Smoked Baby Back Ribs served with southern style creamy cole slaw, corn bread and house-made BBQ sauce for $14!
They also do “Grilled Cheese Sunday,” from 5:30 – 9:00pm; grilled cheese sandwiches with your choice of tomato soup, house-made French fries or salad.
Speaking of wine barrels; they have a great wine list (featuring local faves) at some of the best deal prices I’ve seen in any restaurant in the area.
I grabbed a flyer for the Winemaker Dinner with Kenneth Volk Vineyards they’ve got coming up April 6th at 7pm. The menu looked absolutely amazing.
There is nothing I can say that will do justice to Nova’s pastries and dessert creations. Truly a case where one photo is worth 1,000 licks.
Central City Market is on the first floor of the Town Center, near Macy’s.
Contributed by Cliff Stepp, Marketing Manager for the Central Coast Urgent Care Medical Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.