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Gauntlet Review: CENTRAL Taps + Food

By Sophia Lopez, May 13 2022

On May 4, the Gauntlet had the pleasure of attending the sneak peek event for the new restaurant and bar CENTRAL Taps + Food. Located in downtown Calgary, this establishment is the baby of the already well-known location CRAFT Beer Market. The team behind CRAFT Beer Market created CENTRAL Taps + Food — a place where a unique experience is definitely granted.

Our team was graciously welcomed by the CENTRAL staff and we were offered a drink not even a minute in. As part of the sneak peak, we were offered three complimentary crushable drinks, along with sample food items from their diverse menu. 

Starting off with the Rose Sangria was the best way to go. This drink is sure to quench the thirst of any sweet-tooth out there. While this sangria differed from a more traditional take on the drink, it surely hit the spot on a sunny evening with coworkers. If you’re a Rosé fan in general, this was made for you.

Now, I know a lot of people think indifferently about gin, but let’s be honest, these are only people with a lack of taste for the finer things in life. Our next drink was the Blueberry Gin Fizz, the overall favourite for the Gauntlet team. This drink had the perfect amount of sweetness — definitely not a drink where you need to follow up with a whole glass of water. The colour, the taste and the small edition of blueberries make this drink the best of the night. 

Followed by this was the Strawberry Spritz. Holy moly. Forget about the Rose Sangria, if you have a sweet tooth, I’m sure you will gravitate towards this drink. While we thought it was good, this last drink was far too sweet for the Gauntlet team — minus our layout editor.

Aside from these delicious crushable drinks, the team also indulged in some sample food items from CENTRAL’s menu. Throughout the night, a variety of food options were passed around, from classic American meals, to Asian inspired dishes, to Mexican cuisine.

Interior design: Fort Architecture @fort.architecture Mural: Palo Paints @palo_paints Art curation and design: GOODWORK @goodworkstudio

This included The Roni Cup Pizza, the Margarita Pizza, the Charcuterie Pizza and the Broadway Hot Chicken Sandwich. While all of the items from this group were tasty, our favourite was the Broadway Hot Chicken Sandwich. One bite and we already knew we would be asking for more. We managed to fight that temptation and move on to try some other menu items. 

We managed to get a hold of some sushi rolls which included the Spicy California Roll and the Crispy Chili Salmon Roll. Out of the two, the winner was the Crispy Chili Salmon Roll. The Gauntlet team has a very strong love for sushi, and we are happy to confirm that this roll did exactly what it needed to do. The teriyaki glaze over top was the perfect touch to this very well made sushi roll. Salmon lovers out there, you need to try this.

Even though CENTRAL has a few Mexican inspired items on their menu, we only managed to try the Braised Pork Carnitas tacos. If the Gauntlet team had to choose their favourite food sample from the night, it would have to be between the Broadway Hot Chicken Sandwich and these tacos. Unlike the sandwich — which was a bit bigger anyways — we couldn’t resist the urge to reach for some more Braised Pork Carnitas tacos. The flavour of these tacos were incredible and personally, I’m a sucker for anything with aioli in it.

Well it’s true when they say, “time flies when you’re having fun,” because our night at CENTRAL soon came to an end. We were able to try a lot of their food from their 35 item menu, and sip on some of their crushable drinks that we later figured out were doubles — which is probably why we couldn’t walk in a straight line on our way out. We were gifted a tote bag with the CENTRAL logo on the way out, which came with some products from 33 Acres Brewing Company — a local company from Vancouver, BC.

We definitely recommend visiting CENTRAL for some good food, good drinks, and good trouble, as said by the founder PJ L’Heureux. Our experience at CENTRAL was amazing, and we will definitely be going back. Visit the CENTRAL Taps + Food website for more information.

This article is part of our Opinions section

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