When it comes to work perks, birthday lunches rank somewhere near the top. It’s always a real treat to ditch our cubes for the afternoon and sit down for a celebratory meal. In honor of my 35th last week, I elected to lunch at Cento Pasta Bar, a two-year-old pop-up inside Mignon, a wine bar Downtown.
Behind the bar is Avner Lavi, a former pasta cook at Bestia and Sotto, two of my favorite noodling spots in town. Here at Cento, it’s a one man show. Chef Lavi takes orders, prepares food, banters with diners, and busses tables. It’s an easygoing vibe, but formal enough to avoid feeling like a dinner party at a friend’s house.
The setup wasn’t ideal for our party of eight, but we made it work by flanking both sides of the bar.