Dessert First

Blackberry Turnover with Chocolate Chili Soup at Centurion

Photo by Dayvid LeMmon

Centurion, a cozy restaurant located on Roosevelt Row, is a great place to visit when you're craving comfort food that's taken to the next level, including Portuguese Fish Stew, Chorizo and Manchego Risotto, and several brick oven pizzas. The menu changes seasonally; therefore, the current dessert is apt to change at any time. We hear that Chef Eric Osburn is working on an intriguingly odd mix of prosecco and Coca-Cola, but since that's not yet available, we had to settle for the current offering.

On the menu now is a Blackberry Turnover with Chocolate Chili Soup. This classic turnover falls right in line with the overall atmosphere that Centurion offers. The interior feels as though you've stepped into someone's home, which just so happens to have five or six dining tables squeezed in. Since it was a quiet Tuesday night, we were even able to have a few casual conversations with the other couple dining and with Chef Eric. In a more commercial restaurant, it would feel odd to be served a turnover for dessert, but here, it would have felt strange to eat an overly elaborate sugary confection.

How did our dessert taste, and will we be going back for seconds? Find out after the jump...

The Blackberry Turnover had a flaky, buttery pastry that was browned just to the right point. However, what makes a great turnover is the filling, which there wasn't quite enough of. The blackberries were juicy and flavorful and were mixed with a simple cream filling that complemented them nicely.

But as tasty as the outside of the turnover was, it would be better to taste more of the filling than the pastry. If the filling had just three or four more berries, it would have made a big difference, alleviating some of the dry texture and making the turnover burst with flavor.

The Chocolate Chili Soup is a fun addition, and we happily drizzled it over the pastry, dipped the pastry in it, and ate it on its own. Often when chili and chocolate are mixed, a heavy hand is used with the chili powder, making the final result cloy at the back of the throat. This soup had the perfect amount of chili - just enough to notice it, but not enough to overpower the rich chocolate. This thick soup was much more like a drinking chocolate than a soup, but naming aside, it'd be a nice addition to a wide variety of dessert plates.

Centurion isn't like anywhere else in Phoenix, which is one of many reasons to check it out. Diners can watch the kitchen from only a few feet away, and accordingly, the food feels hand prepared rather than mass produced. Not that we'd dare try it ourselves at home.

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Dominique Chatterjee