CenPho is on a roll, yo.
After a revolving door of restaurant concepts that have come and gone at the Clarendon Hotel since the departure of Camus almost two years ago, there's news that chef Doug Robson will be the owner/operator of a new in-house eatery called Gallo Blanco Cafe, set to open by the end of this month.
Robson was the founding executive chef for LGO Hospitality, creating such scrumptious eats as La Grande Orange's celebrated English muffins and LGO Pizzeria's pizzas. Prior to his six-year gig with the company, he worked at notable local restaurants like Roaring Fork (during the Robert McGrath era) and Michael's at the Citadel.
A Mexico City native, Robson tells me that the name of the restaurant means "white rooster," or, in Latin slang, "white dude," a reference to Robson's not-so-obvious heritage. ("People don't realize I'm Mexican," he says.)
Accordingly, he'll be cooking up a menu of Mexico City-style casual food for lunch and dinner, including tacos al pastor (with fresh tortillas made to order), tortas, grilled meats, and cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork marinated in achiote and wrapped with fresh pineapple in banana leaves). The selection will be relatively small to start, and then they'll add dishes as things progress. "I want to understate and over-deliver," Robson says.
There will also be homemade aguas frescas, specialty cocktails made with freshly squeezed juices, and a variety of Mexican coffee drinks, including cafe con leche, cortaditos (espresso with sweetened condensed milk), and cafe de olla (coffee steeped with cinnamon sticks and sweetened with piloncillo).
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Eventually, Robson will roll out a breakfast menu with such dishes as huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, and eggs with chorizo. It is a hotel restaurant, after all, so there will be full breakfast, lunch, and dinner service.
The kitchen and dining room have been completely redone, and all the previously existing interior walls have been torn down, so that Gallo Blanco Cafe has an open kitchen and a light, airy dining room. There will be a 14-foot-long zinc service counter and custom-made, oversized wooden tables.
To make things more accessible for folks from the neighborhood, there will be a second entrance on the north side of the building (separate from the hotel lobby), better signage, and even a much-needed bike rack that's visible from the dining room.
Stay tuned for more details on this place . . .