Chef Josef Centeno strikes back – again!
In the summer of 2013 – two years after opening the celebrated Bäco Mercat, and one year after opening Bar Amá – Centeno opened up Orsa and Winston, which saw him returning to his fine dining roots.
Named after his two small dogs, the restaurant is located on 122 West 4th street, close to his previous two culinary endeavors. It is a relatively small place, seating 32 people. Due to its intimate nature, it is advised to make a reservation. You may get lucky if you walk in, but if you don’t want to spend any extra time waiting, do yourself a favor and reserve a spot. You will not regret it, and here is why:
Every Day is Different
Orsa & Winston is based on an ever-changing menu. No two days are alike, which is what makes visiting this place such a nice little thrill. To quote Forrest Gump: you never know you’re gonna get.
One of the best things about this place, and perhaps the one thing that manages to remain rather constant, is their excellent wine list. I admit, I am not such a huge wine drinker. Which is why whenever I do go out of my way and order a bottle, I want it to be something I can take with me (so to speak) when I leave. I want it to be special. Thankfully, this was certainly the case when I last visited Orsa and Winston. The wine pairing cost extra, of course, but I was more than happy to pay. Seriously, it is all about value for money, and I felt that I had received the full value, and perhaps more! Because nothing, I mean nothing, tastes quite like biting into some gourmet food, and taking a sip of grade-A vino. When I am in that kind of situation, I feel like the king of the world – if only for a short amount of time. And that kind of feeling, that kind of royal treatment, only happens in places where you are actually cared for and treated that way.
The staff was delightful. The servers were knowledgeable and friendly. I suppose in such a small place, you have to hire people who love people, or else it simply will not work.
A Pleasant Surprise, Each Time
The food is tricky. I can’t recommend ordering anything in particular, since no one can tell what will be on the fixed menu for the day. The important thing to remember is that Chef Centeno is a professional who knows how to run a kitchen. And speaking of which, the kitchen in Orsa and Winston is an open one, so you can see what’s going on in the background.
The dishes come out plated beautifully, with correct timing and great service to boot. Altogether, this amounts to an eating experience that – I must say – exceeded my expectations. But this is only because I didn’t envision the scale of the place and the ambience. It was just lovely, and I cannot wait to be back there, be it with friends, family, or a nice first date.
Lunch is served Tuesday to Friday (12 PM – 2 PM), and dinner is served Tuesday to Saturday (6 PM – 11 PM). Dinner options are either a six-course meal, a 10-plus course tasting menu, or a 20-plus course tasting menu (requires inquiry about availability). For parties of six people and up, you must contact them by email, and there is a special menu for such occasions. More info can be looked up on the restaurant’s website.