Rialto’s Brian Rae in as Centre Street Café’s New Chef
The revamped Jamaica Plain eatery will open this fall with a focus on local vegetables and house-made pastas.
Since purchasing the Centre Street Cafe from Felicia Sanchez in late June, the team at Tres Gatos (David Doyle, Mari Perez-Alers, and wine director Keith Harmon) has been searching for a notable chef to lead their new, Mediterranean-themed concept.
Today, they’ve announced that stepping into that role will be current Rialto chef de cuisine, Brian Rae, who has also worked with Rick Moonen at RM Seafood in Las Vegas and Steve Cagavnaro at Nantucket’s Straight Wharf. Rae will finish his five-year tenure under Jody Adams at the end of the month and turn his attention to reopening Centre Street by “early fall.”
“I’ve worked in some pretty good restaurants and I feel like this is going to be a refreshing change,” Rae says. “I can actually cook instead of just expediting. I’m very excited about how hands-on it’s going to be. We’re also going to be able to change the menu pretty often because it’s going to be a very concise menu. I’m going to get to experiment with a number of different things.”
Rae is a Jamaica Plain resident who is looking forward to contributing to the recent influx of new talent. “There’s definitely been more and more restaurants opening every year that I’ve been in JP,” Rae says. “Not only that, but the restaurants that have been here have all stepped up their game. Some of the restaurants that have been here for five years have had to get better because the competition is really coming on.”
The Centre Street Café is temporarily closed for renovations, but when it does reopen, Rae says the restaurant will accommodate 30 to 40 diners and focus on house-made pasta, off-cuts of meats, and local vegetables.
“Keith and Dave had a vision of a place that focused on medium-sized plates, but they’ve really given me free reign over the entire menu,” Rae says. “I’m pretty sure they wanted to do pasta even before I signed on, but it just so happens that I have a very strong pasta background. There will also be big and small plates, mostly of local, seasonal vegetables. And I’m very excited about having a good brunch. I haven’t gotten to cook a lot of brunch at Rialto, but Centre Street has a tremendous brunch following and we’re really looking to bringing those people back with some of the classics. It’ll be Italian at night, but a pretty traditional American brunch on the weekends.”
669A Centre St., Boston, MA 02130