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Brad’s pick took us to Trattoria Centrale in downtown Birmingham. This small pizza place is owned by the same group that owns controversial BLC stop El Barrio.

Joey: I was excited to visit Trattoria Centrale, which I learned from a genuine Italian person is something I have been horribly mispronouncing. That reminded me of that summer after college that I spent horribly mispronouncing all sorts of Italian while I adventured abroad. I really “found myself” that week I visited such remote Italian cittàs as Roma and Firenze. While in Italy I survived on the cheap dining options that these trattorias (and McDonald’s) offered so I was looking forward to recreating that experience at Trattoria Centrale. Back home, I struggled to order from the menu options including such authentic Italian specialties as pepperoni, sausage or veggies. Once inside the cramped dining/ordering area, I noticed Trattoria Centrale offers the poorly planned and inefficient ordering system that would make any Italian feel right at home. I eventually ordered the exact same 2 slice and salad combo that 75% of the BLC ordered. It was priced very reasonably for high quality pizza and fresh greens. The chaotic ordering system was a distant memory once the pizza finally showed up. I know we are eating at the peak time for the restaurant, but I felt maybe they could have had a few more bodies to shuttle customers through more efficiently. But efficiency and Italy rarely go together, so I guess I shouldn’t have expected at a location that is trying to recreate an authentic Roman experience. The pizza and salad were great. When I get that job downtown (I’m looking, readers!! plz halp!) I could see myself ordering something from Trattoria Centrale as take out.  The dining experience was not great, but the food was. And that’s what’s important in the end. OVERALL: 4 out of 5 bros

Greg: This week’s selection is one I have been wanting to try for some time because of the close proximity to my office and the good reviews I have heard from my coworkers. Also, I love a good pizza. We arrived at noon to a full restaurant. There around 8 tables inside and a few outside. We were able to order and get a prime table by the window. I liked this! I ordered two slices of sausage and one pepperoni. The slices were square. My order came out at under $8. The food took about 15-20 minutes to get to our table, which was odd because the pizzas were on display and ready to be served when we ordered. The sausage pizza had an alfredo sauce and spinach. The pepperoni was your traditional slice of pepperoni pizza. The alfredo sauce was a little strong, but not bad. The sausage had a good flavor as well. Overall, the experience wasn’t too good, not too bad. It was firmly in the middle. The real gem of this BLC stop was the Paramount Frozen Yogurt across the street. If you are in the area, give it a try. The yogurt and toppings were better than Yogurt Mountain and others I have tried. Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Bros

Brad: It’s been a busy past few weeks for me and I have, unfortunately, recently missed some BLC dates. After a ridiculously busy and fruitful month, it was time to reward myself – and hopefully the bros – with a rewarding meal. A fan of Italian, I chose Trattoria Centrale on Birmingham’s North Side. The restaurant is small, and, as it was noon on a Friday, was packed. It didn’t matter. Within two minutes, we ordered, and were lucky enough to grab a table – a precious commodity. I went with “2 slices and mixed greens,” choosing sausage and pepperoni for my respective slices. It was a good price for $8 (with a water). The wait was not long; however, considering the pizza is displayed in full view upon entering, there was some discussion as to why we had to wait at all. We figured we may be getting fresh slices. If we did, it didn’t taste like it. They were still warm and good, though. The sausage featured an interesting array of toppings: alfredo sauce and spinach. While it was a unique flavor, it was one I didn’t care for. I found the sauce bland and felt it was an unnecessary diversion from the norm. The pepperoni was delicious. These were rectangular slices and I, being a fan of crust, was disappointed both of my slices came from the middle of the pizza. The pizza dough was almost like foccacia, and I had to ask for Greg’s remnants to fully appreciate the “end” crust. The greens were a nice touch, but the lukewarm house dressing left something to be desired. It, coupled with the alfredo sauce, almost gave me the feeling I was eating paste. I think if I return and got some fresh end slices, this review could be a 5. OVERALL: 3.75 bros out of 5 bros

Blake: Brad selected a pizza place with a fancy French name owned by the same people that have the trendy new Mexican place with a fancy Mexican name. It was a bit of a bind for me, as I had a 1 p.m. meeting and our lunch was scheduled downtown at noon. I had also parked at a meter, and I only had one quarter, so I had about 30 minutes to do this. I went ahead and got in line as Joey waited on the other bros. They came later, but I was still last in line, a wait that took at least 10 minutes before I reached the counter. The speed was making me very anxious.

 
I got the two-slice combo deal, with mixed greens on the side. I ordered one slice of sausage pizza and one slice of pepperoni pizza. The sausage was also topped with spinach. Everything arrived at our table in about 10 minutes, and I ate quickly. Both pizzas were terrific, cut into squares like lunchroom style, but way better than lunchroom style. The surprising highlight was the mixed greens – a great dressing, and it was a surprisingly perfect complement to the pizza. It wasn’t the best pizza I have ever had, or even close, but it was the best so far on the BLC tour. The setting was also nice – it felt like an authentic New York pizzeria, although that’s an unfair comparison coming from someone who has never been to New York.
 
Of course I would have enjoyed ranch, but I didn’t expect it. What I think was a fair expectation was some crushed red pepper or some Parmesan cheese on the table. Maybe some hot sauce. None of the above. Any could have really set it off.
 

I was in and out in about 30 minutes. I was able to get to my car before it was ticketed. And I got everything for $8. OVERALL: 3.5 bros out of 5 bros

COMPOSITE BRO SCORE: 3.44 bros out of 5

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