The year is almost coming to an end. And you know what’s really scary about it? In less than 3 months I’ll be adding one more year to my life, but still have not shared with you the wonderful celebration we had for my Birthday back in March. In one word: unacceptable. So without further ado let me invite you for a flash-back from that great evening.
Dining room at Central Restaurant
I don’t normally blog about dining out. First, I think there are countless sites and food blogs devoted to that already. Second, I am not too fond of taking photos of meals in restaurants. But, I make an exception for places that involve unique dining experiences (like Lasserre and Taillevent), or places we love so much we tend to go back at every opportunity. Exactly the case for Central in Washington, DC. I’ll start by sharing with you the review Phil left on Open Table the following day:
We’ve now had the pleasure of Central restaurant 3 or 4 times. It is a Parisian bistrot on drugs! French food with a decidedly American (Hollywood) accent. After a LONG day in DC on business, just the thought of Central began to raise my mood. It was also my wife’s birthday. The restaurant is so festive and exciting, literally buzzing with excitement, from the servers to the chefs and the diners. The food is unique and delicious in classic French fashion: simple, yet exquisitely and richly prepared. Our appetizer was gougeres and prosciutto, a perfect combination and generous portions of both. Our plates were coq au vin and miso salmon with glazed turnips. At Central you find yourself saying things like ”….this is the best (your dish here) I’ve ever had”, and tonight was no exception. At the end of the meal one had to say, WOW! Then, because of the birthday they brought the “Celebration Cake,” complete with a Roman candle. It’s kind of a chocolate encrusted clafoutis, topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream. After eating our meals it looked HUGE, but after a few bites we couldn’t stop ourselves, and we ate it all. My wife commented that it was one of her favorite meals in the past decade.”
As Phil mentioned, we had a kind of a tough day. Let’s say a scientific meeting was involved. And it wasn’t much fun. At all. So of course we were looking forward to exorcising the demons of the day and celebrating the occasion. One of the things I really look forward at Central is the bread basket they bring to you the moment you sit at the table. It is one of the best breads we’ve ever had. Rivals the best Parisian crusty baguettes you can sink your teeth into. Seriously. And, if you finish the basket, they will bring you more, so pace yourself and try to follow the mindful eating path. Yeah, right. Bread can be exquisitely addictive.
The restaurant has an open kitchen next to the dining room, so you can see all the action like the powerful salamander this guy is using… Crème brûlée, anyone? Onion soup gratinné, perhaps?
Michel Richard does a fantastic job, we’ve never had a bad meal in his place. And I must say his manager Adriane was such a gracious hostess, absolutely perfect! Chatted with us without being too intrusive, making sure we were well taken care of. Central feels special, slightly upscale, or as Phil likes to put it, “casual but chic.” If you find yourself in Washington DC, make a reservation, and have a blast!
Cheese Puffs… Don’t skip these!
Below you see a photo of our meals. The Coq au Vin was luscious, served over pappardelle. And my salmon was exactly what I was hoping it to be: perfectly cooked, just rare in the center, and paired with a reasonably light side dish, that did not steal the show. Both entrées were spectacular.
One of the dishes that never leaves their menu is the famous Lobster Burger. I ordered it once for my dinner just out of curiosity, and it was quite decadent. But if you want decadent, nothing beats their “Celebration Cake“, which is pretty much three desserts in one: mousse, cake, a tumble of fruit encased in a crunchy shell of chocolate and topped with a sparkling candle. I still find it hard to believe we polished it off, but that’s exactly what happened.
If that doesn’t say Happy Birthday, nothing will!
I don’t always eat dessert, but when I do I make sure it’s spectacular…
ONE YEAR AGO: The Perfect Boiled Egg
TWO YEARS AGO: Light Rye Sourdough with Cumin and Orange
THREE YEARS AGO: Homemade Calziones
FOUR YEARS AGO: Plum-Glazed Duck Breasts
FIVE YEARS AGO: Holiday Double-Decker
SIX YEARS AGO: New York Deli Rye