I've been to Central Kitchen at least a dozen times over the past year or so and I must say that it can be very hit or miss. The service tends to range from poor to passable and once in a while, good. Be sure to check the blackboard behind the bar - they often have great specials, but the waitstaff NEVER tells you - make sure to ask. That said, I've also had some great meals / snacks there. An appetizer of strawberries and blue cheese, a great bacalau (sp?), grilled sweetbreads and nearly all of the salads I've had over the years (except the duck salad about a month ago) have been wonderful. Within recent weeks they've opened the upstairs which I hear is supposed to be a lounge area and alternative performance space. It is great for the neighborhood.
I went to Central Kitchen several months ago and appreciated their efforts but was disappointed by the results. I had grilled swordfish on some kind of Moroccan chickpea stew, and the chickpeas were hard as rocks in a kind of watery sauce. But, the swordfish was cooked well, and I enjoyed many of my dining companion's french fries. It was early in the evening and they may not have gotten their act together just yet. We were among the first there. I'd go back at another time, but in my opinion CENTRO is far superior. I thought I heard something about a new chef, and I KNOW several staffmembers were laid off, but I almost wept when I ate there last.
Having been there twice over the past 6 weeks, I would give the Central Kitchen a big thumbs up. The menu is small, but interesting. There is also a specials blackboard. The margarita's there are phenomenal.
The first time I had a lamb dish that had a combination of lamb chops and braised lamb, the second time I had an updated version of chicken fricasee. I do not recommend their paella though - my wife had it and although it was a large ample portion, the flavor was somewhat bland.They have the absolute best french fries (frites) there. The desserts are all made on the premises and are innovative. Prices aren't bad. $5 to $12 for app's; $15 to $23 for entrees; $5 for desserts. Parking is easy (in the rear of the building). Enjoy! Be sure to also have an order of their olives ($3.50) with your drinks - nice selection.
I went there for dinner maybe 6 months ago.
Food was good - I had two apps for dinner: duck confit and grilled octopus; person I was with had the vegetarian entree, various wild mushrooms over polenta, I think.
The fact that I remember the dishes indicates that they were pretty good, I guess.
I do remember the menu being very short - 4 apps and 6 entrees, or something like that. Not the kind of place that has something for everyone.
Ambiance is moderately noisy - dining room and bar are one - front and back of restaurant might be quieter as they're further away from the bar.
Price's were decent, value was fine I think.
I would go back.