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Nov 15, 2006 02:40 PM

DFW- Central 214

Has anyone tried the new restaurant in Hotel Palomar yet? I have heard the atmosphere is great but no word on the food. I have reservations for Friday and wanted some input on good dishes!

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  1. Please report back on your experience.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Scagnetti

      Well, I am sad to say that this was not a good experience. Here's the recap...

      DECOR: This might be the one redeeming quality of Central 214. It was a very clean, retro decor. My dining companion said on the way in, "wow, I don't feel like I am in Dallas anymore." Very cutting edge.

      SERVICE: Yikes! We were seated towards the back of the restaurant at a two top table. We sat for 10 minutes before anyone offered us even water. We ordered 2 cocktails from their specialty drink menu which arrived 10 minutes later. Our waiter asked if we would like to start with anything, we choose 2 apps. They arrived 15 minutes later and then our watier seemingly disappeared. He arrived again 10 minutes after we had finished our apps to see if we were ready to order dinner (yes, I was, about 15 minutes ago). I gave up on another drink since I couldn't even get water at this point. Overall, the service was lacking, long drawn out pauses between courses and beverage refills, very disappointed.

      FOOD: What started off good, ended very badly. We started with 2 apps, the fried portobellos and the chicken, cherve and carmelized onion pizza. The portobellos were chicken-fried which made them look more like "bar food" than enticing cuisine. I am more partial to tempura battered portobellos like at Kitchen 1924. The pizza was good, but nothing to write home about, but good flavor for what it was. Next, I ordered the chopped salad "central 214 style", why it was called a chopped salad, still puzzles me since nothing was chopped. It consisted of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, cucumbers (the only chopped component) and artichoke hearts. Right here is when thinks went wrong, I think that there might have been a pound of salt in this salad. I am thinking whoever made the dressing has a salt hand! And I am a huge fan of Asian food, thus salt and this was just way too much for me. My companion got the roasted butternut squash soup with mascovey duck which was good and seasoned properly. Now on to entrees, I got the seafood special of the night, Nantucket Bay scallops with a roasted tomato/red pepper sauce over polenta. I guess the same person that made my salad made this dish too, once again, a pound of salt. I felt like the ocean was right there on my plate. And the polenta cake was about as hard as a brick, I didn;t even touch it since I couldn't even break through it with a fork. The other dish we had was the halibut, now the fish itself was good but the salad on the side had the other pound of salt that they couldn't fit into my dish in it. After all this and 8 glasses of water each we just couldn't do dessert, plus I was scared that something sweet would end up salty. The total for 2 people, 2 apps, 2 salads, 2 entrees and 1 drink each was $120 plus tip. I don't think I will be back anytime soon!

      1. re: FLFoodie

        Did you happen to mention anything to a manager or even the server? They are new place and probably need to hear your feedback. I never complain but, if I had your experience, I would have said something. I agree that the atmoshere is very cool and clean. I have only been for drinks.

        1. re: sl1

          Yes, the server inquired when he saw that I had kind of pushed everything around and I mentioned that it was too salty for my taste and he did apologize. I used to be in the industry, so I always try and mention when things are off, I know I would want to know. Maybe I will give it some time to get off the ground and then go for another go around.

    2. FLFoodie: I had a similar experience. A friend and I went to Central 214 for drinks about a week ago following a work party. We sat at a high-top table in the bar, and waited around 10 minutes to be noticed by our server. We ordered drinks and I ordered the chopped salad. It took at least 15 minutes to get our drinks. We could see our server yelling at the bartender and storming away behind us-it was all very unprofessional. The salad was nearly inedible. It was around 9pm, and I was starving, but I only ate about 1/4 of it. The salt was unbelivable! The artichokes were mushy, the toasted bread was so hard it scraped the top of my mouth. I was shocked. Our server barely gave an apology when I told her of the saltiness and the hard that point, we really just wanted to leave. The table next to us in the bar had similar service problems-we all kept looking at each other and shaking our heads. I have no desire to return at this point, but I probably will with the hope that things will improve. The interior is gorgeous and it would be good for this restaurant and hotel to succeed.

      1. FlFoodie: After reading some of the posts here I almost changed my husband's reservation for Central 214, but I decided to give it a try. I am very glad we kept the reservation. The service and food were both very good. We arrived about 20 minutes early, and sat in the bar/ lounge area. I ordered one of the restuarant's special cocktails the "Summer Wind", on the suggestion of a waitress and my husdand had a Scotch. While the drinks did take a few minutes to get to our table, my "Summer Wind" was worth the wait. As far as the meal, make sure you try the crab cakes! They were heaven on a plate. For my dinner, I had the "Hanger Steak" cooked medium, it came with shoe string type french fries and my husband had the scallops. My dinner was great, but my husband's scallops were a little salty. However, he also ordered a side of Mac n Cheese "Central 214 style" and that turned out to be the best part of the whole meal, now he can't stop talking about this Mac n Cheese! Enjoy your meal!
        PROS: Decor and Ambience, Summer Wind cocktail, Crab Cakes and Mac n Cheese
        CONS: Heavy handed with the salt

        1. All right, I give up! So I decided that I needed to give it another try before I cross it off the list for good, bad idea. This time, I took a friend of mine who is a Dallas chef just so I would really know that I was not just being too harsh.

          So I guess they have read all of the reviews (Chowhounds, DMN, etc) that say they used too much salt because last night there was not one ounce of salt or pepper on anything we ordered, hence no flavor. I got the grilled romaine this time, it had a weird flavor to it so I ask my friend to try it, he told me it was the flavor of the gas from the grill, but I think this salad had potential is you remove the gassy flavor. As a chef, he did say it is hard to grill lettuce, you have to do it really quick or it comes out wrong. He had the chopped salad that I had last time, the one that had so much salt it bordered on inedible, this time he said it was completely bland. I had the lamb for dinner which has great potential if you again could remove the gassy taste. He had the bone in strip which he said was good but he saw that they had cut into the bottom of the steak to see if it was done. That is fine to do when you are cooking at home, but not in a restaurant! We had the vegetable side and the mac and cheese, don't really know what the excitement is about the mac and cheese, it was rigatoni with a cheese sauce poured on it. Dessert was less than memorable considering I don't remember what it was.

          SERVICE- I don't think the word awful would accurately describe it. There were major delays in service, our waiter brought the wrong water and at one point I almost asked another waiter if ours had left for the evening! Our dessert was removed with at least 4 large bites left and we weren't even asked if we were done it was just swooped up and gone, not even enough time to try and retrieve it.

          All in all, it took 2 hours for dinner for 2 that cost $200. I tried to give it another chance, but I will not be back.

          1. Both the Dallas Morning News and the FW Startlegram liked it in last week's reviews.

            My service was exceptionally good when we went for dinner. The feta grits were phenomenal, and the hanger steak was a huge hit at our table.