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Beck or Central?

Brasserie Beck and Central Michel Richard are very similar in cuisine. But if you had to pick just one to dine at, which would it be and why?

Thanks Hounds!

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  1. Central- everything I have eaten there was really good, and I felt that I was really getting what I paid for if not more. The food is just really good all the time, and there isn't a dish on the menu I haven't liked. Even their bread is fresh. It is just well executed from start to finish. And they have some great affordable bottles of wine.

    BB is really good, don't get me wrong, it's a hard choice, but I would pick Central.

    8 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      I'd be happy to hear what you thought of the faux gras, pied de cochon, and the cheeseburger at Central, if you've tried them.

      1. re: Ericandblueboy

        The faux gras and duck rillettes is amazing. Much smoother then I thought they would be and the taste isn't overpowering but delicate and silky.

        The gerkin pickles and pearl onions also add another layer of flavor when added. It was the first time I had ever had duck rillettes and I'm a bit obsessed now. I don't know where else you can get this delicious dish but I love it.

        1. re: Ericandblueboy

          I'll give my vote for Central. Of late, its been the recipient of most of my dining dollars. Beck, not gonna lie, been there 3 or 4 times and its never really done it for me. Food is ok but Central and others are better.

          Pied de cochon - damn that is good at Central. I highly recommend it. It is very rich and hearty though.

          1. re: Ericandblueboy

            Of the three you mention I have only had the faux gras, I like the rillettes much better than the faux gras, but I liked it with the toast and gerkins. I liked the smooth texture with the rich flavor and the combination with the rich and the sour taste of the pickled items just paired well.

            I don't think I would waste one of my Central meals on a burger... not that it wouldn't be really good, but I can get a burger so many other places, but I can't get 72 hour shortribs, rabbitt with such a good mustard gravy or other things like that, which are unique at other places.

            1. re: ktmoomau

              I found the faux gras, burger and pied de cochon all lacking at Central. I didn't order the burger but I had a bite of my fiancee's. The one item that knocked my socks off was the braised rabbit. Overall, I prefer Blue Duck to Central.

              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                The rabbit is amazing at Central. I am going to really have to try to make mustard gravy after that. I think I prefer Central to Blue Duck after a few meals, but Blue Duck keeps putting more and more interesting things on the menu so I will have to go back. They do meat really well, I mean very well, but I don't feel they have a complete package. I have gotten the whole package done well at Central for less money, and I think they are more consistent, but they are also newer... But again haven't been to Blue Duck in a while, and they do have goat cheese grits and savories that are incredible, but like the rabbit at Central they have some meals that as a complete package on the plate the flavors are just incredibly well paired. I like that they are getting more adventurous too, I like that there is somewhere to have more than just sweetbreads which more places are doing, but marrow and etc. So I have to really give Blue Duck credit for that too.

                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                  Blue Duck was wonderful the one time I went. Those fries are to die for, and in fact every thing we ordered (um, except dessert which was kind of pushed on us) was great.

            2. re: ktmoomau

              I have to agree with ktmoomau. They're both really really good, but Central by a nose.

            3. I don't find them to be that similar foodwise. Beck definitely has a Belgian influence that I don't see at Central. What do you like better: mussels and beer, or cocktails and meat/poultry? That's sort of the differentiator for me. I couldn't see going to Beck without getting mussels and beer, but at Central, I'd always be tempted by the meat/poultry options. They are both bustling, loud, sceney and fun.

              1. i dont think the cuisine is that similar at all, have you looked at the menus?

                4 Replies
                1. re: elegantelliot

                  They both have great bistro food, no?

                  Even if you don't agree that they are similar, which would you pick? Why?

                  1. re: debit

                    not really. Beck is vey heavy on the Belgian food and Central is way more french, and more traditional bistro food. Am I the only one who thinks this? I do like both though, but prefer Central.

                    1. re: debit

                      I haven't been to Beck, but I would compare Blue Duck favorably to Central. I actually like Blue Duck more than Central.

                      1. re: debit

                        i'm going to buck the crowd and choose Beck. my dislike for Central is well known among the regulars here but i know i'm in the minority. Beck had better food and atmosphere. Service was good at both places. My food at Central was marginal and the din in there is unreal. But, lots of folks like it. Hopefully either one you choose will please you.
                        If you are accepting other suggestions along that vein, i would choose Bistro Bis or Montmartre over either of the other two AND you will be able to get reservations at either one without eating at 5:30 AND you won't drop a major wad either. Well Bis you will perhaps but not Montmartre.

                    2. I wouldn't necassarily say they are similar in cuisine, more similar in theme (stylized food which is more affordable then their big name chef's first restaurant). That being said I love them both.

                      But if I had to choose I would go with Central. I just felt the food was better. The dishes are creative while still holding on to the Americana with a french influence theme. Service was top notch and the open kitchen is a lot of fun to watch while you wait for your food to come out (make sure to request a table with a direct view of the open kitchen).

                      1. I wouldn't begin to compare these restaurants. Aside from the fact that they both serve food, there is little in common. Central is a better restaurant by every measure: food (French bistro, American), service, atmosphere. Well, it is a bit pricier, but you get a far better experience for the money. Sure, Beck has a larger Belgian beer selection, but there are a mess of restaurants in D.C. pouring Belgian beer. I don't believe it's enough of a novelty any more to warrant selecting one restaurant over another. But if beer is going to be a factor, consider that Central is the only restaurant (or bar) with Blusser Pilsner. You want unique? That's unique. And if you're really set on a Belgian experience, you should consider Belga Cafe on Capitol Hill. It's not getting as much hype, but it's a better Belgian restaurant than Beck.

                        1. OK...we never could decide. So we went to both. And the winner was....

                          *****drumroll*****

                          Central.

                          But of the piggy products wrapped in dough, Beck's Choucroute en Croute might just beat Central's Pied de Cochon. And we found Central a tad noisier than Beck. But other than that, Central was superb. Hell, I would travel back just for the banana split alone. The flavors in the two ice creams and strawberry sorbet were so amazing. The duck rillettes (sp?) were SO SO SO good. The cheese puffs, the burger, and more comfortable seats for a long-ish meal. Central pretty much rocked.

                          We also found prices similar. Central's corkage was $5 cheaper.

                          1. Beck - I ate at both, and Beck is superior in taste and atmosphere. Central's bread is good, Beck's bread is amazing. Beck has several different mayos for the fries, which were all very good. Central only gives you ketchup. The entrees in general were far more memorable at Beck. Drinks - it's whatever you prefer - Beck is more beer centric than Central, Central sells a little bit of everything such as Absinthe.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: foodplow

                              Actually Central is more than happy to give you mayo with your fries if you ask.