HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >



Has anyone been to Michel Richard's Central recently? How is it holding up? Any recommendations? I'm considering going for a birthday but don't want to make a mistake. Would I be better off elsewhere?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You would be hard pressed to do better than Central. Start out with the combination faux gras and rillettes and go from there. Food here is very rich and filling, so one order for the table may be enough.

    1. I was there 2 weeks ago and it's always been very consistent for me. We had the pig's foot, the lamb shank and the steak au poivre and all were very good.

      1. A $40 steak doesn't taste twice as good as a $20 steak. Just because a restaurant, like Central, is more expensive than other restaurants, it doesn't mean everything is going to be perfect or to your liking. People with expectation that a restaurant is going to be perfect will generally be disappointed. That said, Central is a good as any other restaurant in that price range. If you're not a big fan of liver mousse, then I suggest you avoid the faux gras. If you don't know what a pig's feet looks like much less having had one before, don't order it. Stick with the basics if you have to. My wife loved their burger and I loved their braised rabbit.

        1. My wife and I eat at Central regularly. From quality, consistency, and price point, the place is hard to beat and I would argue without peer. This is particularly true in the context of "bistro cooking;" the steak tatare, rillets, oysters, roast chicken, steak frites, are all top notch. Plus there are nice not-so-normal bistro dishes. The place has not slipped since opening.

          1. My b'day is this week and I was consideriing it, too. The menu looks great -- all the comfort foods I like -- but the prices are steep. $38 for a ribeye and $21 fried chicken?Since my age will not end in a zero, my friend and I will likely share the bill if we go here.

            Question -- is dining encouraged at the bar? I like eating at the bar if it's relaxed and not too crowded.

            4 Replies
            1. re: MartinDC

              i have seen people eating at the bar, but on a weekend night the bar does get pretty crowded.

              1. re: MartinDC

                You can also be assured of one thing....The Ribeye steak is a fantastic cut of meat and chances are, Cedric isn't buying crappy meat. In fact, I know for a fact that he buys all of his meat products from a varity of vendors, that each have a reason for selling him a specific product. $38 worth? That's up to the one paying the bill....But I would keep this in mind:
                BLT...(I know not everyone likes) but it is still a decent steakhouse, charges $45 for a Ribeye, $43 for a strip and $34 for braised shortribs....
                Central is still hands over fists better a restaurant than BLT..so to me...I I am going to Central for dinner, A $38 Ribeye sounds really nice.

                Also.....Try the desserts.....They are out of this world yummy!

                1. re: MartinDC

                  One thing about the prices: much of the food is very heavy. If you don't want to overspend, don't overorder.

                  1. re: Steve

                    I agree......You can get out of there fairly cheap ordering light. I love these people that want to go eat at Michel Richard's, Jeff Buben's or Eric Ziebold restaurants, but then complain about menu prices or how much a steak costs. If you want to dine at these places but want to be cheap about it, then either wait for restaurant week or order apps....

                2. i went last night--good good good

                  highly recommend the onion tart and the braised rabbit

                  1. Since it has opened, it has stayed very consistently good. It is one of my favorites, I kind of hate that it is so consistently good at that price, it stops me from going other places sometimes :)

                    I love the rabbit, the banana split is awesome and bigger than your head definietly for sharing, I love the shortribs, the french fries are great. I like the lobster burger myself although it causes controversy. The mussels are pretty good, very good with the fries.

                    1. I went in late October for a birthday dinner and found the food to be delicious. The portions are also tremendous, so the $21 fried chicken came out to be three excellent, $7 meals for me. Likewise, please try the gin rickey with black pepper - for the savory cocktail lover, it's perfect.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Hungry Man

                        Do the big portions apply to the appetizers too? None of the entrees look that appealing to me, but I was looking at the chilled ratatouille and asian style tuna & salmon carpaccio. Has anyone had these? Good?

                        1. re: Jacey

                          The 2 appetizers I got (the faux gras and rillettes and one of the tarts, which really was more like a flatbread or pizza) were quite large. The Faux gras/rillettes dish in particular was very large. Could have been a meal by itself with a side salad. I shared it with my bf and we both commented that if we knew it was so large we probably would have split an entree (but just decided to go for it and have a huge, heavy, delicious meal that night).

                      2. I just went tonight with my daughter (10). I've been about a dozen times over the past year and it's always been excellent. They started us off with a basket of warm crusty bread and some butter -- very good and "free". My daughter ordered the macaroni and cheese as her main course. The waitress was thoughtful enough to describe that it is made with some goat cheese and is very rich (i.e., not the Kraft macaroni and cheese to which a 10 year old is likely accustomed). Luckily it's my daughter's favorite DC meal which works out great for me. I've been working my way randomly through the menu (I get a cheese burger every other time) and this time I tried the Pied de Cochon (photo attached). It is not your typical Southern soul food. It was very good -- the meat is pulled off the bone, mixed with mushrooms and deep fried in a puff pastry like egg roll. It is served wth a light mustard sauce, mashed potatoes, and a salad with real bacon bits. It went very well with a glass of Blusser. For dessert we shared a chocolate mousse; also very good. Once again the waitress mentioned that there was raspberry at the bottom of the mousse which might have been an unwanted "surprise" for a 10 year old. Luckily that meant I got to share the raspberry part.

                        We were going for a quick dinner before a Wizard's game and usually when we've done this we sit at the bar. This time we were lucky and were seated at one of the tables with a view of the kitchen. I think some people don't really like those tables because there's a little more noise and bustle (we saw one couple change to a table away from the kitchen). We both thought it was great to watch the Chef finishing the plates as they went out.

                        It was a great dinner and the service was fast enough so that we were in time for the game even with walking over to the Verizon Center.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: dacfood

                          they do have about the best bread in town. (spoiled ex-West Coaster, 8+ years and still griping)

                        2. We went again yesterday (for lunch). Once again the food was excellent. I split the goat cheese and spinach tart appetizer with my wife. It's not something I would have ordered before, but I'd certainly consider getting it again now. It was a perfect and interesting balance in taste, texture, and temperature. The bottom pastry crust was crunchy, not soggy, the spinach and goat cheese layer was warm, creamy, and tender. The salad topping was crunchy, fresh, cool, and dressed just right.

                          I decided to try the corned beef sandwich since that's only on the lunch menu and I rarely get down there for lunch. It was served on lightly toasted/grilled rye with spicy brown mustard and really creamy coleslaw. The meat was amazingly juicy and tender. I've been to many places in NYC and this is different in a very good way. I'd like to try it again with the coleslaw on the side just to get the pure corned beef sandwich taste. As with the burger, $17 seems like a lot for a sandwich but it was worth it.

                          For dessert, I split a kitkat bar with my son. Another excellent study in a great balance of textures, richness, and temperature (with the contrast of the scoop of hazelnut ice cream -- richer than butter).

                          And once again the bread came out warm, crusty, and chewy.