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May 11, 2009 12:27 PM

Sei & Central

Going to Sei and Central for the first time over memorial day weekend. Any recommendations on what to order -- any not-to-miss items? There will only be two of us on both nights so we will be somewhat limited in the amount we can order and want to make sure we don't miss anything great. Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. The combination faux gras & duck rillettes at Central. Food is very filing here, so be careful.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      I 2nd this! If there is any must try item at Central it is the faux gras and duck rillettes. Everything I've had there is great (had dinner there on Saturday and fell in love with the Miner's Club Cocktail) but the faux gras and duck rillettes is excellent!

    2. Haven't been to Sei, but for Central there is a lot you can't go wrong on and another thread with people's list you might search for.

      I highly recommend the faux gras and rillettes for a shared app as it is huge, although the Lardon Tart is really quite tasty too.

      For entrees there is so much that is good it depends on what you like, sometimes I just get mussels and a salad for a light meal, the rabbit is excellent (the mustard gravy the best I have had), lobster burger, regular bonus (the bonus being they have excellent fries) short ribs, chicken, steak... really it is all good. The lamb shank (although light on the veggies).

      For dessert I like the hazelnut bar and the banana split (which is huge), but have had other things I like too.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ktmoomau

        i like the cheese puffs at central, too

        1. re: chicken kabob

          I think it is so funny people like these, they were the one thing I think are the biggest disappointment... obviously different tastes, I thought they were dry and lacked much distinctive taste.

      2. Thanks so much! Any recs for Sei?

        2 Replies
        1. re: WashDC33

          sorry washdc, i haven't been there — but i've heard amazing things about the wasabi guacamole, if that's any jumping off point for you. tom sietsema did a lengthy review recently so maybe that would be a good place to start :)

          1. re: WashDC33

            I tried Sei about 2 weeks ago, and I don't know why I didn't realize that it's a small plates restaurant.

            Food is not bad, but not very filling. Their fish & chips sushi roll is not bad, but I don't know if i'd order it again at $10 an order. Toto scallion roll was excellent. Chicken wings, odd thing to eat at such a nice restaurant, but they were very tasty. Avoid the garlic shrimp dish, although I don't see it posted on the online menu today, maybe they removed it. It was 3 shrimps butterflied, shell on. They must have been overcooked, because it was impossible to remove the shell. The manager later came over and told us that we were supposed to eat the shell with the rest of the shrimp. Asian pork buns were overly salty and inedible.

            On the flip side, cocktails are very innovative and tasty.

            For dessert they served us a black sesame ice cream, delicious!

          2. Thanks for all the recs and advice. Sorry it has taken me so long to repost with my experience at the two restaurants.

            We went to Central first. We started with the Duck Rilletes and Faux Gras based on the all the recs on this thread, and it was by far the highlight of the meal. Delicious! We also had the cheese puffs, which were nice and light but didn't really compare. For my entrée, I had the lobster burger. I was just a little bit too rich for me, especially after our appetizers. I had a feeling it would be but wanted to try it anyways after reading so much about it. My friend had the braised rabbit, which was just okay. Some of the slices of rabbit on the side weren't actually braised, which was strange, and therefore not as favorable as the rest of the dish. Overall, I thought the food was good but a bit underwhelming. The real negative, however, was the service. Our waitress was pretty cold, which didn't bother me that much, but what did bother me was that she would disappear for long periods of time. For example, after we had our cocktails, we could not find or track her down to order wine. We eventually ordered a bottle through another waiter. Then she abruptly threw down dessert menus, which looked look but then didn't return for at least 20 minutes at which point we didn't want dessert. It is possible she was just a bad seed as the hostesses and the waiter who took our wine order seemed much more attentive, but it still put a damper on our meal. The other negative thing about the meal was that we sat by the open kitchen, which normally I find interesting to watch. However, the chefs repeatedly would wipe their noses or cough in their hands and then touch the food without washing or even wiping their hangs. It was unappetizing to say the least. Chefs should always be sanitary, but it just sort of baffled me that they would do that when on display like that.

            Sei was a completely different experience. The service at Sei was the exact opposite from Central. Our waitress was extremely knowledgeable about the menu (even their huge list of Sake), made great recs, and checked in us without being overbearing. We started with the wasabi guacamole which was really good, and the chips that came with it were light and delicious. We also had the sashimi salad, the mini kobe burgers, the fish and chips roll and the snow white roll. All were very good. For dessert, we shared the sorbet/ice cream -- we picked the black sesame ice cream (delicious!), some citron sorbet and I can't remember the last. The cocktails were also good -- tried the asian pear sangria and the Japanese mojito. We also had some sake with dinner, and an after dinner sparkling sake. Would definitely recommend Sei to others. It can def get expensive as the servings are fairly small, but the food and drinks were great and the service was top notch!