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Oct 24, 2009 02:57 AM

Lunch at Central

My fiance had a morning conference in DC yesterday, so we took the chance to have lunch at a place that's gotten quite a bit of good press. All I can say is wow -- this might be the best lunch I have ever had. This place was insanely good.

Courtney had bailed on her conference a bit early, so we ended up showing up an hour before our 1 p.m. reservation. We were prepared to sit at the bar for a while, but they seated us immediately at a table with a great view of the open kitchen.

Courtney ordered a cocktail, while I ordered a Stone IPA. Our waiter came back to tell me that they were out of the Stone, but he would be happy to substitute another IPA and replace it if I didn't like it. He returned with a Bell's Two Hearted -- much better than the Stone, unavailable in Baltimore and what I would have ordered in the first place had I seen it on the list.

For starters we got the duck rilletes and faux gras,along with a basket of gougéres. The rilletes was amazing -- fatty with an intense duck flavor. The faux gras didn't really taste like foie gras to me, but it was buttery, creamy and delicious. They were served with a small bowl of cornichons and pickled pearl onions, and some incredible bread -- I don't know where they get it, but I want some. The gougéres were cheesy, light and airy.

For an entree I had the burger. I don't know where they source their beef from, but it was rich and beefy. It needs to be on any short list of top area burgers. Courtney had the pied de cochon -- pig feet mixed with wild mushrooms, formed into a log and fried. This was a great dish and made me wish I'd ordered it.

We also ordered a side of brussels sprouts with bacon -- tiny, tender sprouts braised in butter and topped with chopped bacon. Another winner.

We wanted to try dessert but were entering food coma territory by this point.

Service was professional and attentive on all levels -- even the bus staff was helpful.

This was a fantastic meal -- much better than we were expecting. Washingtonians are very lucky to have this in their city. I only wish Richard would open a second location in Baltimore.

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  1. I agree, the steak tartar is a can't miss. The thing that's great about central is you can go casual or high end food and drinks for all types of nights.

    1. I think they do the bread themselves. Probably the best I've ever had. Too many good choices at Central.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Steve

        Yeah, I left out the part about us scarfing down the bread with butter before the starters arrived and talking about how we were ruining our appetites, but unable to stop. I was expecting a celebrity chef experience that was about atmosphere and ambience and not really about the flavor, but every single bite of every dish was amazing.

        We're completely sold on this place.

      2. Next time, try the fried chicken, it too is amazing.

        1. Sounds like you had an amazing meal and your ordered some of my favorite items. Reading your review made me crave the faux gras and rillettes and I just ate dinner! haha.

          1. Had the day off today so I treated myself to lunch at Central which isn't possible for me on an ordinary workday. I was hoping to get rillettes and/or faux gras but neither was on the menu. I ended up getting the corned beef sandwich. Wow. This was just screamingly delicious. A thick pile of slices of super-tender corned beef with a small amount of slaw (more would have been overkill) on thin and crispy warm rye with a good pickle on the side -- served with a large salad with a house-made vinaigrette that I liked a lot. Delicious bread and butter as well. All for $17 before tax and tip. In my head I was comparing that to a one hour wait for a $15 lobster roll at the Red Hook truck. What a deal this corned beef sandwich was for the quality that was on the plate. I wish I could go to Central more often. I also wish I'd had room for the house made chocolate bar but alas... I've got to try that thing some day.