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Michel Richard's Central

Fourth time at Central and every time has been better than the last. Service is excellent and accommodating; food is outstanding, and desserts are to die for; don't pass up the six inch high Napoleon. The waitstaff has recommended Mon. Richard's famous fried chicken for my next dining experience there. Yes, each time has been a delectible experience.

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  1. Glad you mentioned the Napoleon. I've been wanting to try his millefeuille for a long time now.

    1. I had the fried chicken once it IS good, sadly they served the mustard sauce on the side and I didn't see it, still was excellent, but! there were leftovers and the following day noticed the sauce and it moved that dish up to an even higher level.

      1. Going again in a few weeks. I've had the fried chicken, and agree it was outstanding. What else do you recommend?

        20 Replies
        1. re: Zevonista

          Faux gras, lamb shank, short ribs, pearl pasta risotto, tuna burger, mac n cheese, brussel sprouts.

          1. re: Steve

            oh yes, the faux gras most definitely. are the duck rillettes still on the menu? they disappeared for a while.

            1. re: hill food

              They are not stated on the menu, only if they are part of the "charcutuerie platter."

                1. re: flavrmeistr

                  No. It's made out of chicken liver.

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      I see. Should have read further down.

                  1. re: Steve

                    Is the 'Faux Gras' made of something else ? Or is it ' Foie Gras' ?

                    1. re: 3MTA3

                      It is chicken liver - hence the "faux" . . .

                      1. re: drewpbalzac

                        It's about half chicken liver and half butter.

                        1. re: wineo1957

                          and heavy cream.

                          I saw a recipe for it once that included shitakes and a good dose of sherry (not the version in his book) and tried it, was pretty good (not as good as his)

                          here's one close to his to give you an idea: http://emilysculinaryadventures.blogs...

                          1. re: hill food

                            My gout is acting up just thinking about it . . .

                        2. re: drewpbalzac

                          I am SO sorry. I didn't know, I'll shut up now.

                          1. re: 3MTA3

                            oh don't 3MTA3 - this dish is like food porn. "then one night in a moment of wild abandon, for a unexpected twist on the anticipated gelee, we gently aroused fennel on the grill over smoldering hardwood, it was rendered accepting, receptive, smoking with the fever of the moment"

                            oh god I need a life.

                            1. re: 3MTA3

                              Also make sure that you either save some of your bread or get more if you get the faux gras. Their bread is fantastic - and the little grilled off pieces you get with the charcuterie plate are not enough.

                              1. re: drewpbalzac

                                I must admit that reading the love for the Faux Gras is great. To me, it, along witht he 48 hour short rib are the exact things I dislike most about Central.

                                Instead of the Faux Gras, have some real gras... chicken liver at Cork: rosemary bruschetta. Or get the duck liver at Dino as part of the charcuterie plate. Or Mintwood's chicken lover tartine ~ I love Montwood when its simple, not when its too fussy.

                                1. re: drewpbalzac

                                  Central and RIS do have about the best bread in DC. hopefully they will someday not be standouts (meaning the quality will become a given).

                        3. re: Zevonista

                          The faux gras is great. If you haven't tried their roast chicken, try that.

                          1. Aside from the fried chicken what other dishes are your favorites.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: agarnett100

                              I love the faux gras and duck rillettes (which apparently is now on the charctuerie platter), the roast chicken, skate wing (might not be on the menu now, but it use to be served with a ratatouille I believe...excellent!), frisse with lardons, and 48 hour short ribs. For dessert of course do not miss the kit kat bar.

                              It's been a while since I've been to Central. I really need to go back soon.

                              1. re: agarnett100

                                I combined the fried chicken with the mac and cheese and had a food gasm. If you're local, get the chicken to go and you get the nuggets and mashed potatoes.

                                1. re: Dreamworks

                                  I will have to take your word for it just can see myself ordering fried chicken or mac and cheese at a restaurant when I replicate that at home. I will have to try the faux gras and duck rillettes.

                                2. re: agarnett100

                                  Recently added to the menu is a Chicken Nuggets appetizer. So good.

                                3. The faux gras may be the best liver dish I have ever had . . . It crushes my gout but it is sooooo good.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: drewpbalzac

                                    It is so fabulous and there is a good rendition of it in his Happy in the Kitchen cookbook. It's way easier to make than you'd think.

                                    1. re: reiflame

                                      I've tried that recipe, and it is easy but I felt it needed tweaking to get close to the restaurant's version. Richard is probably (like most chefs) playing his cards a little close to the chest although it is good as printed.

                                  2. What I love and hate about Central is that I love certain things so much- faux gras, skate, all the desserts, onion tarte that sometimes it is hard for me to order new things, although I know the new things will be good too. At one point they had a bucatini with meatballs that was really good.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ktmoomau

                                      I have the exact same problem with Central. I always want to order my favorites and also try new things. I end up staring at the menu for 15 minutes!

                                    2. i guess i need to go back and try it again...we went a few times when it was "newer" and neither hubby nor i was very impressed. Even the little cheese puffs that everyone raves about were cold and leaden... :( Now that i have a list of what to try i will have to give it another shot...and maybe take it off my "i don't get it" list!!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: DCDOLL

                                        When I went the gougeres were so salty we did not bother to finish them. I, too, don't get it.

                                        1. re: DCDOLL

                                          I have to admit I too wasn't impressed with the gougeres. but that has been my only gripe.

                                        2. Decided to post here rather than the “Come on Man / I Don’t Get It” thread. Finally got to Central and was disappointed given what I read as rave reviews on this board.

                                          The good:
                                          The service was excellent.
                                          The champagne by the glass was excellent (at $16 I would expect that, but it was for me worth the price)
                                          The Brussels sprouts were very good
                                          The bread and butter were very good
                                          The portions are large – can’t complain that you’re going to leave hungry

                                          The not-so-good:
                                          Lemon chicken schnitzel. Good flavor but so much butter/fat/grease (literally pooled on the plate under/next to it) that it wasn’t that pleasant as an entrée, and it is huge – at least half went uneaten

                                          Fried chicken. People love this, I don’t know why. I guess I expected too much, I thought it was just OK. And the mashed potatoes it came with were nothing special and only warm (not hot), and they got cold fast.

                                          Crème brulee. Nothing special. Not much caramel crust to provide the nice crunchy/smooth contrast. One of the two fruit coulis on the plate was delicious, though. It was huge and we left it unfinished, not a common occurence.

                                          Cheese puffs (gougères). We didn’t enjoy these much. I have almost no will power yet I had no trouble leaving these alone after trying a couple.

                                          Neither good nor bad. Both salads we tried were fine but nothing special.

                                          Why I might try Central again. First, my expectations were too high so if I go in with more realistic expectations I might enjoy it more. Second, I think I ordered too much based on what others recommended and not enough based on what I like. I can imagine I might have ordered differently and had a better (for me) meal.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: KeithW

                                            And you didn't have the faux gras. . .

                                            1. re: KeithW

                                              I will never understand the whole Central fried chicken thing. Its not like its difficult to make at home

                                              1. re: agarnett100

                                                Ditto - it is good . . . but I like my fried chicken on the bone. . . The supreme make it easy to eat and I'm guessing makes it easier to cook in volume.

                                              2. re: KeithW

                                                I would posit that one cannot be pleased if they insist on having such ordinary choices. That said, the burger is pretty darn good.

                                                However, I go there to get what I can't at a lot of restaurants; steak tartar, pork belly confit, frog legs, Skate, etc.

                                                Is the food fantastic, no, but the vibe is pretty good, especially if you are a young 30 something (which I am not) and the service is very good and the food well presented. Wine list isn't bad, but there are better in the city.