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Michel Richard's CENTRAL

Ted Task

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It always amazes me to hear people say: "Central is nice, but it's not Citronelle." Really? Why would you expect them to be comparable?

Not only are the price points vastly different, but the concepts behind both places are wholly unique. I wouldn't go to the Bouchon in The Venetian and sigh about how it just wasn't quite like the French Laundry. I think that entire line of thought is just unreasonable, and a restaurant should be judged independently from its umbrella subsidiaries.

That being said, I think Central is fabulous for what it is: an upscale neighborhood restaurant with a fantastic menu, solid classics (my God - that lamb shank, the friend chicken, the faux gras!), and good service. Someplace where you can go with clients for a long lunch or with friends on a Saturday night to treat yourself. Save the engagement ring for Citronelle.

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  • 1 month later...

My girlfriend and I had a fantastic dining experience at Central on Friday night, and it's nice to see someone else mention Pamela already......the combination of her stellar and friendly service and our view of the kitchen added volumes of fun and comfort to our evening. Maybe it was just because it was the day after Christmas, I don't think they were completely swamped at any time, but it is still sooo nice when your server (during primetime on a Friday night) asks how long you want her to wait before she places your entree/dessert orders so that you can be sure and pace yourself and enjoy your wine.

I put a long review on my blog, but I'll at least mention what we had to eat and overall thoughts. I don't think there is any new info here other than the Manhattan.....

Bourbon and Maple Manhattan- I enjoyed one of these at the bar before we were seated, and while it is a simple concoction of good bourbon, a simple syrup made with maple syrup and a dash of orange bitters, it is a rockstar of a wintertime cocktail.

Gougeres- tasty, and held up surprisingly well when we ate leftovers the next day

Lardon and onion tart- I'll probably get this as an appetizer AND dessert the next time I visit....the combo of the thick bacon, caramelized onions, creme fraiche and chives on a paper thin crust was dreamy.

Pied de Cochon- fortunately for me, mine was not stringy at all like someone experienced earlier in this thread....the presentation makes it such an approachable dish. The meat is taken off of the foot and rolled in what looks like an egg roll after being mixed with chopped mushrooms. The pork was pure unctious, meaty and sometimes gummy goodness and was so well matched with the texture of the mushrooms that it gave me a chuckle. The addition of mashed potatoes, mustard sauce and a little lardon/frisee salad helps it right along.

Braised Lamb Shank- my girlfriend went out of her comfort zone with this choice, and was wild for it. I have to say, the depth of flavor they are able to infuse into the meat along with the lip-smacking collagen goodness made it one of the best shanks I've probably ever eaten.

Michel's Chocolate Bar- formerly the "Kit Kat" bar....I guess the trademark police finally caught up with them. I'm not the best judge of dessert, but if you are a fan of chocolate it sure does taste a lot like.......chocolate. In all seriousness, nice texture and flavor, but I stuck with my Sauternes as my girlfriend swooned over the chocolate bar.

We drank not one but two bottles (we like to party) of a very tasty and reasonable Cab Franc with dinner...sorry if I butcher the name, we did go through two bottles during our three hour tour....Frederic Mabileau St. Nicolas de Bourgeil 2006.

In all, because of the service, the food, the atmosphere and the fact that it was our first holiday season together, it is probably my most memorable meal of 2008. Elegant yet approachable, delicious and affordable, total dinner theatre if you are sitting in front of the kitchen.......so all things considered I also consider this the "bargain" of 2008. Two appetizers, two entrees, two bottles of wine, one dessert, one dessert wine, tax and a healthy tip for just over $216.

I spend a lot of time in Richmond at my girlfriend's, so we'll definitely be making the trip again in the spring. We'll have another meal at Central, no doubt about that.


Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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