Yes this lovely fried beauty was the best thing I ever ate on my recent 7 week US vacation where I ate my way from the west to the east coast.
The night before my trip to the museum I did some research on Yelp on where I could walk to for lunch. One of the names that came up was Central. The rave reviews were mostly 4 to 5 stars so I decided to go there. I checked OpenTable and the earliest available seat was at 2:30 pm.
It was after 1:00 pm when I left the museum. After going the wrong direction I finally got to the restaurant around 1:30 pm. It was supposed to be a quick 10 minute walk.
I was so happy that I was given a table right away. Central served traditional American food with a French twist.
My meal was off to a great start. The bread was one of the best I've eaten. It was hot, crusty and the texture was fantastic. I forced myself to stop after one slice when I could have eaten it all.
I wanted to try so many things on the menu. I read that beef or lobster burgers were excellent. The mussels were tempting too. I asked the super friendly server what she recommended. She suggested that I try their fried chicken since it was my first time to eat there. She said it was their number one dish.
I followed her suggestion even though I had doubts. $21 for fried chicken? That's P900 for a quarter of a chicken. For that price you could get a couple of buckets of chicken at your nearby fast food.
fried chicken with mustard sauce $21
When I took the first bite I knew I made the right decision. This was NOT your ordinary fried chicken. I only eat white meat and often it's tough and over cooked. This boneless chicken breast was the most tender and tastiest chicken I've ever eaten in my life. I didn't even need a knife to cut it.
I later learned from the server that the chicken was cooked in the sous-vide method. The chicken was poached in precise temperature for 24 hours in a plastic bag then covered with curry mousse, coated with French bread crumbs and fried. This was the secret to the flavor and juices oozing out of the chicken.
Each bite was an assault on my senses. The tender chicken, the delicate curry flavor, the crunchy exterior and then the finish with a smooth, spicy, sharp mustard sauce. The mashed potatoes were disguised as soft butter. That almost pushed over the top. The simply dressed salad greens were there to pull me back from the abyss I was sinking in.
Did I lick my plate? I took home the chicken leg for my nephew Ethan. It that was white meat too you would see a clean white plate in the picture.
I was already full but I had to try their dessert. When I saw the pictures of the banana split on Yelp I thought the ice cream were small, cute scoops but to my horror they were full sized scoops.
The banana split was made with malted vanilla ice cream, strawberry sorbet, malted chocolate ice cream that was almost like gelato in it's consistency. The bananas were enrobed with vanilla bean creme anglaise, chocolate sauce, pistachio, almonds, hazlenuts whipped cream, and dried pineapple. This was the fanciest and most decadent banana split ever!
banana split $12
It was good for 3-5 people to share. I really tried my best but I had to wave my white flag and surrender. There's a banana left under all that whipped cream.
Chef Michel Richard is a true genius! He was able to transform something as ordinary as fried chicken and banana split into creations that bear little resemblance in taste and flavor to anything that I thought was good.
It was not cheap but I didn't regret my meal. It was truly a wonderful experience. One that I will not forget. I can't wait to go back and try the lobster burger and other desserts.
Central Michel Richard Lunch Menu
seafood, charcuterie, appetizers, soups & salads, dessert
sandwiches, entrees, sides
cocktails & beer
port & sweet wines, beverage list
wine by the glass
Central Michel Richard
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington D.C., DC 20004-2550
telephone: (202) 626-0015