Boutique Peasantry

Central 214 blends the humble and the noble

Gold is where the flavor is, he says. It's organic and meticulously inspected from source-verified Black Angus stock. We sampled the hanger steak, a ribbon of meat said to dangle from the diaphragm of the steer but that is actually attached to the last rib and the kidney. The meat tends to be very tender and floods the palate with intense flavors. Therefore, the cut is most often marinated to blunt its intensity.

Fleming will have none of this. His hanger is treated with just salt and pepper before it is tossed onto the grill.

"What makes this great is that there's so much blood flowing through it, that it has that rich flavor to it," Fleming says. "And it's actually leaner than a filet mignon." But hanger must be ordered medium rare, as the flesh tends to toughen and dry out as the doneness level increases. At this hue, it's delicious. The grill crust is brittle, and the meat chewy, juicy and robust, with a slight gamy essence.

What makes executive chef Tom Fleming's hanger steak so bloody good is the blood.
Tom Jenkins
What makes executive chef Tom Fleming's hanger steak so bloody good is the blood.

Location Info

Map

Central 214

5680 N. Central Expressway
Dallas, TX 75206

Category: Restaurant > New American

Region: East Dallas & Lakewood

Central 214

5680 N. Central Expressway
Dallas, TX 75206

Category: Restaurant > New American

Region: East Dallas & Lakewood

Details

Shrimp cocktail $9

Lobster bisque $9

Squash soup $6

Crab cakes $14

Diver scallops $24

Corned beef and Swiss sandwich $8

Hanger steak $22

Oddly, there isn't a speck of game on Fleming's 214 menu. Fleming says he trial-ballooned quail with chanterelle mushroom grits, but it didn't go over. "Maybe it was the preparation. Maybe it was the description," he admits. The New Year will bring experimentations with venison and ostrich—welcome additions.

But such humbled noble dishes aren't the only 214 menu entrants. Central 214 offers a custard-like roasted butternut squash soup with ribbons of duck meat and an extraordinarily smooth and rich lobster bisque with twine-like knots of lobster meat bulging from the surface. The corned beef and Swiss sandwich is simple: fluffy sheets of rippled corned beef gooed together with cheese on steaming slices of rye with sharp caraway stings. Clean up with lemon cannoli: baked pastry tubes bleeding a sharp lemon cream from either end. The tubes crumble and flake like shattered blown glass when forked.

Central 214 is a simple restaurant that refuses to dazzle with earnest culinary flourishes or flowery personal chef statements. Instead, it nourishes with an understated elegance that never wears on the nerves, even if the humble might overrun the noble every now and again.

5300 E. Mockingbird Lane, 214-443-9339. Open for breakfast 7 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday. Open for brunch 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Open for lunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Open for dinner 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. $$$

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