By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
There's an oxtail ragout, served over not gnocchi as the menu says, but dumplings of pâte à choux. (Don't worry, I didn't mind and you likely won't either.) The kitchen crisps them in a saute pan with pesto before spooning them into a rich, hearty oxtail stew. Are you seeing a pattern here?
Sure, there's a lovely kale salad and crisp but over-dressed greens. And the bar menu offers blistered shishito peppers dressed in Meyer lemon that are light and perfectly crave-worthy. Fish is represented too, but the dishes seem a little lost in a menu that reads like a butcher case. It's not all red meat — just a lot of it. And the dishes that feature animal protein hit the fat really hard.
Things are changing, though, and will likely continue to do so. Spring is coming, and with it earthy morel mushrooms, sweet spring peas and tender stalks of asparagus. Summer will follow — a season to cast off heavy braises and meaty sauce reductions in favor of lighter cooking that shines like the sun.
Central 214 is getting an updated dining room too, this summer if things go according to plans. Dodds told me the refreshed space will feel a little more relaxed and a little less like a sleek hotel, a tone that would suit his homey and heavy menu.
Dodds has done an exceptional job embracing local purveyors, a trend that started with Alice Waters decades ago. Now he needs to hone the more delicate side of his cooking. If he does, he'd be taking up a trend that's surely coming (he could even be ahead of the curve) and Central 214's praise would eclipse that of his predecessor Bolsa — or at least be as loud.