While sitting at Central 214's bar, the subject of this week's review, and snacking on some blistery shishito peppers and crispy pig ears, I became very excited about the state of bar food in Dallas. Instead of cheese sticks, chicken wings and Reuben sandwiches served with paper napkins (I love those, too) Graham Dodds prepares beautifully composed plates of interesting fare.
The bar menu at Central 214 offers an elevated bar-food power play I wish could be found in more Dallas restaurants. Who wants a plate of hummus and a cheese board when you could have a Scotch egg, steak tartare, fried sweetbreads or a hot-dog roll stuffed with Louisiana crab meat? It's a really great bar menu, though as spring comes, I hope Dodds finds some ways to continue to lighten this offering with other vegetables that shine as brightly as his simple pepper preparation.
It's a shame the beer list is so boring here. Imagine sitting at a bar with a couple of friends, working your way through an interesting craft beer menu while grazing on the crunchy ribbons cut from the ears of swine. The salty, porcine flavor and crisp texture are a perfect pair for a light crisp lager. (They do have Budweiser.)
And if only this could be had late at night. I'm dreaming of a tiny little restaurant with a comfortable bar in a cool neighborhood. They'd serve from a great wine list and make competent simple cocktails. If something like this were around the corner from my apartment, I'd eat there twice a week. Until then I may just have to drop in on Dodds every now and then.
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