Monthly Archives: April 2010

Restaurant Review: Central Michel Richard

For my birthday dinner, Adam took me to Central.    The restaurant won the 2008 James Beard award for Best New Restaurant, and Chef Richard was one of the first chefs in the country to offer a bistro edition to his classically French “haute cuisine” Citronelle.  I personally enjoy this phenomenon because, as evidenced by this blog, we eat out quite a bit.  My bank account can’t afford $150+ pre fixed menus all the time.  Sometimes you want to enjoy the creations of a chef, without taking out a loan.

After looking at the menu, we decided to begin with soup, and then move onto our entrees.  But wait, what’s this?  Cheese puffs! A dinner that starts with gougères can’t be bad.  Little tiny packages of “crispy on the outside” but “fluffy on the inside” dough and cheese that melt in your mouth.  My only complaint; they came out too close to our soup course.  The soup needed to be enjoyed hot, which caused us to loose some of the enjoyment of eating all the puffs still warm from the oven.

Central Michel Richard

Fried chicken with mashed potato

For the main course, Adam ordered the fried chicken, and I chose the steak tartare.  The chicken was cooked well, with the right balance between moist meat and extra crispy skin and breading.  As with most French chefs, the sauce (chicken gravy in this case) was what made the dish.

I was venturing into new territory with my tartare.  The only tartare I have had before has been seafood.  What I love about those dishes is the fresh taste you get from good ingredients.  My steak tartare was exactly that.  The flavors of a well cooked filet were there, but intensified by the herbs, seasoning, and completely fresh meat.

Central Michel Richard

Tartare of filet mignon and french fries

Our service during the meal was good – we were seated next to a family that knew our server, and it felt like we were having a meal at someone’s home.  Everyone was friendly and engaging, and while we enjoyed the atmosphere, nothing jumped out as exceptional.

The most interesting part of the meal was that Chef Richard spent the evening dining and conducting business in the restaurant a couple tables over.  I didn’t catch what he ordered for dinner, but he and Adam share the same taste in beer.

Central Michel Richard

Blusser Pilsner (U.S. exclusive)

Central Michel Richard on Urbanspoon

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Restaurant Review: Five Guys

Five Guys

Five Guy's burger and fries.

I know, I know – Five Guys isn’t a secret. But I eat a lot of burgers and Five Guys burgers are really good. So this post is my way of paying homage to one of the best burgers around.

I had my first five guys burger a few months after moving to Washington DC in 2005. I had just finished a 10,000 mile road trip with my friend Jim, during which among other things I had my first In and Out Burger – the Five Guys of the west coast.  The two share many similarities – fresh beef, fresh cut fries, a cult following. So in the span of a few months I had two of the propritedly best chain burgers out there. The verdict?  Well, I love the many great burgers out there at one-of-a-kind restaurants like Spike’s Good Stuff Eatery, Red Rabbit, etc.  And although In and Out Burger has animal sauce and milkshakes, Fives Guys wins for me.

Burgers can be ordered as a little or regular, with or without bacon and cheese.  Toppings are free and unlimited, including lettuce, tomato, onion, grilled onions, mushrooms, ketchup, mayonase, mustard, steak sauce, BBQ sauce, and I’m sure a few more.  Burgers are grilled when ordered, and wrapped in tin foil. Fries come sm and lg, with sm being large and the lg being huge – enough for at least two to three people. I suggest getting the Cajun fries.  Because everything is cooked when ordered, you have to wait a few minutes. But good news, there are peanuts for your eating pleasure.  Seating and soda is self serve.  The there’s lots of ketchup and malt vinegar to go around.

In fact, Val and I like Five Guys so much, we went there for Valentine’s Day!  We normally go to the one located in Silver Spring near Cherry Hill Road, but there’s lots to choose from.

Five Guys

Drinks and peanuts.

-Adam

Five Guys Famous Burgers & Fries\ on Urbanspoon

Five Guys on Urbanspoon

Five Guys - Columbia Mall on Urbanspoon

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