A revisit to Central214 under the direction of Chef Graham Dodds is much-anticipated event. Things are busy for Dodds as of late…with brand new spring menu underway, a redesign in the works and a killer inspiration for his culinary development. The place was buzzing on Tuesday, a usually quiet night for dining out. My dining companion and I were treated to a first taste of the spring menu and a brief conversation with Chef Dodds.
Dining at Central214 since Dodds took reigns is a hard to find blend of outstanding local product use and a comfortable dining experience, where relaxation and savored tastes come to life.
We tasted starters like Popcorn Sweetbreads that were buttery, crispy with just the right amount of chew and bite of lime. Next a dish of fresh Fava Bean brushed toast with a nice pair of Balsamic Olives. Our final first dish was a perfectly light BLT Salad with thinly sliced Beef bacon, a barely there peppercorn dressing and sourdough crumbs that were spiced just right.
For entrées, Dodds experiments with something I’ve never quite seen before, Hay Roasted Lamb Breast. It was served along a great piquillo and cucumber sprouted faro dish. Vegetarian and meat eaters alike can enjoy handmade Trompetti with al dente English peas, artichokes, castelfranco (a cousin of radicchio) and creamy burrata cheese. Slow cooked Goat Brisket came next. Goat Brisket? Juicy and perfectly fatty with just the right tang of smoky flavor? Sold. Plated with a white bean puree and sunflower sprout slaw made a great pair of fresh flavor to play off a smoky brisket.
At this point, I’ll admit…I thought I’d seen it all. Chef Dodds had lined up some star plates for us to try and just when I began to feel full, it came. The meatiest, succulent piece of Louisiana Redfish with savoy spinach and sauce grenobloise. Get this. If you remember my love for the oxtail ragout I’d had before here, the Redfish plays a similar tune to my taste buds.
Dodds had a final touch to our tour of local flavor and produce. First, warm Blueberry Cobbler with fresh market cream. Followed soon by a delicious and airy buttermilk panna cotta served with a strawberry rhubarb sauce.
Treat yourself and those you REALLY like to a great meal and experience at Central214 at the Hotel Palomar. Come hungry, Chef Graham Dodds will fill you with food made with love.