We really wanted to like this restaurant. We're planning a small wedding lunch reception for August, so finding a restaurant with a private room and delicious food in DC would be wonderful. The time constraint means that we now walk into each potential setting rooting for the restaurant, just hoping it will satisfy the requirements. Central had the restaurant and private room criteria down, but not so much on the delicious food.
Yes, I realize that Central is one of DC's beloved restaurants, #13 on the Washingtonian top 100 restaurants list, so we were honestly surprised by our underwhelming experience. We researched beforehand, ordering the much-lauded gougeres, faux gras terrine and country pate, fried chicken, burger, and candy bar for dessert. Really, we hit all the menu favorites.
No complaints with the ambiance and service, but really, the food is the most important part. The highlights of the meal came at the beginning and end. The gougeres were light and cheesy, as promised, but we easily left a few behind (we should never be confronted with an order of cheese puffs and not want to devour them all immediately). The pate was creamy and the faux gras terrine was flavorful, but not the best we've had. Things really started to go downhill with the entrees: the burger meat was over-formed, dry, and tough; the fried chicken was crispy, but completely flavorless. The candy bar dessert was a bit redeeming, a gargantuan kit-kat, whimsical with a nice crunch, but not enough to overcome the disappointing entrees. It’s a bit worrisome to think that we may have tasted the best dishes the restaurant had to offer. I’d be quite hesitant to try any others.