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Central Kitchen

Perfect For: Date Night First/Early in the Game Dates Outdoor/Patio Situation

Central Kitchen

Since it's football season, we think it's safe to venture into gridiron analogies to describe this restaurant. Its big brother, Flour and Water, is universally admired and has a strong claim as one of the all-time greats. Central Kitchen is a little less technically competent, a little less focused, but no slouch. For those who haven't yet figured out where we're going with this: Central Kitchen is Eli Manning to F+W's Peyton.

Like any rational fan, we love this second-in-line sibling. Most of the food is great. Sure, the pastas don't quite stand up to big brother's, but high- quality ingredients and effortful construction take many of the dishes to that next level.

Brunch deserves a special mention—the french toast bread pudding is a pile of sugary gooey excellence that can (and will) send sweet-seekers into peals of joyful moaning. That sounded pretty sexual, because it was.

The restaurant's patio is one of the best in the city, nearly by default. (As an aside, how is it possible that, in California, we can count the good restaurant patios on our fingers? Something is deeply wrong here.) On a sunny day, this is one of the coolest places in the city to hang out and drink some sparkling wine. Shockingly enough, you can even get in, most of the time.

Central Kitchen is the kind of solid executor that this city is short on. Most places this good are f*cking mobbed. To come back to the football analogy: while Peyton may be setting the records, Eli's still got two rings.

Food Rundown

Bresaola Toast

While avocado toast is all the rage, we're not sure anyone else  has considered putting Argentinian salsa (chimichurri) all over it. They should.

Ham Hock Agnolotti

Taste that? That's intense bacon flavor. In your pasta.

Chestnut Maltagliati

This was widely debated at our table, even beyond the pronunciation of "maltagliati" (good luck!). Final take was that if you like mushrooms, you'll like it a lot. If you don't, it's just okay. The pasta are nice al dente napkin-style sheets.

Pot Roast

Does this pass the grandmother test? Yes. My grandmother definitely could not have made this. The meat cookery plus horseradish was a cut above.

Black Pepper Pound Cake

This honestly kind of sucked. The cake was dried out as hell. By far the weakest thing we've had here.

Chocolate Custard

Mmmmmm...a bowl of chocolatey almond goo with coffee ice cream. Not a bad decision.

Baked Eggs

A bubbling pot of delicious porky egg game. Someone's gotta order this. Along with any other egg dish on the menu. You want it.

French Toast Bread Pudding

As noted above, this is a crowd pleaser, especially with the ladies. We recommend it in stone fruit season, as if it's humanly possible to time your restaurant-going with the movements of the earth.

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