Last night we dined at Central 214. Upon arriving, we were surrounded by a crowd of young hipsters with gelled hair and tightly fitting clothing. The space was vibrant and excitable, filled with lots of voices carrying on their own conversations at different tables and corners of the bar. We waited in a short line to speak to the host, who informed us they had lost our reservation. Quickly, some of the excitement began to flee the room as we took seats and ordered drinks in the bar. Within 15 minutes, the host came back to us and told us he had found us a table and promptly ushered us to the main table in the center of the dining room.
After sitting down and finally catching our breath, we noticed multiple camera crew running around the kitchen and following waiters through out the dining room. After inquiring with our waiter, we found out that Chef Blythe Beck, and Kitchen 214 is starring in a new reality TV show on Oxygen Network this fall called Naughty Kitchen. The naughty refers to some of her dishes and the amount of butter, sugar, and deep fry treatment that they receive.
The waiter brought us fresh bread and the traditional salted butter compliment but with a twist. For something different, he also brought pimento cheese and trout salad (fancier than tuna) to slather onto the bread. The most difficult part of the meal followed, which was selecting what to order off the menu. Everything sounded fabulous and the smells coming from the kitchen were to die for.
Around the table, we started with a medley of appetizers. The shrimp and cayenne deviled eggs were cooked to perfection with the cayenne pepper on the side to be added at your discretion. The fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade were exquisite. The panko crust was light and not overbearing, perfectly containing the slightly salty green tomatoes inside. The iceberg blue cheese wedge was also delicious and had a suspicious smokiness I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
For the second course, everybody ordered the diver sea scallops. The portion was small with only 2 scallops per plate, but the texture was terrific. The caramelization on top and bottom was flawless and the prosciutto and arugula salad made a nice and light compliment to the dish. The other dish at the table was the pan seared Strip Loin. Cutting into the steak it was perfectly medium-rare, and was a tender peace of meat.
For dessert we tried all 3 offering. The naughty and nice cookies and milk hit the spot with soft chewy cookies and a glass of bourbon infused chocolate milk to wash them down. The fried peach pie tasted more like a churro then a peach pie, but was still delectable. The chocolate trifle cake was my least favorite of the three, but I still give it a strong thumbs-up if you like chocolate.
At one point in the meal the cameras and chef came by our table to check on us. She was very jolly and excited and wanted to make sure we were enjoying our meal. In conclusion, the food was superb, the portions a bit small, and the service a bit slow. All in all the dinner was a huge success, and who knows, you might see me on my Oxygen Network debut!