Went to Central Kitchen for the first time last night. Service and wines were great. Wines by the glass were all affordable ($7-8) and very good. We had a sauvignon blanc, riesling, grenache, and cabernet.
Food was so-so. We ordered 4 appetizers for 2 of us. Lack of salt seemed to be the theme. Every single dish we tried was underseasoned. Here is what we had:
Grilled octopus with fennel, tomatoes, potatoes, capers, and olives -- octopus was on the tough side.
Mussels with fries -- great fries and aioli, very good mussels -- if only the mussel broth was seasoned, it would be a perfect dish.
Bistro salad with duck confit, sweetbreads, lardons, lentils, and frisse (sp?) -- there was just a wisper of the duck, so it was hard to tell how that was. sweetbreads were not crispy, lentils were good, frisse was tired and wilty.
Braised pork with moroccan spices -- mostly good, a bit tough in parts.
All in all -- 2 pretty good appetizers (mussels and braised pork), and 2 pretty bad ones (octopus and duck salad). But having to add salt to everything after it was cooked was frustrating. It just doesn't taste as good if it's not seasoned during cooking.
There's been some discussion on this board about Boston restaurants not being on par with NY, Montreal, Philly, etc. I whole heartedly agree, and it's not the lack of creative ideas or interesting ingredients that bothers me. We have plenty of that in Boston. It's inability to season properly and cook to the right temperature. I can't count the number of times that I got overcooked meats, undercooked braises, and consistently underseasoned food.
It's so discouraging, I started dreading eating out in New American or other mid to high price places. Somehow this doesn't seem to be a problem in ethnic and more casual places (or at lease the ones that I like -- O'Cantinho, Emma's, Domenic's, Tanjore).
Sorry, I didn't mean to whine and complain. I just want to be able to go out and have a tasty meal and it seems to have gotten very difficult.