Hello, D.C. Hounds!
Due to my move from New York to Washington, D.C. in less than a month, I thought I would post my first review of one of the excellent restaurants in your (and soon my) wonderful city!
My cousin, boyfriend and I had 6:30 reservations on Friday for the acclaimed restaurant, Central Michel Richard.
The first thing we noticed was the wonderful decor. It is very classy but unpretentious.
We started out with a couple of cocktails and were served warm, sliced bread (crusty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside) with butter. This was easily some of the best bread I've had at a restaurant.
We then ordered 2 appetizers: The charcuterie plate and the cheese puffs (gougeres). These were both amazing. The cheese puffs were like mini cheese bisuits, served warm. The charcuterie plate was a selection of salami's and (my favorite of the bunch) the chicken liver pate. The pate melted perfectly when spread on the warm bread - Very rich and delicious.
For our entrees, I ordered the mussles while my cousin ordered the shrimp burger and my boyfriend ordered the hamburger.
My mussels were very good. They were served in a white wine and garlic sauce, but I honestly can't rememebr too much about them because the dish paled in comparison to my companions' dishes (...well that, and I had already consumed a rather large martini and was now sipping on a glass of bubbly).
The shrimp burger was fascinating because it didn't appear as a burger made of ground up shrimp, as you might think. It was more like several large shrimp fused together, so that each bite had that firm consistancy that only comes from biting into a whole piece of shrimp, if that makes any sense. It was very tasty as well.
Still, I think the star of the evening was the hamburger. My boyfriend and I have been to all of the best 'lower end' burger places in New York (Corner Bistro, Shake Shack, Royal, etc.) but this burger trumped them all. It was perfectly cooked and so rich and buttery that I had to ask the server if there was any fois gras hidden in the meat (the answer was 'no'). Perhaps all of the burgers served at higher-end restaurants are this delicious, since I don't have that sort of basis for comparison, but I can't imagine that this burger wouldn't be one of the front runners.
Lastly, the service was phenomenal. Our server's name was Victor and he was perfect: very friendly and attentive, but not overly so. He was extremely knowledgeable and gladly took into account my request that we wanted to have a very leisurely meal.
Thus, after 2.5 hours, 2 cocktails, 1 bottle of sparkling wine, 2 appetizers and 3 entrees, the bill came to $200 with tip. I think this is very reasonable for such a great overall experience. I highly recommend this place and I look forward to going back!