The Washington Post
Critic rating
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Neighborhood: Downtown
Cuisine: French
Price: $$$ ($25-$34)
Sound check: 75 decibels (Must speak with raised voice)
Chicken schnitzel, sparkling with lemon and capers, is an example of the magic Citronelle chef David Deshaies is working at Central while his home kitchen undergoes major repairs.
Our Review

2012 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012

If the shuttering of Michel Richard Citronelle in Georgetown had a silver lining, it was the chance for the four-star restaurant’s No. 2, David Deshaies, to work his magic at Citronelle’s downtown spin-off. The food in the convivial bistro, from the delicate gougeres to the robust cioppino, now has a clarity and finesse it has not had in years. I applaud the kitchen’s playfulness; a summertime appetizer of cubed tuna and watermelon not only lands beautifully on the tongue, the eyes are fooled into seeing surf as turf and vice versa. And I appreciate Central’s lunch-to-go menu; sticking by your desk is easier when there’s a bag with a lobster burger nearby. Thin saucers of chicken schnitzel sparkle with lemon and capers; short ribs lack crust, but the roseate bars exemplify home cooking translated by a master chef. If you like being the center of attention, ask for the towering, chocolate-robed “celebration” cake for dessert. Yes, it’s $15, but the confection feeds a posse and comes with a sparkler that rivals the Fourth of July.

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