782 Florida St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Why did we dine here? – Central Kitchen is a new restaurant in the Mission District from the creators of Flour and Water. They source products locally and look for sustainable foods. This long awaited restaurant opened in May 2012, along with next door sister deli Salumeria. Chef-partner Thomas McNaughton and chef de cuisine Michael Gaines (Manresa)
This place is not very big and has 22 indoor tables along with a long communal table in a heated patio area. The decor is modern rustic.
Insider Tip – Make reservations, this place is popular. Go for the tasting menu.
Cuisine – California Cuisine
Location – Mission District, San Francisco
Opened – May 2012
Service – Central Kitchen had competent and friendly servers. There was no need to track them down, all though they did make a couple minor mistakes.
Verdict – Central Kitchen serves up very good food, something everyone expects given their lineage. A week before this meal, we had dined on the tasting menu at Quince. While that meal costs about double, it allowed us to see what that extra money buys. Quince is definitely on another level.
$1.95 for Healthy SF.
Central Kitchen’s Menu consists of a fairly short al carte menu with six starters and three entrees. Their five course tasting menu requires the participation of the entire table and only costs $25 more.
Central Kitchen tasting menu ($79, $50 beverage paring)
Canapés – Parsely soup was strongly flavored. Crispy pig trotters were fun and crispy. Celery drink was just plain weird.
Homemade bread and (butter) was hot out of the oven and excellent. We went through many refills.
shellfish. turnips. bone marrow and horseradish. – Mussels and clams were pristine, but we couldn’t taste the bone marrow.
peas and curds. mint. rye crumble. walnut. – Strong pea element to this starter, each scoop containing peas, broth, and crumble made for an interesting play of textures.
olive oil baked halibut. artichokes. nettles. egg yolk. – A nice sized piece of fish cooked just right, along with the trendy 62 degree egg.
Alternate: duck roasted over the coals. porcini. barley. crushed peas. – Medium rare slices of duck breast that were cooked just right, along with some small accents from the fresh mushrooms and vegetables.
spring lamb. chard and white onion. – Slightly gamey, untrimmed fat, cooked just right, not as good as the lamb we had the previous week at Quince.
meyer lemon sorbet. blackberries. pistachio. – The Meringue helped tone down the tartness of the sorbet, while the berries added a fruity element.
cherries. toasted buckwheat ice cream. – A nice low key dessert with cherries blending well with the ice cream.
Bourbon chocolates rounded out the meal.