I had been hearing about some good things happening at Central 214 located in the Palomar Hotel on Mockingbird at Central so I decided to check out exactly what the hubbub that the pink chef Blythe Beck was up to. I had seen Beck at the Taste of the Nation dinner at Stephan Pyles last week where she was given the best chef award for the evening so that made my curiosity even stronger.
Chef Beck is no stranger to her kitchen digs, starting out with Dean Fearing at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek working her way up to a Saucier position, then eventually staking claim to the Sous at Hector’s on Henderson and eventually tackling Executive Chef in 2006. This is where her ‘naughtiness’ started to emerge. You can still find her crazy good deep fried lobster stuffed avocado on the menu.
Soon after accepting the Executive position at the Palomar she made her way to the Oxygen channel with her “In the Naughty Kitchen with Chef Blythe Beck” program where her weekly kitchen antics were on display for all to witness. If you missed the program you can watch clips on Hulu.
I will admit that I enjoyed my most recent to Central 214. I had attended a wine dinner a few months back and it was good, but I was really eager to see what Beck had on her new menu. Plus I wanted to toss a wrench into her usual fare by having the craveDFW Vegan Girl join me to see how naughty Beck could be when she couldn’t use cream, butter poached lobsters, or the myriad of cool cheeses that the chef would typically use to give each dish her signature feel.
I won’t detail out the vegan side of the table since Vegan Girl is working on her piece to share with us later, but I think it would be safe to say Beck kicked vegan ass.
Earlier in the week I was at another restaurant and saw a woman lift her bowl and lick the sauce off the porcelain in an extreme cat-like manner. There were a few occasions this night that I was tempted to reenact this feat. Check it out:
With strong appetizers as the fried lobster and grits, chicken fried oysters and such it is difficult to choose how you may wish to start a meal. This Crab and Roasted Corn Fondue with its thick silver dollar-sized house-made tortillas is a special way to go.
Chef Beck makes friendly towards the veggie gods with her salad, but does a complete 180 when she adds her own smoked lardons and laces the greens friendly with them. House-made bacon goodness.
The pan-seared Texas Redfish was crispy with a moist interior and married well with the ceviche-like Rock Shrimp and Avocado.
As the next course was stepping our way I could hear rings of the Aaron Copeland ballet “Rodeo” ringing in my head. It’s his tune “Hoedown” that accompanies the Beef Council’s commercials. This slab of rib-eye was impeccably grilled and slathered in a cayenne butter. That potato salad tastes just like my mother’s.
And because the dinner was simply just not naughty enough, Chef Beck made sure I tried her Dr Pepper float made with Amaretto ice cream, Dr Pepper reduction, whipped cream and Southern Comfort soaked cherries. Having enjoyed her banana pudding with its bruleed bananas I thought it might be a let down, but I kept going back to the dessert even after pronouncing I couldn’t eat another bite.Central 214 5680 North Central Expressway
Dallas, TX 75206