Central 214 Is Fresh And Better Than Ever

by Steven Doyle

I have written about Graham Dodds at Central 214 when he started working for the restaurant located in the Palomar Hotel located on Mockingbird, just a stone’s throw from the SMU campus. Without revisiting the article I know that I probably extolled the virtues of the man with high praise as he rolled out his first menu at 214. It was a shocking difference from what had been served previously at the restaurant and was offered with poise, balance and genuine thought.

Recently I revisited the restaurant when I heard a new menu was in play. What I found was breath taking.  Dodds culls his ingredients from local farmers and ranchers, as many do these days. But there is zeal in his efforts to work with these locals. I recognize everyone on his list of purveyors, and that to me is pretty awesome. I know where all this food is coming from. I have visited their farms and shaken their hands. This is how it is all supposed to work.         

I called to follow up with Dodds this past weekend to ask a few questions, but being a holiday he had taken off to work with the folks at Caprino Royale in Waco and make cheese with them. This is what Dodds is all about. A proactive chef on a mission to change the way we eat and think… one plate at a time.

What we had this evening was more than one plate. We wanted to discover the new menu, but what we actually found was that Dodds carefully designs a new menu almost daily in his special offerings. Some plates are considered for upcoming menus, others are just playful things conjured up because the ingredients were handy that day. 

Roast Baby Beets, Candy Apple Onions, Chevre + Coriander Berries

Here are some of the items we tried that day. Notice one dish had a side of mushy peas which is homage to the chef’s parents who are from the UK and Scotland. I know this only because they were sitting beside my table and had the most charming accents.

Scrambled Duck Egg + Foraged Morels

Steak and Rabbit Kidney Pie + Mushy Peas

Fava Bean Ravioli and Spec


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