Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This past week I was surprised to see a new menu addition staring up at me from the middle of the menu at Central: a cheesesteak.  I was intrigued; this is just the type of playful take on classics that Michel Richard surprises you with at both Cirtonelle and Central.  If I were anywhere else, I would be skeptical of what seems like a gimmick, but of course, had to try this new take on the Philly classic.

Central's take on cheesteak, with the fired chicken peering out in the background.

Central's version is based around 72-hour braised short ribs atop house made brioche along with shitake mushrooms and onions, and homemade cheese sauce. It is served with hearty steak fries -- a potato sliced into six wedges (different from the other fries offered on the menu) and a homemade zesty ketchup which gets its kick from Worcestershire and horse radish. 

The verdict?  Playful, yes, but beyond that, absolutely melt in your mouth -- I am never traveling to Philly again -- delicious.  The short ribs are so tender, and their juices soak into the bread.  The cheese sauce was addictive, tangy and creamy.  And those fries, meaty and zesty with a coating of what I think was celery salt, and more importantly a great vehicle for that ketchup. 

My one complaint is not about the food, but the presentation.  This dish is served atop a thin layer of parchment paper, much like a traditional cheesesteak.  Cute.  However, because this is more knife and fork food, the parchment paper does not hold up, and tears, which could result in an unfortunate addition to the sandwich.

Central's take on cheesesteak is $25.

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  1. Wow, that looks and sounds amazing! Just the thought of a 72 hour braised short rib gets my mouth watering... While I'm a little apprehensive to fork over $25 for a Cheese Steak, I think I'm going to have to give this a try asap. Did you have a red wine with it? How was that pairing?

  2. Chris. I think it is worth the price and a great splurge. And Central has a decent wine list by the glass to pair. I would ask your server. That particular night, B and I actually brought our own bottle ($25 corkage) of Silver Oak Cabernet -- one of my favorites.

  3. Oh nice, I didn't know you could bring your own bottle... that's quite interesting.

  4. I was there last week and my friend tried the cheese steak (I had the sea bass and loved it). You're right - that cheese steak is ridiculously good. Guess what? No parchment on the plate. Maybe they're reading your blog!