Thomas McNaughton, who cooks soulful food at Flour+Water, is breaking out of the Italian mode at his new Mission restaurant that reeks of California chic.
- Chef McNaughton was recently nominated for the James Beard Foundation's "Rising Star Chef" award.
- Central Kitchen was named one of 12 "Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2013" in America by GQ's Alan Richman.
"The menu changes often, but if you get the chance to try the poached hen entree, get it! Easily one the best things I've ever eaten in SF."
"The lemon cake dessert made my heart sing — it's very possibly the perfect dessert. "
"Splurge on the tasting menu — worth it!"
Diners enter into a covered garden-like patio that's used for seating year-round, and then into the back dining room with an open kitchen at one end and a bar on the other. The intricate preparations capitalize on the local bounty with dishes like salt-baked celery root with amaranth, almond and fresh curds; or a hen with smoked oyster relish and green garlic puree.
The lobster came with persimmons and an avocado-and-parsnip puree, a blanket of sweet tastes over the lush crustacean meat. Some dishes aren't quite what they're called. Sturgeon, Celery, Matsutake wasn't considered a soup, but with so many moist ingredients, it appeared to be one. Cod also had brown butter, lots of it, a discernible sauce.
Outdoor lights hang romantically from strings slung overhead, and the connection is delightfully blurred between the interior seating and the outdoor courtyard's trickling water feature and Paxton Gate plant life.