The Central Cheesesteak is what happens when the sandwich moves out of Philly, gets married, lands a job at a top design firm, and lives in a turn-of-the-century rowhouse in Georgetown.This grown-up version has a simple name which belies the sophistication that goes into its composition. Like an I.M. Pei, it is something to marvel at.
First, quality short ribs are cooked for 72 hours, then sliced into tender, juicy ribbons sautéed with onions and mushrooms. You know what else takes 72 hours? This architecture competition where students design and build a standing structure. That’s dedication, folks.
Naturally, a cheesesteak isn’t a cheesesteak without the cheese. Central goes one step further and gives you a gravy boat of it. Made with Cheddar, fontina, and parmesan, it’s creamy and soaks into every nook and cranny, creating a veil of hot cheesy goodness. Inwardly, you thank the cheese gods. A lone tear traverses your cheek. The brioche is glossy, airy with perfect lines that would make an aviation engineer cry. The only weight is the butter.
The total package is smooth, soft, seared and glistening all at once. As you chew thoughtfully, you envision a Fallingwater with a river of cheese bubbling below. Despite its streamlined appearance, the Central Cheesesteak ($25) requires rolled-up sleeves.
Highly recommended are the gougères ($7), hanger steak au poivre with onion carbonara ($26), and roasted salmon with pearl pasta ($19). For dessert, don’t miss the banana split ($12) or Michel’s chocolate bar ($9).
Central Michel Richard
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
Valet parking available after 5:30 pm
Metro: Orange/Blue Lines to Federal Triangle. Two blocks northeast of the station.
Mary was born and raised in New York City where her family owned restaurants. Instead of eating dirt on the playground, she ate duck blood, beef tripe and pork belly. She cut her teeth at The Mandarin Oriental and The Ritz-Carlton hotels, working with Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Williams, Michael Stipe, LeVar Burton, Jane Krakowski and others. Mary founded Girl Meets Food in 2009 as a cover for her debilitating addiction to fried chicken and was named Washington Post’s “Favorite Local Foodie.” After 13 years in hospitality, she started freelance writing for USA Today, The Washington Post, Eater, Washington City Paper, and more. Today, she provides digital marketing for hospitality clients as a content creator who’s contently creating content.