Blythe who? There’s not a wish to want, for Central 214’s new chef has got it covered. Having been absent during the days Blythe Beck cheffed at Central 214, this history remained a mystery. Enlightenment arrived during an interview with executive chef Graham Dodds over the weekend.
How does he perceive all that is Blythe Beck? “She likes to fry EVERYTHING.” Dodds went on to mention her signature chicken fried Kobe beef steak dish before politely referring to her cheffing genre as, um, maybe a little “down home cooking.” Alrighty then.
Beck’s September departure brought in a temporary until Dodds was delivered in December. As a respected chef around town, he was up in the club upon hearing Hotel Palomar fancied starting a farm to table kinda concept, which gives almost every chef instant warm fuzzies.
Dodds opened the highly respected Bolsa four years ago, with great success. Even rookie Dallas people know all things titled Bolsa are the bomb. Dodds expressed his joy in having the option for an everyday menu change. His beef with being in a hotel is the challenge of making a menu switch work when he has to cater to room service. Eww. Nobody likes that.
Though Dodds gets tired of cooking the same thing, he’s pondered thoughts of developing a separate menu for room service, thus opening the option for a daily menu change downstairs at Central 214. Like. Chef Dodds changed the menu in January and then again just a few days ago. At this point, his plan is to fluff up the menu every six weeks.
As we continued our chef chat, Dodds expressed his happiness in that the rule makers let him do what he wants. “I didn’t want to come and do the corporate thing. Most people want to know where their food comes from and doing the small farm thing is important to me.” What really puts a pip in his skip in having total creative freedom in the kitchen.
First words from the waiter were to order chef Dodds’ famous triple cooked fries with malt vinegar. Chef Dodds said everyone thought he was a little crazy when he started cooking them, due to the five hour process. I asked if this was a recipe from long or short ago. No. At Bolsa he didn’t even have a fryer. Really. That’s what he said.
His parents are British, so he spent many summers having fish-n-chips. Since the last chef fried everything, he adopted her two fryers and the rest is history. This chef maintains his fries are a pretty healthy version of the average everyday grease ball fries. Secret: He boils them first.
Faba bean toast just sounds sassy. The olives are marinated in house with balsamic vinegar & rosemary, which comes from the chef’s own garden. Faba bean puree is similar to what some humans consider a mini feeling of hummus. It has a little bit of mint, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and a smidgeon of truffle oil… just a little.
A friend of mine just so happens to get neck hive splotches & red ear angry merely smelling truffle oil on anything. He borderline needs truffle oil counseling.
Honestly, the Scotch egg fleur de sel & frisee app, um, frightened every part of my being. I’m pretty sure just the Scotch part is the area in which frown wrinkles wrinkled. As this fable became one with the table, it was obvious a Scotch egg google should have gone down. Is this something everyone knows? AVH is now labeled, slapped across the chest with a capital R! There’s no way I’m a Scotch egg rookie. No.
After a full blown Scotch egg investigation, google maintains the following to be Scotch egg fact:
“A Scotch egg consists of a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. The London department store Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented Scotch eggs in 1738, but they may have been inspired by the Moghul dish ~ Narcissus meatballs.”
Meat! Everywhere. Left? Meat. Right? Meat. Holy freaking meat explosion. As hopes and dreams became seconds from a hit or miss dismiss, it appeared our server said… portobello. Is this a Portobello mushroom sandwich? Could it be? What? Come again?
Oh. Portobello was merely a pipe dream ingredient. Sitting on the edge of my chair, I could only helplessly ask my table neighbor of carnivore rapport, “Did they say portobello or porkobello?” He knew the answer, but couldn’t bear the scare. It’s not the chef’s fault. He didn’t know one of the two dining were almost veggie. Sniffle.
Moving right along…
Ahh, the honey & thyme glazed porchetta sandwich. Our Saturday afternoon skyrocketed to a status obtained only in the heavens above, as our server, of immaculate food description knowledge, bellied up to our four top to spew a pork product preparation description like no other.
To begin, you must have none other than a pork shoulder in your possession. This shoulder is cut up and wrapped in the belly of a pork. Roast this off and put a honey thyme glaze on all pork product parts before slicing it super thin.
Let us not forget to mention the sugo sauce. For those living an inquisitive life, this is a pork gel based sauce taking close to 12 hours to prepare. This deed includes carrots, with a little celery, some fennel, and onion served on toasted ciabatta with arugula.
Goat brisket. Yes. That’s right. Slow cooked goat brisket with white bean puree & sunflower sprout slaw. Dobbs has a farmer down in Comanche, Texas who “does” the goats for him. This means a particular farmer provides close to ten goats per week. This chef says the coolest thing ever is having the whole brisket on a single plate.
We didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Central 214’s pastry chef, Gladys Ibanez, but did devour one menu standout titled ugly pug chocolate cake with chantilly cream. A must try is the chocolate-cranberry pavlova with pistachio white chocolate cream.
Fear not non chocolate likers, for this kitchen offers lemon honey cake with sweet mascarpone, as well as housemade churros with cajeta and fugi apple. Want.
The very next day, parking out front and running inside before brunch at Mesa… was the ONLY option. It’s hard to believe we left the day before without ordering the farm egg salad sandwich with wild arugula & piquillo peppers.
Painful. How could this have happened? It was clear that no one would stop this order from being placed. Every egg salad fantasy became instantly fulfilled that very morning. Don’t mess with my deviled eggs OR egg salad sandwich because it will be on like Donkey Kong.
Dodds grew up here, but left for about 20 years to travel around. He finds it funny that when he came back to open Bolsa, everyone called him the Alice Waters of Dallas, which he maintains is hilarious. Him doing farm to table, like it’s a new thing, makes him laugh. A lot.
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