I come up rather short when brainstorming romantic dining spots in D.C. Little Serow has certainly joined the ranks with BlackSalt and maybe Sushi Taro or the bar at Cashion’s. Oh, too tough? It’s more about whom you are with, you might say? Yes, but it’s hard to be romantic in a place that seems to channel all its effort into being unsexy.
I had heard good things about Central Michel Richard, but nothing prepared me for just how so-so it is. I guess I could have gauged it on the Jaleo scale. That is, if the Washington Post rates it below the 3 stars it handed to Jaleo, it must be truly terrible. Central gets 2 ½. The menu is straight diner fare and the execution is fine to passable; the music is rambunctious pop; the tables are close together, yet you are far from your date; the service, again, is fine; but the lighting, oh, the lighting: not fine, not romantic—bright and flat. You breeze through it, drop your $150, and forget about it. This is passionless dining at its finest. An appropriate spawn of the oldie, moldie Citronelle.
I should apologize for being down from the get-go on this Valentine’s Day. Give me a second shot. Here is the only meal you need on this day to seduce your sweetie: blini and caviar and champagne. 4 stars every time. Clink!