Best French Restaurant - 2005
Readers' Choice: Le Central
Le Central gets knocked around a lot for things it doesn't do wrong. People complain about the service, saying it's snooty -- when it's actually just French. They grumble about long waits on lunch service when the house is full -- which really means the place is popular. But the one thing nobody ever seems to complain about is the food: lovingly rendered classic French bistro cuisine. Through it all, the kitchen just keeps turning out giant bowls of mussels and never-ending frites, woody onion soups, fantastic lardon salads, haute classics like escargot and rustic masterpieces, all paired against a good vin ordinaire wine list and served in one of the most casually romantic dining rooms in town. Owner Robert Tournier has weathered a lot in the last couple of years -- staff changes, a remodel, the abortive anti-French backlash of 2003 -- but Le Central has survived it all and come back stronger than ever.