The other night I wanted to meet my friend in Cambridge for dinner somewhere near Central Square. I’ll be honest, we first tried to go to Little Donkey, but of course no availability. So we happily settled on Central Kitchen.

I’ve been wanting to try this place since I stumbled into their upstairs bar Brick & Mortar about a year ago. The inside looked so cozy and French with the low light and wood paneling – it drew me right in. OpenTable categorizes Central Kitchen as Mediterranean, but I would argue it’s French with a few exceptions [see: cioppino, ceviche, and bauernwurst sausage]. We ordered the warm spinach salad, onion soup, moules marinière, and the egg cocotte. Surprisingly, the only dish from that selection that’s still on the menu is the moules! Maybe it’s the changing times from fall to early winter [or early fall to late fall?], or maybe it’s because chef/owner Gary Strack likes to keep things interesting.. the alley side of Central Kitchen is one of Boston’s sanctioned graffiti walls.

We loved the mussels, and I reallllly loved our egg dish, which was almost like a dip/spread for the perfectly grilled bread that accompanied it. I also really like warm salads, although I felt the spinach salad we ordered was overdressed.

If you go, I’d say order the mussels, either the steak tartare or steak frites depending on your preference, and octopus. From what I hear and what I could see, those seem to be the consistent winners; dishes like those have kept Central Kitchen a Central Square staple since 1998. I also would say that this place is not particularly veg friendly, but there are a couple options for veg and allergy diners.

Bonus: they serve three kinds of bread at the table with a delicious white bean spread.

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