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Chefs Have The Hots For Ash In Fancy Dishes

Will 2012 be remembered as the year of ash? Chefs at hot San Francisco restaurants like AQ, Central Kitchen and Maverick are using ash in their cooking with increasing regularity. They'll deeply char everything from corn husks to wood and vegetables, using the ashy byproduct to create intricate flavor on the plate.

First Bite: Central Kitchen

Central Kitchen is the new restaurant project in the Mission from the Flour + Water team. As you probably know by now, Flour + Water has an amazing reputation for its Mugnaini-fired pizzas, and heavenly pasta. Though Central Kitchen boldly eschews both items from its menu, the team's sophomore effort has come with its fair share of hype and expectations. Now, two months in, the nightly results on OpenTable usually turn up a discouraging number of 5 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. tables. It's probably easier to score a seat by just walking in.  

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