Central Square has gentrified since my days living on Harvard Street.  There’s a Starbucks (whoopee).  There’s still a range of eclectic stuff left over from the dodgy past – the Middle East is still there and the Toscanini’s.  They’ve been joined by some high-end restaurants.  One of them, Central Kitchen, was recommended to us with the caveat that those of us in the sunrise of our forties might be able to bear the background music better than those approaching the sunset.  They were right- I hardly noticed the music.  I did notice the food.

Closest I’ve come to Mussels from Brussels are Jean Claude van Damme movies.  So, my reference point for the best mussels I’ve eaten is the Hopleaf in Andersonville on the North side of Chicago.  And I prefer them cooked in beer rather than cream and wine.  Central Kitchen does them in some kind of herb butter.  They plonk some frites on top with aioli.  The mussels were soft and delicious, bless their little hearts.  The broth was wiped up with stellar bread.  Jacques Brel on the stereo and a Chimay in my hand would have completed the picture.  No need for beer – I was happy with the pinot noir.

The main course was very good but couldn’t live up to the moules.  And it was too big and too expensive – I felt bloated at the end.  Next time, a salad for the appetizer and the moules for the main course.

We shared the cinnamon beignets for dessert.  They were stale.  The falling down chocolate cake has to be ordered thirty minutes in advance.  Next time.