Central Provisions is a small place with some tables and counter seating. The main room is on the second level with a street entrance and another entrance is below that leads into a bar and some tables where you can eat the same menu. The bathroom and check in are upstairs so there’s a fair amount of traffic up and down. The upstairs is where the open kitchen is and the ambiance is way better than in the downstairs portion. Windows to the street add to the already adequate lighting for the small, close tables. Service is friendly but timing of food is uneven at this very casual place. However, in their defense the place was packed with lots of people standing around waiting for a seat to open up. We were lucky to get a couple bar stools overlooking the main cooking areas so we got to see lots of the food going out. There was no interaction with those cooking, though, they were just too busy. The menu has plates that are ideal for sharing and we did just that so we could sample more items.
The Bread and Butter is a sourdough bread from the Standard Baking Co. in Portland served with a spinach and green garlic spread and a riesling sabayon spread. The bread had been cooked on a griddle and was perfectly toasted. It was chewy and crisp. The sabayon spread was buttery, rich and creamy. The spinach tasted of greens and raw vegetables. They were good individually and mixed together.
The Fried Cauliflower was coated with ras el hanout (North Africa spice) and plated with chickpeas, feta, apples and herbs. The cauliflower was nicely seasoned and mint was a surprising herb to find that blended quite well. All the ingredients were nice but the cauliflower didn’t come off as the main one. It was good not great.
Caramelized Sheep’s Cheese was made with Barlett pear and quince saba. The pear was sliced and placed in a star pattern on the grill then the previously grilled cheese was placed on top of it. It was crispy on the edge and gooey in the middle. It could have used more quince cause it added a nice dimension to the unusual dish. It was different and fun.
The Bacon Cheeseburger came with Cheddar, Mayo, Lettuce, Onion and you could add a slice of Foie Gras Torchon for an additional $10, which we did. It is a double patty with double cheese and a drippy, greasy burger. The bacon was nicely crisp and it was all on a tasty onion roll. It was really good, but I’m glad we split it. We had ordered their CP Frites to go with it but they were forgotten and we were fine with that cause what we had was plenty of food and the atmosphere didn’t make you want to linger over dessert – which we didn’t.