This month Todd Johnson checks in with Graham Dodds, the newish executive chef at Central 214. His cooking is a far cry from his predecessor Blythe Beck. Have you tried the newish Central 214?
With his shaggy beard and dark painter’s cap, Graham Dodds looks out of place in Central 214, the restaurant he now helms at Hotel Palomar. It feels like a typical hotel restaurant—contrived modern decor, nondescript white leather banquettes, amber walls—so focus-grouped that it lacks any personality. And it’s not just the new chef’s appearance. Dodds’ culinary history is far too personal for such an impersonal space.
For the past three years, Dodds was the executive chef at Bolsa, the award-winning spot in the Bishop Arts District. He was in on the project from its inception, and his farm-to-fork approach—championing local and seasonal ingredients—was fresh at the time, not the marketing gimmick it has become. Dodds’ creations were simple, his flavors pure. Nothing was over-sauced or overwrought. Bolsa was an instant hit, and it established North Oak Cliff as a dining destination. D Magazine named it the 2009 restaurant of the year.