Tag Archives: Restaurant

Review: Dante’s Restaurant

            I used to go here back in the day when it was known as Bread and Pasta for take out.  Located on the top of Shrewsbury St away from most of the other restaurants, Dante’s stands out among the competition.  It combines for me the closeness of a good Italian kitchen with the attention to detail of the more upscale restaurants.  My wife and I had come here a few years back on one of our first dates and I decided to come back recently for her birthday.  It was a Wednesday evening around 7:30 and we were the only patrons in the dinning room.

            Honestly, the menu struck me as a bit pricey for Italian food, but by the end of our meal we were both extremely satisfied with the value.  The Caesar salad was excellent and could have served two. The dressing was not overpowering and the croutons were crisp.  My wife ordered the Dante’s haddock and I ordered the blackened salmon with strawberry salsa.  Each dish is served with fresh julienne vegetables and a starch of the day.  This day the starch was oven roasted potatoes which were mashed and pan fried with garlic, butter, and spinach.  My mouth begins to water as I write that sentence.

            The presentation of the entrees is pleasing on wide square plates which provide ample room for the each of the portions of the main dish to stand out.  The blackened salmon with strawberry salsa was delicious, however I couldn’t help but wish it had a little more of a kick to it.  The haddock was in a word… extraordinary.  Generously covered in a buttery lobster sauce the haddock maintained a slightly seared exterior which complimented the creaminess of the sauce perfectly.  I had two bites from my wife’s plate and I feel I will be craving it until I return to have a plate of my own.

            What was a very good meal became truly great with the finale of a homemade (yes, they make their deserts in house) baked tart with fresh fruit.  My first thought upon its arrival was “I wish I had a camera”.  The tart steamed with aroma as only freshly baked puff pastry can do.  Upon a first bite my second thought was “I wish I had ordered a second one for myself”.  It’s a desert’s true mission to make someone who is completely full feel like they have never eaten before.  The forks of my wife and I sparred more than once as we each sought another bite.

            My wife was transported back to the flavors of her childhood in her father’s bakery.  A greater compliment I cannot imagine.  I would personally like to thank the staff at Dante’s for a truly memorable meal!

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Review: Nancy Chang Restaurant

            Oh Nancy!  Why must you be such a fickle B!+@#?  While actually owned and operated by a Mr. Chang; Nancy is most notably an upscale healthy alternative to the typical MSG and saturated fat laden excuse for Chinese food.  Almost as notable as the healthy food is the severe attitude problem among the staff.  I’ve pondered this many a time after eating here and as close as I can figure I really believe Mr. Chang just loves bantering with bitchy staff members.  How else do you explain feeling as if you’re bothering a hostess when calling in an order?  Why else would an otherwise good restaurant continue to hire blatantly rude staff?

            The buffet is not worth it, the food is slightly overpriced, and the service is as I said sub-par.  So why do I continue to go back?  Honestly, sometimes I just want Chinese food and besides the fast-food type places there is not much choice in the area.

            Shame on you Nancy.  Until next time…

Review: Dalat Restaurant

            While I was skeptical about the place on Park ave. next to a hello kitty store and a check cashing joint at first; I have to say that the first time I ate there I was hooked.  My mouth begins to water just thinking of the crispy fresh rolls with mint dipped in the famous peanut sauce.

            While we usually order take out, it is a comforting pleasure on a cold rainy day to enjoy a large bowl of steaming hot soup.  Vegans, carnivores, Vietnamese, and Clarkies alike continue to flock here for fresh, nutritious, flavorful food at bargain prices.

            The BBQ chicken or the beef with mushrooms and red and green peppers are both excellent choices for the more mainstream appetite.  For the more adventurous classic Vietnamese gastronomic delights abound.

 

buddha at van hanh pagoda watching over da lat

buddha at van hanh pagoda watching over da lat

Review: Baba Restaurant & Sushi Bar

            Not to rain on the parade of praise for this place but I do have to re-iterate the comments made by my wife.  She took me here for my birthday and we expected great things as we’ve heard.  To be honest we did have to ask to be re-seated so we could at least hold a conversation over the din of the other customers, the bar, and the music which seems to be amplified in such a small place.

            The seaweed salad and Alaskan crab and avocado salads were fantastic and left me in anticipation of the main course.  The menu was not quite clear about what was tempura and what was to be served chilled which did cause an unpleasant surprise when biting into warm sushi.

            The lobster roll was again tempura and did have a heavy coating of a mayonnaise based crab topping which overpowered the dish.  While my wife did not eat any of it I scrapped the top layer off and was able to eat a few bites. Again the sensation of warm sushi was unexpected and unwelcome.

            It is true that the waitress spilled my beer while placing it on the table and did not attempt to clean it up until halfheartedly doing so when clearing our plates.  It was almost comical when the waitress asked if we wanted to take the remainder of our meal home rather than offer us another option given that the plate was obviously not to our liking and actually had a pool of beer which she had spilt into it earlier.

            Perhaps the experience would have been different sitting at the bar, but in my opinion service is as much a part of a good meal as the food, both of which left me feeling bad for my wife who had to pay close to a hundred dollars for unsatisfactory food and even worse service.  It was a beautiful gesture on her part though for my birthday.

            Worcester does have some wonderful restaurants, but it should leave the sushi to Boston where the prices are reasonable for the area, the quality is up to par, and the pretension of hippness is not needed.

            The music is embarrassingly cliché as well.  Sorry Baba but once is enough for me, thanks.

Restaurant Review: One Love Cafe (Worcester, MA)

            A true hidden gem located in the heart of main south in Worcester.  Located right next to the ARTichoke Co-op Natural Food Store, this special restaurant is run by a lovely woman by the name of Venice.  We came on a Thursday evening just after a thunderstorm had come through, creating a humid yet cool breeze which helped dispel the heat from the kitchen.  

            Thursdays are buffet nights and while myself, my wife, and another couple were the only dinners to begin with, by the end of our meal the restaurant was full of people.  From college student regulars who come for the home cooked food at affordable prices, to older couples looking to explore their island pallet.

            The homey feel of the restaurant was matched by the welcoming and unhurried attention from the staff.  Venice especially makes it her personal mission to make sure that not only do you get a delicious meal, but you feel at ease and enjoy your time there.            Truly it was one of the most pleasant dining experiences I have ever had.  With none of the pretentious attitude that you may find at some establishments, the food here is beyond flavorful.  From the refreshing watermelon water to the delicious fried plantains and salad to the main courses of jerk chicken and curried goat, each taste was an exploration of flavor.  We sat long after our meal enjoying the conversation, some good brews we had brought, and a very tasty coconut cake.

            When you come, don’t rush, don’t get uptight if they don’t have some of the menu items at the time, and don’t worry man!

 

One Love Cafe