Disappointing Worcester weekend
Sadly, two pretty mediocre meals this weekend in Worcester. It was our anniversary, so our daughter went to stay with her grandparents and my husband and I planned an evening out. The centerpiece of our night was to be Bocado, followed by hanging at Vincent's and a night at the Crown Plaza. (OK, the Crown Plaza isn't exactly a great night out, but we're remodeling our only bathroom and ripped out the toilet on Saturday...I digress.)
First, Bocado on Saturday night. This was our third trip there (we don't get to truly "grownup" restaurants all that often without the kiddo), and unfortunately it was not quite as great as the last two times.
Our meal started out well, with the cold tapas.
Charcuterie platter - Chorizo, jamon serrano, and idiazabel sheeps-milk cheese. Can't go wrong here - everything was delicous.
Carpaccio - super-thin beef drizzled with balsamic reduction. Very nice.
Dates stuffed with cream-cheese and bacon. Sticky and a little too cloyingly thick, but good.
Then, the meal went downhill.
Lamb meatballs - The mushroom sauce was tasty, but the meatballs were dry and heavy. Pretty awful.
Braised rabbit - This had been our favorite dish during our first visit. This time the bunnies had very little meat on their bones, and the sauce didn't have nearly the depth and richness of the first time we tried it. Sort of vinegary and thin, and just not very good.
Pimentos stuffed with cream cheese - Onion crema was OK, but couldn't quite round out the pickled taste of the peppers. Just OK.
Hubby got white chocolate raspberry bread pudding. Very bread-y and a little dry.
I had oranges drizzled in honey. Nice, though the Italian in my wanted oranges drizzled in olive oil with black pepper instead. :)
Overall, dinner was about a 6. I wish we'd ordered the Kobe min-burgers and roasted baby potatos with truffle oil. Next time.
After our night at the Crown Plaza (hey, I can see the Voc from here!), we headed out for breakfast on Sunday morning. Since we were without child and feeling adventurous, we decided to try someplace new. (Our staples are Shakers on Hamilton or the Broadway on Water.) I had read good things on Chowhound about Zia Grill in Scano's Bakery, so we headed over to Shrewsbury Street.
All I can think is that it must have gone severely downhill. I'd read of creative menu items and specials, and amazing food cooked to order. Instead, we had really pretty awful typical breakfast items. Hubby had a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich on white. Bread choices were very limited - white, wheat, rye, pumpernickle (no bagel, no bulkie...). It was overcooked and dry, dry, dry. I had an omelette with capicola, mozzerella, tomato and basil. It was very ordinary. The homefries tasted as though they were cooked in old oil.
The family at the table next to us (whose child we recognized as a classmate of our daughter's) were overheard telling the waitress that they were sad that the regular cook was not there, because the food was just not the same.
Sunday night, after we'd picked up our daughter, we tried to go to Sano at the Living Earth for a light dinner. Sadly, it's not open on Sunday for dinner. Driving back home, and at a loss as to where to go, we landed at Junior's Pizza Grill because it was convenient and I figured I could get a salad.
Husband's chicken sandwich looked OK, and daughter was happy with pasta with butter. (She is easy to please.) I think I must have been cursed. My spinach salad with pears, bleu cheese and walnuts had a small swarm of fruit flies living in it, which would fly up each time my fork touched the plate and then quickly fly back down to their nest. <sigh>
You can't win them all, so I have high hopes for next weekend. It can't get worse.
> I had read good things on Chowhound about Zia Grill in Scano's Bakery, so we headed over to Shrewsbury Street.
> All I can think is that it must have gone severely downhill.
I had a very similar experience a while back (about a year ago maybe?) -- Everyone was ranting and raving at how good it was, how creative the dishes were, etc.. I found the offerings to be pretty standard breakfast fare (pancakes, waffles, standard omelettes, bagels, etc), and the quality that came out to be dry, service to be bad (we were waiting for a long time initially for coffee, and for refills).
The surroundings weren't what I was expecting either -- I was expecting a place that was a slight bit more upscale, based on what people were saying -- not that I have a problem with that, just it wasn't what I was expecting. -- I was expecting a step up from the Parkway, Boulevard, or Gold Star Restaurant in terms of venue, and got something that was about the same.
I was expecting a step up from the above mentioned restaurants in terms of quality (and price), and what I received was a few steps down, with a price a bit more expensive than the above mentioned places.
Never again will I be going to Zia Grill, unless someone really convinces me otherwise, though this review emphasizes the negative view I have of Zia Grill.
If you do a search of the board, you'll probably find my negative review made shortly after I went there.
"My spinach salad with pears, bleu cheese and walnuts had a small swarm of fruit flies living in it, which would fly up each time my fork touched the plate and then quickly fly back down to their nest. <sigh>"
I'm curious how many times you lifted your fork? I'd see fruit flies ONCE and that dish would be gone, off my table.
Only to poke it! :) I ate one bite, and that was it. It was OK, because I wasn't actually hungry. It was sort of amusing, and I was feeling too laid back at that point to make a fuss. If I had been hungry at all I would have asked for something else.
I did find out though that Junior's has trivia contests on Sunday night, and might go back for that. I always enjoy their buffalo wings and beer. I'm tryng not to hold the salad against them given the normally consistent meals we've had there. Anyone can have a bad night.