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Feb 23, 2013 11:09 AM

Wine dinners in the Woo

Has anyone else noticed how many great deals there are these days for wine dinners in Worcester? 111 Chophouse and Via probably have the highest profile, and those are a good deal, but last week we went to a terrific dinner at The People's Kitchen featuring wines from the excellent King Estate in Oregon. And I just noticed Bocado's doing it too,

All these feature generous, creative dishes from the chefs and well-matched wines, usually with someone from the winery providing interesting (but not too much) information about what we're drinking. And they are a DEAL. TPK was $45 per person for 4 great courses and their matching wines, for example, and that included a generous pour of a $60 Pinot Noir with the main course. They do these once per month...

These dinners are a wonderful addition to the Worcester dining scene -- try one if you haven't yet done so.

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  1. "The Woo" Funny, people really call it that? Trimmed neatly?

    2 Replies
    1. re: BiscuitBoy

      Funny, I grew up in Worcester and still live there and not once did I call it the "Woo" or any of my friends or family who all lived in the city.Same thing with Wormtown, Paris of the Eighties, or anything else besides Worcester.

      Question is the $60 Pinot what the restaurant was selling if for or was that the retail price. $60 dollar restaurant is usually like $30-35 in a retail shop.

      1. re: oldschoolshrewsburyST

        It was the 2009 King Estate Domaine Pinot Noir -- $75 on the King Estate website, and available retail for $60 or so if you find a good price. From a bang-for-the-buck standpoint, though, the standout was their second label Pinot Noir, called Acrobat, which sells for around $16 and was very nice.

    2. Thanks, RickV, that's interesting. I'm surprised about your TPK experience. The couple of times I've gone the food really missed the target. Overambitious combinations that just didn't work. Maybe they are making an extra effort for the wine dinners. I love their concept, but have been disappointed each time. Can you compare the wine dinners to their normal menu for me? thx

      2 Replies
      1. re: Science Chick

        The menu was more ambitious than their usual fare, SC, and mostly worthwhile. The first course was housemade charcuterie and good cheeses -- hard to go wrong there. Then we had poached lobster over risotto, which was very nice, with great flavors and texture. The main course was veal au poivre with fingerling potatoes -- a bit salty but otherwise a great match to the Domaine Pinot Noir. Dessert was a poached pear and "ice cream sandwich" made from macadamia cookies and lemon gelato. For $45 including very good wines, I was happy.

        I agree TPK isn't the best meal in town, but I want them to succeed. We need stable businesses downtown. The space is interesting, and they do some things (in-house butchering and charcuterie, good wine/beer/craft cocktails) very well.

        1. re: Rick_V

          Thanks for the details, RickV....given my vegetarian leanings, with occasional fish, I probably missed out on their strengths (in-house charcuterie is definitely a plus for them, I'd agree!). Although a cheese/charc board we ordered once with a large group was disappointing as well...the cheese selections were almost identical to each other, and the meat eaters among the group were not wowed by the meats. We must have caught them on an off nite. I do love the space and concept and want them to succeed too....such a cool place with the different rooms. One other downside is that there is that cigar bar downstairs and intense cigar smoke infiltrates some of the rooms...yuck! They've been hanging in there for a few years now, so hopefully they will continue to work on their game! :)

      2. I grew up outside Worcester and we called it Wormtown. Wootown is the new term ...LOL

        2 Replies
          1. re: Rick_V

            Of course the city calls itself that. It is called marketing itself especially for the college kids. Again, I don't know anyone who actually lived in the city call that and I live in the city. Its like calling Boston...Beantown, which nobody calls that except outsiders. Anyways , I should try those wine dinners, I always thought it was a waste due to the mediocre wines but coming from a chowhound good review, I should give a try.Thanks

        1. Oh, thankfully the "Woo" was referring to Worcester, I thought for a second you were looking for dinner in Woonsocket.....or "the Socket" as we refer to it....

          1. Last night I went to a wine dinner at Via. Amazing meal and value -- also amazing that there were empty seats. We had a rich Vermentino, a top-end Chianti, and two super Super Tuscans to wash down a killer menu: truffled grilled cheese with asparagus; gnocchi with clams and speck in tomato brodo; lemon sorbetto; sausage with cannellini and mostarda; rack of lamb (8 ribs, for heaven's sake) with potato cake and tomatoes. Then some limoncello to accompany a dessert trio of honey cake with ricotta, panna cotta with cherry, and dark chocolate truffle. $59 including tax and tip.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Rick_V

              Rick, 59.00 for two and ALL of that?? Where's the like button..

              1. re: phelana

                Sorry, Phelana -- it's $59 per person. Still, I think it's an incredible deal. For that quality (and quantity) of meal and wine (hard to find in Central MA) I'd expect to pay $100 pp.