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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Taste of Shrewsbury Street 2013

taste of shrewsbury street 2013
Taste of Shrewsbury Street is an annual event held every summer in Worcester MA. Shrewsbury Street is known in Worcester for it's restaurants. While it was once known for it's Italian food, Shrewsbury Street is now fairly diverse in it's cuisine. For $25, you can purchase a button for the event which allows you to sample the food at each participating restaurant. All the restaurants are within walking distance.
taste of shrewsbury street 2013
Three years ago, I decided to go to Taste of Shrewsbury Street with one of my coworkers. It was the first time we made plans oustside of the office. We brought along our boyfriends and the four of us hit it off.  Since then, Sarah has become one of my best friends and I couldn't imagine these last three years without her. Hence, Taste of Shrewsbury Street is our friend anniversary which we happily celebrate annually. 
Or at least we try to...haha. 
We didn't make it last year so technically this is only our SECOND Taste of Shrewsbury Street, 
but who's counting?!
This year, there were over 30 restaurants participating in the event. As you can imagine, 30 plus samplings are A LOT of food haha. So we had to pick and choose our way down the street.  

Our first stop was at Coral Seafood (sorry I didn't get a picture!) They were serving clam chowder. It was yummy! The server was very nice. The decor in there is nice as well! All around, it is a decent place.

Next, we headed to Red Lantern where they were serving crab rangoons and fried chicken wings. The crab rangoons were delicious. I didn't try the chicken wings, but the group seemed to like those as well. Red Lantern seems to be your typically chinese restaurant. I would probably go back.
red lantern worcester
 Funky Murphy's pretty much had a full on buffet. I tried some type of creamy pasta dish, spinach and artichoke dip with fried pita bread, and tacos. 
The pasta was delish.
 The spinach and artichoke dip was good too! I wish they grilled their pita instead of frying them..it was too much.
The tacos were good, but were too greasy for me. 
They were also serving two types of chicken wings which I didn't try.
 Overall, the food was yummy. 
We sat down for a little and ordered a beer. Afterwards, we realized that we probably shouldn't have eaten so much so early on in our samplings.
 Its a good strategy on Funky Murphy's part....with the amount of food they were serving I'm sure they kept people away from other resturants!
funky murphy's worcester
At Funky Murphy's they were also giving out samples of The Tavern which I believe they said was a beer made by the Boston Beer Company. The ginger beer was AMAZING. I tried the strawberry one which was interesting too... 
Next on the list was Sweet. They were giving out rhubarb tartlets. I didn't try my sample just because I was still stuffed from Funky's. Sarah really like it. Dan wasn't impressed by it, though his opinion is a little biased. Dan thinks Sweet's is overpriced. I believe the last time we went there we spent $100 just on drinks and dessert... The owner has been featured on the Food Network several times so her menu can be a little pricey. (I still enjoy it though!!) 
We really had no welcome, interaction, help, or even EYE CONTACT from any of the workers...which I thought was a tad odd. 
Sweet Worcester Bakery & Bar
We then walked further up the street to Corapi Lounge. Corapi Lounge is fairly new to Shrewsbury Street. Dan and I had never been there before. It was nicely decorated and you can tell it looks like a fun bar/nightclub to hang out at. If I wanted to dress up and go out for some cocktails with my girlfriends or for a date, I would come here. 
The server was very nice! He explained that we could order either chicken parm with pasta, eggplant parm with pasta, or steak. We got one of each. I didn't eat my portion (still stuffed from Funky's damn it!) but everyone seemed to like it! 
I will definitely be back to Corapi Lounge again.
Corapi Lounge Worcester
Cafe Manzi was serving three different types of soup: stuffed pepper, italian wedding, and pasta fagioli. The italian wedding soup was fabulous! Dan especially loved the stuffed pepper soup...he said it was amazing. The atmosphere is very old...its an Italian mom and pop type of place. 
I could see myself coming back for some good italian food.
Cafe Manzi Worcester
We then stopped at the Vintage Grille, where Dan and I have frequently gone to dinner. 
They were serving clam chowder and pulled pork. 
I didn't try the clam chowder. Dan said it was good, and that it had pieces of corn bread in it (which is interesting!). The pulled pork was delicious. It was more tomato based and less BBQ based. 
The Vintage Grille is a great place to hang out especially during the summer when their patio is open. The atmosphere is very cool. It was once an old mechanic shop and is now designed with car memorabilia.
 I was a little put off by the servers while we were there. 
They were complaining to us that we weren't taking the clam chowder... 
Do they not realize that they are just ONE of 35 restaurants that we are possibly visiting?!
Vintage Grille Worcester
We then passed by Flying Rhino. We were disappointed to find out that they were ALSO serving pulled pork. None of us took a sample because we had just finished our serving of pulled pork from Vintage Grille. 
Unfortunately, I would have gladly had Flying Rhino's pulled pork over the Vintage Grille's sample. It just looked more appetizing! 
Flying Rhino looked like the place to be...they closed off their parking lot to have an outdoor block party. If you want a fun place to go during Taste of Shrewsbury Street, this would be the place!

At this point, the boys made us take a break and stop in at Rivalry's Sports Bar for a beer special. The bar wasn't serving any food so Sarah and I just sat and complained until the boys were finished haha. Overall, Rivalry's Sports Bar is a nice place to be. They have comfortable couches and good drink specials!
Rivalry's Sports Bar Worcester
Kenichi Bistro was the next resturant on the list. They were serving sushi and crab rangoons. The sushi was DELICIOUS. It was an avocado/cucumber roll with crab on top. 
Sarah and I both decided that their sushi was our favorite sample from the day! So yummy!
Kenichi Bistro Worcester
Mezcal (one of my favorite resturants!!) was next up in line. They were serving ground beef tacos with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. The tacos were nothing out of the ordinary, but still yummy. 
The manager was helping to serve the tacos. Sarah accidentally spilt her taco all over the table and floor. He was super nice about it and cleaned it up quickly. I've interacted with him before during other times I've come to the restaurant. He has always been super friendly and nice which is appreciated!!
Mezcal Worcester
We then passed by several restaurants (at this point we were running out of steam...!). We specifically passed by Brew City as all four of us have had HORRIBLE experiences there since the change in ownership.The changed their entire menu and the food is just not good...
I really wanted to try Nuovo because I have heard great things! There was a waiter standing outside who explainined to us that they were serving penne alla vodka with pulled pork.
The atmosphere inside was beautiful. It would make a fabulous date night! 
 For the food, lets just say it was just not good.... It didn't have much flavor. The trash can outside which was overflowing with bowls of pasta said it all. 
It was definitely disappointing.
Nuovo Worcester
Next, we tried Volturno which I believe may be the newest restaurant on Shrewsbury Street. I was SO impressed by the decor inside. The restaurant was built from an old car dealership and I was just in awe of the design. It was just beautiful! 
Volturno Worcester
As a brick oven pizza restaurant, you would expect that they would be serving pizza...but no. 
They were serving either meatball or sausage sliders. Again, the food was very disappointing. I got the meatball slider and it just had no flavor or even great texture to it. It was not good.
 I would probably come back to Volturno again because it is a beautiful resturant and because I would love to try their pizza, but I would absolutely say no to their meatballs.
Volturno Worcester
We then stopped in at 7 Nana who also had a great sampling of food! 
They were serving chicken tempura, fried shrimp, teriyaki steak, and kimchi. 
They also had sushi but took it away as SOON as I got up to the table. I was seriously disspointed by that! They took away a FULL plate of sushi...
The kimchi was good though VERY spicy. I loved the chicken tempura, and Dan was a fan of the steak. 
The decor inside is very modern and pretty. I would love to come back with friends for some drinks and appetizers. 
The staff wasn't particularly friendly..they looked tired and overwhelmed more than anything.
7 Nana Worcester
We then crossed the street to try Via Italian Table and One Eleven Chop House. They were both serving together. One Eleven was serving their famous chicken wings, which I have enjoyed before. At this point, we were stuffed and had too many chicken wings at other restaurants..so we passed.

 Via was serving gelato which we had been hoping for!! After all that food we needed a little ice cream! I got tiramasu which was yummy! Dan  loved the wildberry. Sarah got the chocolate gelato which she couldn't even eat because it tasted AWFUL! Instead of being sweet, it tasted basically like cocoa powder and water. I guess this is technically how chocolate is suppose to taste..less sugar more cocoa...but I just did not like it.
VIA Italian Table
Pomir Grill, the Afghanistan restaurant, (which I've heard a lot of great things about!) was closed and had an "out of samples" sign on the door which was disappointing!!

Next, we just HAD to stop at the Boulevard Diner for some meatballs, sausage, and pasta. The boulevard diner is opened 24 hours a day and is a staple of ours for late night eating. Dan is especially a fan of their chop suey. 
The meatball and sausage was AMAZING. It tasted homemade.
Boulevard Diner Worcester
Finally, we visited Paparazzi's, the "new" Piccadilly Pub. They had a crazy big buffet: hummus, jalapeno poppers, fried mushrooms, fried pickles, tacos, pasta...IT WAS NUTS. 
They were definitely more focused on quantity versus quality. 
The pasta was really good. Everything else was mediocre... The fried food was really salty and was probably from a frozen package. I hardly ate any of it.
Paparazzi's Worcester
So in summary...
Best dish: Kenichi Bistoro for its sushi and the Boulevard for its pasta.
Nicest Atmosphere: Volturo's with Corapi's Lounge at a close second.
Nicest Server: Mezcal with Corapi's Lounge at a close second.
Funnest Atmosphere of the Night: Flying Rhino (Though Funky's or Mezcal would be a fun place to hang out too!)
Worst food of the Night: Paparazzi's with Nuovo in second and Via's chocolate gelato coming in third. 
Best bang for your buck: Funky Murphy's

My advice for future years?
There needs to be more communication between restaurants, this year there was too much pulled pork and chicken wings!!
To the restaurants:
Be nice to your guests! The nicer you are, the more likely we will come back for dinner!!
Also, serve your specialty! If you make something good, serve it! We will want to come back for more!!

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