Monday, October 4, 2010

Smokestack Urban Barbecue

Last weekend the Wife and I had a sitter for the kids, so we decided to give Smokestack Urban Barbecue a shot. I was quite excited to try this place as I love good BBQ, and it was right in the city.

Appearance: Located in the Canal District of Worcester right on Harding St. They have a nice big parking lot which is a plus. When you walk in, the restaurant is to the right, and the bar area is to the left separated by a large open area that might be great for local entertainment in the future. We sat at a high top table in the bar area.

Food: the Appetizer menu was full of things I wanted to try like the deviled eggs, Over the top fries and Fried Pickles, but we settled on the Warm Barbecue Chips served with a Blue Cheese bacon dip. The chips were served in a little metal pail with the dip on the side. The Chips were warm and crispy and very good. I was not so happy with the dip, it was a blue cheese dressing with soggy bacon mixed into it and just didn't work for me.

For the main course My wife ordered the Beef brisket with 2 sides and cornbread, and chose Smashed Potato's and Cucumber Salad. She went with the Traditional BBQ sauce as she was told it was not spicy. She did not like the sauce at all, and thought it was very spicy. She scrapped most of it off. The cornbread was too dry, the Beef was just OK, as were the sides.

I decided to go with a Combo meal consisting of Baby Back Ribs, Smoked Chicken and Pulled Pork with Mac N Cheese and BBQ Beans. I chose the Vinegar based BBQ sauce and thought it was quite tasty. The Mac N Cheese and Beans were excellent!! As for the meat, I am shocked to say the Chicken was the best thing on the plate. It was cooked perfect and full of flavor. Unfortunately the ribs were not fall off the bone good. In fact they were very tough and dry. The pulled pork was just large hunks of meat with allot of fat, just OK.

Value: I found the prices to be a little on the high side. The draft beers thankfully were on special at $2.50, but are regularly $5. the Combo was $19 which I guess is average, but was not the best for the price. We spent $60 for dinner for 2.

Service: There seemed to be a little confusion at the Hostess Booth when we arrives, but were seated within 5 minutes in the Bar area without being asked if that was OK. Granted it did not matter to us, but it would have been nice to ask. I think our waitress was also the bartender which was fine when we got there, but as it got busier I service slowed way down. I felt rushed when our appetizer and meal were served within 5 minutes tops of each other. My wife was disappointed with the BBQ sauce being decided as not spicy, then hearing other waitress's describing the 2 different sauces as spicy and sweet. And then my credit card was charged a few dollars more then the bill, but I just called it part of the tip and called it a night

Overall I did not think it was the best, but they are new to the area. Maybe they can work out the kinks!! There are many of menu items that I wanted to try still so I can't say I wouldn't try it again, Maybe I was just there on a off night.

Smokestack Urban Barbecue
90 Harding St
Worcester MA 01604

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pure Chocolate

This will be more of a quick write up then a review, but while in Quincy I swung by Pure Chocolate.

I have had this before at the Phantom Gourmet Food festival, and my Neighbor had gotten me some once. I decided to stop by so by Brother could try it, and to bring my Wife home something as she had to work while I was out Gallivanting all day.

It is just a small little place in Quincy not far from Fat Cat, but they have the most amazing Chocolate. They have this thing called P2C2 which is Chocolate with Carmel, Peanuts and Potato Chips. Not sure why, but it is an excellent combination. I also tried Larger Tartarugas (Dark Chocolate, Carmel and Pecans soaked in Sam Adams, and can not even begin to describe how good they were.

A must try if you are ever in the area.

Pure Chocolate
102 Franklin St
Quincy MA 02169

Fat Cat

Last week I took a road trip to Quincy to check out my Brothers apartment, and grab some good grub with him. It was between Fat Cat, and Blue 22 Bar and Grille. Chris made the decision, and Fat Cat it was.

Appearance: Hidden on Chestnut St in Quincy, there it was, a Tiny little building with a big orange awning. Upon entering I first noticed a small bar separated from the dining area by a partial wall. The dining area was very small, but filled up quickly during Lunch time. The lighting was very dim, and there were big black cats sitting up above the restaurant like gargoyles. The Restroom was brown and orange with pebbles poured into the floor giving a really odd feeling to your feet. The sink was a big bowl on top of a vanity, but it oddly all pulled together for a kinda fancy look.

Food: A menu packed with all your favorite apps, and sandwiches along with some entrees. We started off with a order of 10 Fat Cat Wings. after much debate we chose the Qcity Sauce which was a honey sauce with red pepper flakes. They were so crispy and delicious, served with one of the best Blue Cheese dips I have ever had.

Then we moved onto the main course. My Brother chose the Fat Cat Burger and he added Cheddar Cheese, Bacon and Onion rings. When it arrived, we were in awe of how many onion rings there were. I swear he had to eat large order of onion rings to even find the burger on his plate. And to boot the Rings were excellent as he said the burger was too. I had to try one the Gourmet Mac N Cheese's. It was a tough choice, but I chose the Hot Dog Mac, the steak or lobster mac's were front runners, as was the $34 Ultimate Fat Mac. I was very pleased with My choice, perfectly creamy and oilily with large slices of Hot Dog, topped with Panko Crumbs and Tomatoes. And I think for the first time ever, I could not finish my meal it was such a large portion that I brought half home.

Value: Portion sizes were huge!!! Prices very average. We left $40 for lunch, and that was with the tip. The only thing i noticed on the menu that was not a great value was that they wanted an extra $5 for boneless wings. I didn't want boneless, but I thought it was a lot.

Service: The hostess was very pleasant, and seated up immediately upon arrival. She also assisted the waitress by getting drink refills. The waitress was also very nice. I think she was overwhelmed with the lunch rush as in between our wings and meal she asked if she could get us dessert, but it was laughed off, and she was back quickly with our food.

I already have and will continue to recommend Fat Cat to anyone heading to the Quincy Area. Excellent food, great atmosphere!!!

Fat Cat
24 Chestnut St
Quincy MA 02169

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Have not been able to eat out that often

Hello Everyone,

I apologize that my blog has not been updated recently. With the current economy, Having 2 children, and saving for the Holidays, I have not been able to get to any different restaurants lately.

I have decided to expand my blog to different types of reviews. In the effort to save money, my family has been trying all kinds of different recipes. Things that we would like to order out at a restaurant. I find these recipes all over the place, in cookbooks, magazines and mostly on different blogs out there. So in the near future look for some recipe reviews!!

I have also decided to review different types of beers. Recently my wife started school on Wednesdays, and a very good friend has been coming over for beers and video games. Over the past couple of weeks we have experimented on some different Brews, and I would like to start sharing them with you.

As always i will continue to do the restaurant reviews as I try new places, but I thought it would be interesting to mix it up a little. Hope You all enjoy

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mezcal Tequila Cantina

Last night I got home form work, and My wife said lets go to Mezcal for diner. Who am I to argue such a great idea. And besides this is probably our last chance to get out during Worcester Restaurant Week.

Appearance: Mezcal is located right on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester, and has outside sidewalk seating. When you enter there is a small bar area to your left, and a small dining area to you right. I also noticed another dining area located upstairs. All tables and lined with brown paper, and have a bowl of fresh avocado's on them. There is a guacamole bar right in the restaurant where you can watch the guacamole being made.

Food: We have been here before, and really liked it. This time we ordered off the Restaurant Week Menu. It was not a very large menu, so we chose opposite each other to try all they had offered.

For appetizers we had Fried jalapeno & jack cheese rice balls with chipotle lime aioli (Very Good), and Made to order guacamole with fresh tortilla chips. I love there guacamole, it is a must have when you visit Mezcal.

For the main course my wife chose the Chicken Quesadilla, and could not even put a dent in the amount she was served. I went with the Blue corn crusted tilapia over bbq pinto beans with
bacon & spinach topped with creamed corn sauce & mini cheese quesadilla. OMG it was so good!! My son got the Kids Cheese Quesadilla's with about a pint of sour cream.

The dessert was Coconut crusted fried ice cream with strawberry sauce, whipped cream & shaved chocolate. It was excellent, though I did have to send back the first one as it had no ice cream in it. But I had a new, and lager one within minutes.

Service: Great service!! Our waitress was very pleasant. Food came promptly, and hot. The dessert error was quickly resolved.

Value: I think the value is great. Excellent Mexican food with large portions. How can you go wrong! And once again the Guacamole is the best value.

Obviously I would recommend Mezcal to anyone that likes Guacamole, but I would also suggest you give the place a shot even if you don't. Great food!!!!

Mezcal Tequila Cantina
166 Shrewsbury St
Worcester, MA 01604

VIA Italian Table

Another night out enjoying Worcester Restaurant week. This Time we went with 2 other couples. After looking at lots of menu's online, we made a group decision to try VIA on Shrewsbury Street.

Appearance: VIA is located right on Shrewsbury St in Worcester. You enter from the Street behind the building, walking through their large enclosed Patio. When you walk in, there is a nice looking Bar to the left, and a fairly large dining area. There were a lot of fancy half moon shaped booths, and the lighting consisted of a lot of flameless looking candles hanging from the ceiling.

Food: Everyone just ordered soda's on this night, though they did have a menu for drinks. We all chose to order off the Worcester Restaurant week menu. I am pretty sure between all of us we tried all the offerings off the Restaurant Week menu.

For Appetizers had a few very good sized portions of Fried Calamari that were excellent. There was an order of Jumbo Shrimp cocktail that consisted of 4 or 5 shrimps. My neighbor ordered the Asparagus, Toasted Walnut & Goat Cheese Salad, and our only complaint was the goat cheese was very soft. And my wife went with the Zucchini with Almonds & Truffled Pecorino. She did not like the cheese, but the rest of us did.

There were 3 choices for the main course, and we did get them all. There were 3 very good sized Chicken Parmesan's, 2 orders of the Split roasted sirloin of beef served over pea Risotto, and 1 order of Tuscan Shrimp Scampi. Everyone raved about how good their meals were, and of course some of tried others meals. multiple people took home dogie bags.

For Dessert, we had 1 order of Homemade Gelato, 2 orders of Creamsicle Panna Cotta , and 3 Cannoli's. I would say the Cannoli's were a bit disappointing. The filling was to soft, and the shells all fell apart. The Creamsicle Panna Cotta was very good, and almost to much to finish.

Value: I can not speak for the regular menu, which looked pricey, but the Restaurant week menu was a great value. The portions were large, and I assume the regular menu portions would be ass well. How often can 6 people go out to eat a good meal for $140.

Service: We had 2 waiters that were both very attentive. The only error made was an Ice tea was brought when a Pepsi was ordered, but that could have been the bar, not our waiter. They were quick to apologize and get another beverage.

I hope many of you are enjoying Worcester Restaurant week which ends tomorrow, so if you get a chance, give VIA a shot, and I am sure you will be satisfied.

VIA Italian Table
89 Shrewsbury St.
Worcester, MA 01604

VIA Italian Table on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 7, 2009

Flying Rhino Cafe & Watering Hole

Last night my wife and I got together with some friends to go out and experience a new Restaurant during Worcester's Restaurant week. We wanted to try someplace we would not usually go as this would be a good opportunity to try a 3 course meal for the reasonable price of $20.09. we decided on the Flying Rhino Cafe & Watering Hole.

Appearance: Flying Rhino Cafe & Watering Hole is located on busy Shrewsbury St. They have outside seating both on the sidewalk, and they have a good sized deck. Inside is a small cafe looking restaurant with a large handful of booths and tables.

Food: No complaints in the food department, except the wait and there was a tiny loaf of bread sliced into 3 pieces for a party of 4. I would say there was about 30 minutes between appetizers, and the main course. 3 of us ordered off the Pre Fixed Menu for Worcester's Restaurant Week. We all had different appetizers. The girls tried the Cucumber, Tomato and Feta salad, and the Crab Ragoons. I went with the beef and Mushroom Barley. We also ordered an order of Thai Chicken Lettuce wraps, and pot stickers. I would say all appetizers were very good. for the main course, both girls got the Chicken Charmondy dish, and I tried the Prime rib. My friend ordered off the regular menu and choose the Everything Tuna. Once again all very good. For desserts, we had the White Chocolate Croissant pudding, and the Fried dough, and had no complaints. I will get into the drinks during the service part of my review.

Value: The pre fixed menu was not a bad value at $20.09 for the 3 courses, and the portion sizes were bigger then I had expected. I would stay away form mixed drinks here as a sangria cost $9. Beers were about average priced. The Tuna steak was about $20, and appetizers ran around $8 each. Our bill came to $132.01 for the 4 of our dinners with drinks.

Service: This is where I was greatly disappointed. Have you ever gone inside to a Dunkin Donuts, and had the one person working the counter, and 6 people working the drive up window? Well that is what it felt like. We sat inside, and watched out waitress service the outside dining area all night. We started the evening by ordering our first round of drinks. Before Appetizers were served we ordered our second beers. While eating our appetizers another tables appetizers were delivered to our table. A few minutes later our waitress showed up with a glass of wine asking who ordered it. I said we ordered Beers, and she said they would be right up. Now we are done our appetizers, and still have not seen out drinks., and our waitress uses the excuse that they had to change the Tap. I might have believed that if she had brought my Buddy's Bud bottle and said that, or if when my beer showed up it had any foam on it. It must have been sitting at the bar for quite some time after it was poured to have no foam left. I am pretty sure that is the last time we saw out waitress again until the bill was brought. Approximately 30 minutes after our appetizer plates were cleared someone brought our main course. By the time we were done the main course we had been there an hour and a half. we wanted to ask for our desserts to go at this point, but that was not an options as we never saw our waitress. Also the menu said coffee was served with dessert, and we were not offered any.

I left exact change $132.01, and wrote on the Bill poor service no tip. How do you call yourself a watering hole, if you can't Even get a beer. I heard from our friends that the waitress was in the parking lot holding a slip in her hand when they drove away. I would hoe it was to apologize!!

I can not say I would recommend Flying Rhino Cafe to any of my friends.

Flying Rhino Cafe & Watering Hole
278 Shrewsbury St.
Worcester, MA 01604

Flying Rhino Cafe on Urbanspoon