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Entries in Nuovo (1)

Friday
Mar302012

Nuovo

Nuovo

92 Shrewsbury Street
Worcester, MA 01604   

508-796-5915

Twice a year Worcester Restaurant Week provides diners an opportunity to try different restaurants using a lower “prix fixe” menu.  Seeing Nuovo on the restaurant week website reminded me of Café Nuovo in Providence (a great place to have dinner during Waterfire.)  Time to visit this eight month old restaurant in Worcester across from Via on Shrewsbury Street.

As with many Shrewsbury Street restaurants, parking is at a premium.  I got there early enough to snatch a prime street parking spot, while the others in my group parked down the street.  There is a sign on the building proclaiming parking in rear.

My visit was on the last full day of winter, and the open sliding doors welcomed us like a North End eatery as Worcester broke a temperature record for March.

We had a choice of sitting in the front near the open door in an open bar area or being seated in the rear in the main dining area.  Since our group was small, we didn’t need the large function space above in this former Tribeca location.  The bartender and waitress were very friendly, offering a run down on evening’s menu.  They simply could not have been more welcoming, and we were quickly seated near the open door.

For our first course, we went with the Calamari Al Nuovo (pan fried calamari topped with red peppers and pepperoncini) with a side of red wine marinara sauce, the Nuovo Salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and olives over mesclun greens), and the Coconut Shrimp.   This is where Nuovo first started to wobble as a restaurant.  The salad was perfect, and the coconut shrimp were good (ironically a bit too much coconut.)  The calamari was a soggy mess.  We debated what went wrong with the calamari, including whether they were fried over a high enough heat. 

For entrees, we went with Chicken Cordon Blue served with Cheese Ravioli, and Pork Osso Buco (pork shank braised to perfection served with smashed potatoes.)

The pork was a large bone in presentation with a slightly spicy red sauce.  The presentation is fabulous…one of those entrees people crane their necks to see has it is served in the dining room.  Truly a fabulous entrée.

Contrast that with the chicken cordon blue and ravioli.  When my kids were smaller I’d buy frozen chicken cordon blue at BJs and it was really quite a nice meal.  Nuovo’s chicken cordon blue had a store bought taste as did the ravioli.

The chef kept checking in at tables, so we asked him how the meals were prepared.  He admitted the chicken cordon blue and ravioli were purchased “half prepared,” giving him the opportunity to add sauce and spice to taste. 

We know all restaurants must be creative to serve dozens of meals nightly.  That said, nuovo is Italian for new.  Sadly, there was little “new” in this entrée.

The “nothing new here” theme was continued into dessert.  There were three desserts on the restaurant week menu, and four in our party.  When asked what else was “fabulous”, we were presented with a plastic encased dessert menu clearly emblazoned with a Bindi logo.  Nothing against the fine people at Bindi, as their desserts were really quite good.  But where was the “new”?

Shrewsbury Street is loaded with restaurants serving outstanding food.  Nuovo apparently serves (a lot of) commercially prepared food, something making them rather pedestrian for the neighborhood.

So, if everything else is packed Nuovo offers an alternative.

Hours

LUNCH and DINNER HOURS
Monday - Friday : 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Late night bar menu Thursday, Friday and Saturday night’s until 1 am

 Nuovo gets an AMBER LIGHT…use caution.

About the RAG scale:

       Green Light – Go and enjoy

       Amber Light – Use caution

       Red Light – Save your time and money