After my latest travel adventure to Massachusetts I can safely say that Boston isn’t the only city in this state with a noteworthy food scene. My visit to the area was based in Westborough which sits comfortably between both Boston and Worcester. During my weekend stay, we used one of the nights to venture off the beaten Boston path to try out some of what Worcester, MA had to offer.
My company for the evening out was a local and she had already vetted out both of the restaurants we ate at. She deemed them both to be worthwhile experiences I needed to have. Driving to our destination I took note that the main road, Shrewsbury Street, was lined with restaurants, bars, and shopping. Our chosen dinner eatery, Volturno, is a newer addition to the lineup in town. The interior looked like a refurbished factory with extremely high exposed ceilings and floor to ceiling paned windows. They pulled the workshop theme through to their place settings with kitchen rags as napkins and aged clipboards that held the typewritten menus. I didn’t feel the décor matched the Italian cuisine’s culture that they served but, I did appreciate the design.
Volturno is known for its Neapolitan style pizza. They have two wood fire ovens that are constantly churning out pies for their faithful diners (All weekend, every person we told that we went to Volturno praised their pizza). Sadly enough, I had eaten pizza in New Jersey before I had hit the road that afternoon. I wasn’t ready for a pizza overload so we opted to try some of their authentic Italian dishes instead. The menu caught my eye with distinctive ingredients like speck, bone marrow, and tomato stracciatella. They also make all their pasta and sausage in house.
Our polpette (meatballs) arrived shortly after we placed our order. They were tender and flavorful. Our trio of bruschetta came out slightly cold which worked for the tomato selection however; was not appreciated on our funghi bruschetta with cold melted fontina. The salty speck (it’s kind of like a dry aged smoky prosciutto) with spring onion pesto bruschetta was a unique and scrumptious bite. Our last shared plate was the pasta special of the evening, lobster and Jonah crab fra diavlo. The homemade pasta was paper thin, the sauce had a perfect kick of pepperoncino, and the seafood was fresh. I savored the layer of crispy breadcrumbs on top as well.
We were careful to leave room (leftovers were happily received from the meal) for our dessert stop in the attached restaurant next door. Sweet is a bakery and bar. Both the restaurant and their bakers have been featured on Food Network shows such as Chopped, Sweet Genius, and Cupcake Wars. They are also the inventor of the Dossant (a donut crossed with a croissant…not to be confused with the Cronut).
This eatery concept was exciting to me. Why hasn’t anyone in North Jersey come up with putting a bar in a bakery and making it a late night hotspot? Sweet was spot on with their décor. I loved the chandeliers and hot pink back lighting. The two floors of seating were packed with patrons enjoying a nightcap and sweet treat. I paired my Sambuca with the Dossants, their specialty. The warm, sticky pastries were excellent. My only criticism would be that they do not need the dark chocolate filling. I liked the flakey, sweet flavor all by itself and didn’t want this stolen by the filling. We shared a deliciously creamy crème brulee as well. The other menu item that really popped out at me was a buttered popcorn panna cotta that was paired with caramel corn and peanuts. I guess I’ll just need to make another road trip up sometime to try that one!
What a wonderful evening of food! If you’re headed to Massachusetts anytime soon now you know where to stop.
Volturno’s Website: www.volturnopizza.com
Sweet’s Website: www.sweetworcester.com
…all for the love of the dish!