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Big Portions and Big Flavor.
Extending from the entrance off the rear parking lot, a walkway lined with flower boxes leads you to the front patio, a semicircular deck; this is where guests can enjoy outdoor dining highlighted by lanterns and tiki torches.
The building itself is reminiscent of a nice neighborhood family home, cozily tucked into a corner of stately New England greenery. Stepping inside Cedar Street, we found the atmosphere and style similar to that of a sexy euro bistro. Dove grey walls with prints and French advertising posters echo the bistro feel while sheer curtains and large candle votives in saturated colors of tangerine, cobalt, and lime pull the lighting down to a warm, intimate level.
Settling down to peruse the menus, I first opted for the Australian Hyland Shiraz, which was excellent, and my guest sipped a Bombay Sapphire. The menu is a surprising mix of eclectic ambition and gourmet fun. It took both of us a bit of time just to absorb the wonderful and varied descriptions that accompanied each item. Finally, we gave up trying to select an entrée and decided to focus on the starters instead. So, while continuing to anticipate the rest of our dining experience, we started with the Fried Cuban Calamari. My companion and I are major calamari fans and we agreed that this version of our favorite might take the prize. A virtual pile of calamari arrived perfectly seasoned and lightly fried, stacked in a square ceramic basket and resting on a banana leaf drizzled with lime mayo and decorated with paper-thin lime slices ~ wonderful! My guest then enjoyed the Sweet Bell Pepper Soup and Chesapeake Bay Clams in a smooth and creamy sauce. I chose the Poached Black Bean Ravioli. Dressed with bold red and green stripes that conjured up an image of the Italian flag, the raviolis sat in a pureed pamadoro sauce and were stuffed with cumin, cheddar cheese and tequila ~ very nice.
Our salads turned out to be yet another culinary triumph. The Baby Arugula Salad came with sliced pecans, candied orange peel and bleu cheese while the Beef Carpaccio Salad, accompanied by chunky pieces of goat cheese, was covered with capers and super thin slices of carpaccio and onion over mesculin greens.
It was no surprise when our dinner plates arrived artistically drizzled with beautiful sauces. I had opted for the Miso and Molasses Glazed Tuna and my guest had splurged with the Filet of Beef. I love fish steaks as a rule, but I tend not to head for sashimi. Although my tuna was certainly of that high a quality, my huge portion was ~ as the menu had promised ~ glazed in the sweet molasses and decorated in a light miso. The wonderful tastes of this entrée just kept coming; a bed of wild brown rice, sautéed asparagus, and squash and zucchini kept my taste-buds enthralled. The Filet was just as delicious, accompanied by a mound of savory basil mashed potatoes and a cognac au jus. As tempting as it was to combine all the flavors in one mouthful, the filet was so exceptional that each piece deserved to be savored on its own.
Knowing that we were so full that an entire dessert was out of the question, we still had to try at least something, right? At our server’s suggestion, we both sampled dessert trios. My guest indulged in the trio of Italian sorbets decorated with chocolate pieces and I went for the trio of crème brulees; both were outstanding. The three sorbets were highlighted by a grapefruit flavor that was so intense it was like biting into one of the fruits itself and the chocolate… well, if you’re a fan of the dusty super dark chocolate bars you would have been in heaven, each piece so dark and creamy it was like frozen molten chocolate. The brulees were also a treat, creamy and subtle, with the lime of the trio generously infused with a rich, key limey tanginess.
Cedar Street is not new to Sturbridge, but its reputation had been for having only a decent menu and a decent selection of vegetarian items. Now under the inspired and talented hand of Chef William Nemeroff, the restaurant has undeniably become one of the best in Central Massachusetts. Cedar Street Restaurant is a perfect mix of outstanding, creative cuisine, gracious service and a warm, hip atmosphere. For a special occasion with a good friend or loved one, or simply as a treat to yourself, you can’t make a better choice than Cedar Street Restaurant.
DETAILS: Cedar Street Restaurant
12 Cedar St,
Sturbridge, MA 01566