This is not a sharing appetizer; it’s a perfect appetizer that I matched with a glass of Paul Dolan Chardonnay, (Mendocino CA) which is “on tap” at TPK.
My dining companion, meanwhile, seemed no less enthused with his Baked Blue Crab Cakes. “Minimal binder, almost pure crab,” he effused, “Sautéed, not deep-fried!” The two cakes were served with sweet orange ginger aioli and pineapple relish.
He followed with one of TPK’s “Signature Steaks,” a fourteen-ounce dry-aged sirloin perfectly grilled to medium-rare with the tastiest crust of, quite simply, salt, pepper and butter. Inside, the steak was so tender and flavorful he proclaimed it “…full of rich, beefy flavor!” He also reported his glass of Hullabaloo Zinfandel (Lodi, CA), deep and rich flavored, to be perfect with beef.
My entree, Murray’s Natural Chicken Carbonara, sounded like ideal comfort food for the cooler months. Placed in front of me, though, its appearance surpassed my expectations of chickeny-bits in creamy cheese sauce. Instead, the TPK chef took a full chicken breast with wing attached, aka Statler, fried the skin exquisitely crisp and tasty while leaving the meat tender and as moist as breast meat can be. It was quartered and presented over a bed of pappardelle pasta ~ broad fettuccini noodles tossed in a light carbonara sauce with peas and small chunks of fresh tomato. Crisp bits of pancetta bacon contributed texture and an interesting spicy-salt flavor.
Other than value, one of the neat things about prix fixe is the assurance of dessert. To contrast with the richness of my first courses, I reverted to a selection more reminiscent of summer: the Trio of Sorbets. This evening’s selections were watermelon, lemon and mango. Presented in a row of glass columns, I struggled to choose a favorite: mango was very sweet, lemon was refreshing. But the watermelon, well, that one was summer.
My friend chose TPK’s Mango Crème Brûlée with Fresh Berries. The crusty burnt-sugar top sealed in a creamy-smooth custard mildly flavored with mango puree. This flawlessly executed standard was topped with strawberries and blueberries.
The Niche Group has several thematic restaurants in the area. In my opinion, The People’s Kitchen is their venue for culinary virtuosity in bedrock American Cuisine. For the diner, that means surprises with every new menu. In short: it’s a welcome dining adventure.
The People’s Kitchen
120 Commercial Street, Worcester