-By Mitchell Perry
Over 40 local establishments take part in Worcester Restaurant Week by creating special three course menus priced at just $25.18. This season, I decided to ask a friend to join me at The People’s Kitchen of the Citizen–here’s what we ordered.
Fattoria Sardi, Rosato
Along with the food specials, The People’s Kitchen offers a variety of wines at the Restaurant Week special price of $25.18. Knowing that we’d be encountering a variety of flavors, we decided to take a rose for it’s incredible versatility. After discussing our taste preferences with our affable and knowledgeable waiter, we decided on the Fattoria Sardi rosato. The wine was crisp and dry with hints of fruit—perfectly refreshing.
These thin slices of ruby red tuna were gently seared in a cayenne espresso crust, topped with honey ginger dressing and served beside a poppy seed-studded wasabi aioli. The smoky and sweet danced with the gentle bite of the aioli and, thankfully, were subtle enough not to overpower the delicate, melt-in-your mouth tuna. The sashimi was served next to a pile of pickled, julienned carrots.
Pork Belly Taco
Our first impression of this dish was a bit of disappointment that the starter–$9 when ordered on its own–arrived with just one taco, but these concerns quickly evaporated upon biting into the thick, juicy chunk of pork belly topped with pico de gallo, pickled beets, and a tangy lime hot sauce.
Grilled Veal Chop
Our waiter let us know that the chef recommended meat cooked medium. I normally would hesitate to cook beef for that long, but I acquiesced to the chef’s expertise. This was a fortunate decision as the meat was perfectly juicy, sealed by a hearty crust, and, as the waiter explained, saved from some of the toothy gaminess that can be sometimes found in veal. The chop was served with a red pepper quinoa, and sweet, tender ras el hanout* carrots. The whole dish was freshened by a fluffy mint cream.
*A North African spice mix
Grilled Steelhead Trout
This dish was assembled into a leaning tower of trout. The base was wilted greens under a crispy, creamy jalapeño polenta cake, topped with a perfectly moist and flakey filet of trout and a smoky pile of “bacon something” as the waiter and I agreed to call it. Again, even with the robust flavors found in some of the dishes component, none overpowered the taste of the fish. This dish was the unanimous star of the evening.
Belgian Callebaut Chocolates
We felt it would be remiss to leave The Citizen without trying the Belgian chocolate squares for which the establishment is famous. The board came with two squares each of white, milk, and dark chocolate aside a small pile of berries. The expertise of the chocolatier and quality of the ingredients were made all too apparent as we nibbled the samples along with a glass of port wine.
This dessert was your standard ice cream sandwich revamped to fit a perhaps more adult pallet. The ice cream was replaced by a peanut butter gelato with just a touch of sweetness, sandwiched between two crispy sugar cookies and topped with whipped cream.
This was one of those evenings where the dinner stretches over the course of multiple hours—not because of slow service (ours was in every way professional and personable), but because the experience from start to finish reaches across the five senses and enchants away the rush of daily life. Restaurant Week is meant to allow an establishment the chance to show the best they have to offer, and the culinary team at People’s Kitchen clearly took advantage of the opportunity to showcase their admirable skill and creativity.
Worcester Restaurant Week runs from February 26th to March 10th. To see what else The People’s Kitchen has to offer or explore the menus of other participating restaurants, go to worcesterrestaurantweek.com.