-By Mitchell Perry
Peppercorns is a post-work staple in the Main South community. The restaurant was bustling this evening, even at the early dinner hour of 5pm—most likely due to the fact that they offer a “picks for 6” menu featuring an array of appetizers, drinks, and pizza priced at $6 every Monday. This coincided nicely with Worcester Restaurant Week as our party was able to order a $6 glass of chardonnay to accompany an already incredibly priced meal. If you’re reading this you’re probably well aware that Worcester Restaurant Week gives diners access to specially created three-course menu options at over 40 local restaurants priced at just $25.18.
Peppercorns’ WRW menu offers some standard starters, plus some special options for an extra $2. One such upgrade was from soup du jour (in this case a tomato bisque) to their famous lobster corn chowder. I say “famous” as this dish earned a solid Second Place in the 2017 Worcester Chili & Chowder Fest. As I happened to be a judge in that festival, I can assure you that they’ve maintained the quality past their participation in the competition: loaded with sweet corn, tender potatoes, and identifiable chunks of actual lobster meat. The consistency of the creamy broth was a perfect midpoint between thick and thin and featured a subtle acidity to balance some of the sweeter ingredients it housed. For our other starter, we decided to stick to the regularly priced garden salad with an asiago dressing.
The value of the Restaurant Week deal was realized upon looking at the regular menu prices for some of the entrees. The Surf n’ Turf, for example, was priced well above $20, but still included as an option for the $25.18 total meal price. This entrée came with two portions of succulent filet mignon and an oversized Portobello mushroom cap stuffed with shrimp and scallop. The land & sea duo was smothered in a sherry wine, lobster-infused cream sauce and served with a heaping portion of herby “red bliss” mashed potatoes. The theme of perfectly cooked, tender meat was carried over into our other entrée: Pork Osso Bucco. It is with no exaggeration I tell you that the entirety of the meat on this slow-braised pork shank melted off the bone upon poking it with a fork. The majestic tower of shank rested precariously on a bed of fried polenta and cheese curd: both equally moist and melt-in-your-mouth. The portions of both entrees where generous to the point where we ordered to-go boxes halfway through in anticipation of dessert.
Of the three options offered for our final course, we had a standard but solid example of New York cheese cake topped with a strawberry glaze, along with a chocolate chip bread pudding. Not as a discredit to the cheese cake, but the bread pudding was an absolute knockout; studded with chocolate chips and smeared with melted milk chocolate, the pudding was served molten hot next to a soothing scoop of vanilla ice cream. Our server shared our opinion of the dessert and assured us it was her favorite on the menu.
With its relaxed environment and friendly staff, Peppercorns is equally suited for an after work happy hour or a family meal, and their willingness to offer up such extravagant and generous menu offerings makes it an ideal destination for Restaurant Week diners. Worcester Restaurant Week runs from February 26th to March 10th. To see what else Peppercorns has to offer or explore the menus of other participating restaurants, go to worcesterrestaurantweek.com.
Peppercorns Grille & Tavern is located at 455 Park Ave in Worcester Mass | epeppercorns.com | (508) 752-7711