Le Mirage Restaurant

dscn1230-copyBy Bernie Whitmore

Le Mirage Restaurant
120 June Street, Worcester
(508) 793-8558
www.lemiragerestaurant.com

“Casual Dining” covers such wide spectrum of restaurants that it’s become difficult to know what the phrase really means. But as soon as I entered Le Mirage I could tell it was casual in all the right places and in all the right ways. The bright, spotlessly clean dining room was furnished with Formica-topped tables set with paper napkins and fresh flowers. When we arrived, gentle early-evening sunshine was streaming through large windows that look out onto the corner of June and Chandler Streets.

dining-review-pic-copyWe were greeted by Lola, our server, who explained that customers are welcome to bring their own beer or wine. I asked for a glass of iced tea and was pleased when served authentic tea, not sugary stuff from a bottle or powdered mix. Lola also presented a list of the evening’s dinner specials before giving us time to make our dining decisions.

Le Mirage describes their cuisine as having “A touch of Mediterranean cuisine.” There are some American comfort food dishes on the menu, but I was pleased to find a good selection of the Middle Eastern fare I’d been craving.

Although my friend and I had differing dining objectives, one easy decision was our appetizer; we shared a Taboule Salad. Freshness and flavor is everything with this dish and Le Mirage’s had both. Chopped deep-green parsley and cracked wheat were dressed with lemony mint dressing, diced tomatoes and bits of onion. Its freshness and color captured the essence of a sunny garden ~ we scooped up every last morsel with triangles of pita bread.

photo-copyLe Mirage’s entrees were just as successful. My friend’s Surf -n- Turf avoided the pitfalls that historically made this dish risky; the sirloin steak was perfectly grilled medium-rare as requested and the two jumbo shrimp were moist and topped with rich cracker-based dressing.

I chose Baked Kibbe with Fattoush Salad. The large cake of fresh ground beef and cracked wheat was served with a cup of yogurt dressing. In appearance it was just like what’s served in other Middle Eastern restaurants. But Le Mirage’s was set apart by its delicate seasoning mix ~ Cinnamon? Sumac? Allspice? I can only guess because Lola wasn’t about to reveal the kitchen’s secrets.

We finished our meals with the Walnut Caramel Tart, served warm and drizzled with caramel sauce. Topped with finely chopped walnuts, the soft shortbread pastry was luxuriously coated with honey filling. Keep in mind, the Tart was just one of an extensive range of choices in their display case.

Le Mirage is ideally located at the center of a few of the city’s nicest neighborhoods. It’s an excellent place to meet friends and share a bottle of wine and an unhurried dinner.