Boston Restaurant Blog -- February, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Depending on whom you talk to, Shrewsbury Street in Worcester is either considered the city's "restaurant row" or its "Little Italy" (or both). In either case, the often-bustling street, which heads east out of downtown Worcester, is surely one of the best places to go in the city if you're looking for food, as it has a ton of restaurants, including many Italian eateries and a few classic diners. And of course, some of the street's dining spots are better known than others, with the popular Boulevard Diner and One Eleven Chop House being at one end of the spectrum and places such as the one we went to over the weekend--La Scala Ristorante--being at the other end. Indeed, there is very little information on La Scala online, though based on the decent crowds we saw there Saturday evening, it does seem to attract a local following.
La Scala is a tiny place, with a small bar situated to the right and a few tables to the left (including booths) and along the front windows. The atmosphere is that of an Italian cafe, with a hard tile floor, some exposed brick behind the bar, a curtain that diners need to pass through as they enter the place, and classic Italian music played in the background. There is also a bit of a "ski lodge" feel to the spot, as it is dark and cozy and feels like a place that is meant for lingering. A small outdoor patio is available to diners during the warmer months.
We had a bit of a wait when we first arrived at La Scala, so we squeezed into the rather cramped bar area and had a couple of beers (including a very nice Wormtown Ale). Once seated, we started with a special antipasto for the evening that included all kinds of grilled vegetables (zucchini, squash, onions, red peppers) as well a tremendous sharp provolone cheese that may have been the best part of the dish, a good helping of spicy soppressata, fresh Italian bread, and a mix of black and green olives. The antipasto was really quite good, though it seemed almost too big, nearly killing our appetites before we even saw our actual meals. As far as the meals themselves, the veal marsala was excellent, with tender pieces of meat mixed with earthy mushrooms and a perfectly sweet marsala sauce, all over a large bed of linguini--perhaps a bit too large, actually, as it threatened to overwhelm the entire dish. The other entree--the gnocchi pesto--was similarly satisfying, with soft pillows of potato pasta mixed with a deliciously garlicky house-made pesto. Dessert was disappointing, as the tiramisu was more like a piece of birthday cake, and about as overly sweet as some birthday cakes can be. Service was good overall, and the prices were very reasonable, with the total bill (including two rounds of drinks) being about $60.
Although it wasn't the best Italian meal I've had over the past few months, I believe that the food at La Scala was good enough to warrant another trip to the place, especially considering the low prices and the easy parking behind the restaurant. There are plenty of other good restaurants on Shrewsbury Street--as well as Worcester in general--but La Scala seems to be a decent spot that also appears to be flying quite a bit under the radar, at least outside of the immediate neighborhood.
For those who want the address for La Scala, here it is: La Scala Ristorante, 183 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester, MA, 01604. The phone number is (508) 753-9912.
I wonder, is this any relation to La Scala's in Randolph?
Posted on 3/14/11
It doesn't look like the two are related. La Scala seems like a pretty common name for a restaurant, actually.
Posted on 3/15/11
Place is awful now under new ownership and current owner is out of touch with reality. Worst restaurant staff in Worcester! Had a great bartender for a long time but no longer works there.
Posted on 4/20/11
We had been to La Scala years ago and returned a few years back with bitter disappointment. Knowing there was new ownership we stopped by on a recent Sunday afternoon. We were seated immediately...but opted for the cozy bar instead. The Sunday menu is limited, but awesome. We ordered traditional antipasto - it was big enough for a party - not two people and was superb. Followed with veal parmigiana...not a big fan of red sauce but this sauce was so crisp and clean and bright...topped a deliciously tendered and perfectly fried veal. Homemade breadcrumbs added to the depth of flavor. We were lucky to have the owner be our waiter/bartender. Had a lot of good "foodie" conversation! Entire visit quite pleasant. Bill with 3 drinks and tax and tip $85...not bad for the meal and left overs to go! Will return ASAP for their regular thru the week menu...should be awesome.
Posted on 8/13/11
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