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Ceres - Beechwood Inn, Worcester, MA


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DJ and I went to Ceres at the Beechwood Inn for our 5th wedding anniversary.  I had heard great things about their brunch, but not much about their dinners.  The reviews were mixed, although leaning towards the good side, especially the service.  So I decided to give it a try.  I wasn't too dissapointed.


Where:  Ceres @ the Beechwood Inn, Worcester, MA


Website:  http://www.ceresbistro.com/


Prices:  $$$/$$$$


Stars:  3.5/5


We made reservations through opentable.com and arrived exactly at the reservation time.  We were warmly greeted by a member of the waitstaff as he walked by and he informed us that the hostess was seating another party.  After a few minutes, we were greeted by the manager.  We told her we had reservations and she asked if we would prefer to sit inside or outside.  I jumped at the chance to sit outside.  I had heard rave reviews about their outside seating.  She led us through the mostly empty restaraunt to a lovely table shaded by an umbrella.  Let me tell you, the reviews weren't wrong. 


I did try to post a message, but got the "You are not allowed to use that image extension on this community" message


It was not very busy at this time of night and there was a loud party at the far end outside of the bar, but we barely heard them.


Our waitress came over right away and wanted to take our water order.  The choices were "sparkling, bottled, or regular"  I chose bottle because I heard how everyone liked the bottle of water, but turned out I should have chose regular since that came in a bottle too.  I got a warm bottle of Fuji water.  She then left to get said bottle without taking any other drink order. 


When she came back, she did ask if we wanted anything else to drink after nervously telling us the special.  Yup, just one and a sandwich on a menu that doesn't have any sandwiches.  I ordered the Red Sangria and DJ got a VO and coke.  The sangria was amazing!!!  One of the best I've had outside of Mexico! 


It is a very small menu, but a good one.  I couldn't make up my mind between the rib eye, rack of lamb, black pepper linguine or the scallops.  DJ had the similar problem, but only between the rib eye and lobster pie.  We asked our waitress, and she was very knowledgeable about the dishes.  She finally said..."well which one jumped out at you first, that is the one you really want"  So DJ got the Rib Eye (medium well [yes I know!]) and I ordered the Sesame Scallops.  For an appetizer we got the lamb "Lolly Pops"  I had read online that it was 4 chops so figured enough for the two of us to share.  Not so much.  They were tiny and only three of them.  Since I like mine rare to medium rare and DJ likes his medium well, the waitress put them in as medium rare + and they came out perfect!  They melted in your mouth.  They were basted in a chili garlic sauce, which complemented them perfectly.  Too bad there were only three tiny ones. 


I ordered a Malbec to accompany dinner which was very good.  They brought out food and the scallops were the biggest I have ever seen.  They were served with a ponzu sauce, baby bok choy and a rice and wheat pilaf.  DJ's rib eye was served with mashed potato and a summer veg mix.  The server (different from our waitress) asked DJ to cut into his steak to make sure it was cooked properly.  Well, I could tell the minute his fork touched it that it wasn't cooked to his liking.  It still jiggled.  I knew it was at least medium rare, if not rare.  DJ cut into it and sure enough, it was almost purple.  I would have loved it that way, but not for DJ!  We sent it back and there I was, with my food in front of me.  DJ insisted that I eat my food so it wouldn't get cold, and I couldn't resist.  Those scallops were some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen!  I dug in, the scallops were cooked perfectly, and then I put the soft, buttery, yumminess to my mouth and was soooo disappointing.  They were the blandest things I have ever tasted.  They were encrusted with sesame seeds and had a ponzu sauce...and it all tasted like cardboard.  I then tried to cut my bok choy with my butter knife.  That didn't work so I tried DJ's steak knife.  That didn't work either.  It was so rubbery, nothing could cut through it.  My pilaf was tasty, but so is a box mix.  For $30 I expected a lot more! 


Finally DJ's steak came back to the table, now cooked perfectly and tasted amazing.  His mashed potatoes were buttery and delicious.  The waitress came over and had no idea that there had been an issue regarding his steak.  She apologized and insisted that she put the order in right.  That kind of irritated me.  She got defensive automatically when nothing was insinuated.  What happened to the days when your food wasn't done right, you didn't pay for it?  Or at least got a free dessert, not have your waitress go on the defense.  Ah well.


While we were waiting for the dessert menu, the supervisor came over to see how everything was.  I told her about the steak and she said.  "OH, that's too bad, everything's great now though right?"  Really?  But now on to the dessert....


I had looked at this online too and knew what I was going to get. I ordered a cappuccino first then the dessert menu came.  I looked at it briefly but already had my mind made up.  DJ got the strawberry shortcake with cardamom infused whipped cream.  I got the sticky toffee pudding with praline pecans.  OMG!!!!  The shortcake was more of a pound cake, but that didn't matter, it was fantastic!  But let me tell you about my sticky toffee pudding.  I am moving to the UK so I can eat this everyday!  This moist, warm, toffee infused, cakelike dessert came out.  The toffee sauce was to die for and the cake (for lack of a better word) was so moist.  The pecans and thick whipped cream that accompanied it would have held their own as dessert.  Now I don't believe in angels, but they were singing in my mouth everytime I put a bite of this dessert into my mouth.


So, the appetizer and dessert were the highlight of this meal.  After her initial impression the waitress was great.  I do have to say, for $30+ a dinner (not including the appetizer, drinks or desserts) I expected a much better meal.  Hence the 3.5 out of 5.  I would have given it 4, but my meal was that bad.  I will try it again during restaurant week.  (when local restaurants have prix fixe menus so you can sample them for less than what it would normally cost) to see if they can do better.  I would go back for drinks and dessert in the outdoor seating any day though!

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