This past Tuesday we took my parents and brother to Taste of Shrewsbury St. We got them the buttons for gifts and they drove up from CT to spend the evening with us. Though the event was on a pretty crummy day, it barely rained when we were there and the lower crowds meant we were able to sample more restuarants. Though I've heard some negative comments about the taste event, I'd have to say I still think its a worthwhile event. For $25 you can eat until you can't move! And most restaurants give a great sampling of their food. Here's where we ate:
KJ Baron's - We started here and what a great way to start off! We've been meaning to check out KJ's for over a year now, and were really impressed with the store. The sommelier was very friendly and imformative about the wines we sampled. They had 2 whites (we didn't try those) and 3 reds available to Taste folks. I was hoping for some cheese samples too, because I heard they have a good selection of cheeses, but i didn't see any. However, I think we'll try going back during one of their regular cheese/wine events. It was a really nice shop!
Leo's Ristarante - They gave out bruschetta and small pieces of pizza. I thought the bruschetta was very tasty. They also had coupons for a free cannoli when you order dinner.
Allegro's - They had the most delicious peanutbutter truffle. They also had chocolate chip cookie and.. miller beer? Not a great combo with the sweets.
Victory Cigar Bar- They had a sampling of Peroni beer. They also were giving out free bottles of Tommy's Naked soda and artesian water. I thought that was great! We got very thirsty from all the tasting. So it was nice to have a bottle of water on hand as we got further up the road. (Last year I had to buy water at one of the restaurants).
Tribeca - This was one of the best restaurants we tried. They had a delicious beef and mushroom dish served over rice that they were dishing out just outside the restaurant. They were also giving out samples of wine inside the restuarant.
Brew City - Another fabulous sample here. It was mac and cheese, pulled pork and corn bread. I was a little disappointed that there was no beer sampling here! But we'll definately be back to use our buy 1 get one 1/2 off coupon.
Miranda Bread Company - They give out sooo many samples here. Little bites of savory and sweet treats. They have a delicious orange coconut cake, fried meatball and chicken fritters, cheese rolls and biscuts, and a wonderful chocolate truffle. The also had guarana soda samples.
Pampas - Tastey chili soup and samples of their ribs and steak. Very good. They were very enthusiastic about their restaurant and explaining how a brazilian churiscuria works. My brother wants to try it sometime when he visits us.
Parkway Diner - They were handing out samples of their tasty meatballs. My dad asked the guys behind the counter how many they made up for the event. They had made 500 meatballs and were handing out 1/2 meatball samples. They said most went in the first 1/2 hour of the event and they were down to their last tray! (We were there around 6:30). I was telling my dad about the giant meatball sandwiches that you get in worcester and so it was very appropriate that they had that as their sample.
Porto Bello - Salad. While this doesnt really give me a feel for what the food is like at this restaurant, it was a change of pace. Salad with cheese and cranberries with a tasty Italian dressing.
Dolce - Their gellato is fantastic! I had the tiramisu, my mother had strawberry, and the guys all tried the hazelnut. They stuffed alot into a little cup and mine was really rich and delicious!
Mezcal - This was the longest line of the night, but the make your own taco/tortilla chip bar was very tastey. The guys were impressed with their house made hot sauce. I thought the guacamole was great. Because it was make your own, some folks were leaving with heaping plates!
Zipango Sushi - Only my brother went in for the sushi but it looked great. They gave out what looked like a skewer of teriyaki and a california roll along with a handful of edame.
Jeff's Place - I think we'll skip this one next year, though my brother was very comical here pounding back his free mai thai.
Flying Rhino - I though their sample was better last year. This year they had some sort of chicken salad on a roll with their delicious brocolli slaw. Of course we were all feeling pretty stuffed by this point too.
Junior's - Pizza, rissoto and soup. We were pretty full by the time we got here. Even still, i love the crust on their pizza! I also managed to sit in either a beer or water that was spilled all over a chair, so the rest of the night i had an interesting walk.
Sweet - We crossed the street to sweets and managed to eat a freshly filled cannoli. OMG it was delicious!
Surya - I was stuffed at this point so I only had a piece of their naan and some mango juice. I couldn't resist! My brother had a small plate here as well as a yogurt drink. My parents waited at the next location, which was....
Dunkin Donut's - Koolatas! I skipped but everyone else got one
Subway - My brother grabbed one of their rib sandwiches, which he liked.
Red Lantern - We had to stop here because they have the best crab ragoons. They also had boneless spareribs.
Coral Seafood - They had a shrimp and noodle dish. But I skipped it.
In House Coffee - They were giving out brownies and cookies, which I had to skip. But their coffee was delicious and the peach smoothie was so good that I want to go their on an empty stomach. The employees were super friendly and excited to explain their products. Its nice to see new coffee house that seems to have a good product taking over the old starbucks location!
After In House Coffee it was 9 pm and the event was officially over .We missed Ralphs, Wonderbar, Piccolos, Boulevard, 111 Chop House and Via. We also skipped the top of the street: Picadilly, McDonalds & Dantes.
111 Chop House was a huge disappointment last year with rubbery chicken, and I heard that is what they had again this year. Via only had gellato. I don't understand why the premier steak house in the area doesn't represent itself better at this event (I mean really, CHICKEN? from a steak house? It doesn't have to be filet mignon, but they could hand out some beef tips or something). And Via could surely benefit from giving out a sampling of its pasta dishes or entrees rather than ice cream (especially when Dolce does it better). Its too bad that some of the best restaurants on the row have some of the worst participation in the event.
That said, the rest of the night was fantastic. My guests were throughly impressed and there are more than a few restaurants that I'd like to try again based on this event. I'm pretty sure that Taste of Shrewsbury St will be an annual event with my family, as they were already plotting out how they would eat their way up restaurant row next year.