By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer
Region – If you are trying to impress a date or a client, there is no better choice than Ceres Bistro at Worcester’s Beechwood Hotel. The restaurant, on the hill at the corner of Route 9 and Plantation Street, is perfect for an upscale lunch or dinner.
I recently took my boyfriend for lunch on a weekday as a belated birthday celebration. The restaurant wasn’t crowded and we were seated immediately in a comfortable, spacious booth facing the wall of glass doors that open out to the seasonal patio.
The restaurant is bright and cheerful during the daytime hours, but it is easy to picture a romantic, intimate setting after the sun goes down.
We were greeted with warm bread that we dipped in a delicious olive oil and balsamic combination while we perused the menu. The menu is limited, but there were many things that looked enticing.
Choices include shrimp, oyster and calamari appetizers, soups, salads with a choice of protein if desired, sandwiches, burgers and entrees.
I started with the Butternut Squash Bisque which was perfectly balanced with sweet and savory flavors. It featured chunks of crab meat and a swirl of crème fraiche. It was perfect for a cool, fall day and was eaten quickly, especially when I offered to share.
For the main course, I chose the Grilled Statler Chicken, a grilled chicken breast accompanied by roasted fingerling potatoes and a mélange of diced zucchini, olives, and tomatoes. The chicken was juicy and not over-seasoned, with just a slight bit of heat from rosemary and other spices.
My boyfriend selected the Ceres Reuben sandwich, he said, because the menu boasted “housemade pastrami” and was not disappointed. The pastrami was rare and tasty, sandwiched between grilled rye bread and topped with Swiss cheese, pickled onion and Russian dressing.
To end the meal, we shared the Chocolate Raspberry Cake, a decadent chocolate cake with raspberry port coulis and fresh raspberries, along with an espresso and cappuccino.
Although we did not have any alcoholic beverages that day, Ceres Bistro has an extensive list of wine, beer, cocktails and after-dinner spirits.
One of the things we enjoyed most about Ceres Bistro, aside from the outstanding culinary quality, was the relaxing and intimate ambience. The seating, lighting and background piano music allowed for easy conversation, making it an ideal setting for a date or business lunch.
With its sophisticated menu and prices on the higher side, it is also more for those with adult tastes, meaning it is unlikely you will be surrounded by lots of children. As a mom of three boys, I relish the opportunity to get away from the chaos of daily life and Ceres Bistro provided a brief respite.
Ceres Bistro, at 363 Plantation St., is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with happy hour specials at Ceres Bar from 4-6 p.m. For more information, hours and menus, visit www.ceresbistro.com or call 508-754-2000.