The statements made on this website are the personal opinions of Laura and Diane. If we feel that a restaurant visit is not up to par, please remember it is our opinion. If you disagree with us, feel free to write us at info@newenglandbites.com.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Scales Seafood and More

45 River St.
Millbury, MA  01527
(508) 865-3377

August 23, 2014

Mom and I had been less than impressed with the last few seafood meals we’d eaten.  Either her order of fish and chips was way too greasy or my chowder was nothing but water and potatoes.  We were looking for a restaurant that would bring our love for fried seafood back, and one of the first places we thought to try was Scales.

Mom found Scales by watching Phantom Gourmet.  The owners of Scales have appeared on a few different reality TV food shows in the past and are now running an awesome seafood restaurant in what looks like an old factory.  Other than the menu, the reason the place is called Scales is because of all the antique scales that line the restaurant.

We were even more excited to try it because of all the great online reviews.  We took the drive to Millbury and found Scales thanks to the large sign on the main road.  Otherwise, we would have never noticed it hiding inside that large building!  Once inside, Mom found a table while I stood at the window to place our order under large whiteboards which featured all of their offerings.

For our meal we ordered the garlic knots ($2), a cup of chowder ($3.95), a clam strip roll ($7.25), crab cakes ($6.95), haddock tidbits ($7.95) and bottled drinks for a total of $33.81.  We were given a little piece of wood with a number written on it and I took my seat with Mom to wait for our food.  We took notice of all the scales – from very large to very small – scattered throughout the large dining area.  We both thought that the interior was very simple yet attractive.

Fountain soda and local root beer.

Our food came out and everything was piping hot.  We ordered multiple dishes so that we could try our favorites since we aren’t in the Millbury area often.  My chowder was absolutely fantastic.  In fact, it was one of the best chowders I’ve ever had – if not THE best.  It’s a tie right now between Scales and Captain Parker’s Pub in West Yarmouth.  The broth was made New England style – white, thick and creamy – and was filled with perfectly cooked potatoes and tender, juicy clams.  As hot as it was to eat, I was slurping down every bit.  It was incredible.

My clam strip roll was delicious.  The batter was dry and the clam strips were tender.  The roll had been buttered and grilled, but perhaps there was a bit too much butter for my liking.  However, it didn’t take away from the taste.  I absolutely love clam strip rolls and this one was one of the best.

Mom’s order of haddock tidbits was fantastic.  Again, the batter was dry and crisp and the fish inside was perfectly white and flaky.  Her dinner came with an order of fries, cole slaw and tartar sauce.  She found the fries to be on the limp side, but she really wasn’t there for fries.  The fish was definitely the star, and it was able to take her mind off of all the greasy fish dishes she’s had recently at other restaurants.  The haddock tidbits were definitely a winner.

As for the crab cakes – they were outstanding.  Even more than we expected.  There was a LOT of crab meat mixed in these beautiful cakes, which were also stuffed with a variety of different vegetables to enhance the flavor.  The taste was out of this world.  The crab meat was juicy and sweet and the red sauce that was served on the side was cool and refreshing.  We have a suggestion for the chef – how about putting these cakes into a wrap with some lettuce, tomato and a drizzle of the sauce?  You could call it … I don’t know … a New England Bite?

Last, but definitely not least, we tried the garlic knots.  They come three to a serving and they are HUGE.  Soft bread knots are served warm with fresh garlic smeared over them.  They were extremely tasty and a great way to end the meal.  They are addictive, so be prepared to get a to-go basket of knots for the ride home.

Scales doesn’t just serve seafood.  They also have a large pizza and sub menu as well as an ice cream window.  (Click here to view the menu.)  There’s something for everyone here, and delivery is available for lucky residents of Millbury.

We saw the two owners briefly when they stopped to ask everyone in the dining room if their meals were OK.  The staff at Scales was very friendly and the restaurant – including the restroom – was spotless.  Also, Scales is cash only and BYOB.

Mom and I left full and happy.  Our love for fried seafood had been rejuvenated thanks to this Phantom favorite.  Taking a cue from The Most Interesting Man in the World:  “We don’t always visit Millbury, but when we do, we’re going to Scales.”

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wholly Cannoli

490 Grafton St.
Worcester, MA  01604
(508) 753-0224

August 23, 2014

Holy moly … where’s the cannolis?

Mom and I are never in the Worcester area, but since we had just eaten dinner in nearby Millbury, we decided to have our dessert at the popular bakery Wholly Cannoli.

I had been to Wholly Cannoli years before, but not since they redid the place.  What was once a tiny brick building filled with several different kinds of cannolis is now a large bakery loaded with cakes, cookies, pies, tarts and very few cannolis.  In fact, there were only about six different kinds to choose from aside from the mini versions located in a separate case.

Now Mom and I love cannolis, but we enjoy a plainer shell versus one covered in chocolate or other toppings.  Nearly everything was coated in something, so we had to suck it up if we wanted to buy some.  We chose four large cannolis (white chocolate raspberry, Limoncello, caramel fudge swirl and Symphony Chip – all with dipped shells) and two mini cannolis (pistachio filling with plain shells) for a total of $18.  We ate the two pistachio cannolis right there at one of their small tables.  We both remembered the strong pistachio flavor from years ago, and it was still the same smooth cream that we had been craving.  The shell was perfectly plain with a slight crisp which allowed the cannoli to be bitten without completely falling apart.  An absolutely delicious dessert.  We couldn’t wait to taste the others.

The next day we decided to cut up the remaining cannolis and sample them at our kitchen table.  The first one we tried was the Symphony Chip, which was made with chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch and white chocolate chips.  Even the shell itself was coated in white chocolate.  Although it was tasty and the shell was pretty good, both Mom and I felt that there was too much going on with this cannoli.  We couldn’t tell what the components were, and it simply came across as overly sweet.  To be honest, we expected it.

Next up was the Limoncello and the white chocolate raspberry.  We liked both, but both Mom and I noticed that each cannoli only had cream at the edges.  It seemed as though the bakers weren’t actually filling the entire cannoli.  All of the middles were completely hollow, which means that they were probably only giving a squirt to each side.  For $18, I want that thing STUFFED.  As for the taste, each of their cannoli shells was filled with either lemon or raspberry cream, which was zesty and refreshing.  The shells were OK, but a little on the hard and crunchy side.

Lastly, the caramel fudge swirl was our biggest disappointment.  I didn’t like the taste of the chocolate covered shell at all.  It seemed like it was made with a low quality chocolate, which seems weird considering the prices of all the pastry.  Even the filling wasn’t that great.  It was extremely sweet and really not enjoyable.  Mom and I tried to scoop out the filling since it was better than the shell, but we left most of it on our plates.

Wholly Cannoli’s signature cannoli is called the Dynamite Stick – their famous filling covered in caramel and dipped in a chocolate crunch shell.  We did see those in stock, but we didn’t get one.  We tried it years ago and really didn’t like it.  To us, it wasn’t a cannoli.  It was a big blob of chocolate with a dollop of cream lost in the center.

I’m surprised that Wholly Cannoli seems to be getting away from the cannolis and focusing more on prepared foods and other pastries.  (Click here to view the menu.)  Perhaps it works for them, but we just wish they carried more plain flavors over the “loaded” versions.  We’d actually like to taste the cannoli and not the ingredients.

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