2010 Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon by J. LohrIt’s easy to forget that many of the small restaurants in Worcester are truly family run. You won’t forget this when you dine at Nuovo Restaurant on Shrewsbury Street. Husband and wife duo, Loreta and Aleksander Gjonca, go the extra mile in not only making sure that the restaurants patrons are taken care of, but they are actually interested on how they did and what can be improved. It can be easy for restaurants to lose sight on how to improve the experience, but when you look at one of the many family owned restaurants in the city, their families livelihood often depends on the restaurant’s success.

J. Lohr Cabernet

For Worcester Foodies XIV a group of 19 hungry Worcesterites poured into Nuovo Restaurant, which has only been open since June 2011, to see what Aleksander was going to dish out. Having recently participated in the Worcester’s Best Chef Competition, he was eager to show the recently updated menu and also offer a fixed 4-course option with the group. With a bottle of  2010 Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon by J. Lohr to start,  it was easy to relax in the comfortable and cozy atmosphere with contemporary details. The wine was a beautiful red-purple body with aromas of ripe fruits of black plum and hint of roasted vanilla and coconut. Mature and well structured, this wine certainly eased us into the atmosphere and meal to come.

Linquine alla Carbonara is a traditional Italian dish based on egg, cheese (in this case parmesan), and pancetta, mixed with a black pepper. Typically restaurants are bold when preparing any alla carbonara dish, focusing on the salty nature of pancetta (sometimes guanciale or local bacon is used highlight the salty, fat flavors) and an overwhelming cracked black pepper for spice. Nuovo Restaurant had opted to tone down the “salt and pepper” but added a garlic to subtly bring a different flavor to the palate. Foodies, serious or casual, could go either way on this dish. Those looking for that bold, overpowering flavors accustom to all a carbonara dishes will need to go heavy on the freshly cracked pepper and parmesan cheese topping, but those with a mild tolerance of spice will find this dish the perfect complement of texture, consistency and flavor, without being overcome by the intensity of spices.

All in all, Nuovo Restaurant, for only being open for a year has a lot going for it. The owners pay careful attention to the food, especially when trying to cater to a large group like ours, the atmosphere is intimate yet contemporary, and the staff is knowledgeable, efficient, and, above all, more than pleasant. When looking to break from your routine restaurant stops, Nuovo Restaurant on Shrewsbury Street should be on your short list.