Al Soto has worked for different restaurant owners all over the world. Now it’s his turn to call the shots at City Bar & Grille!

Located at 395 Chandler Street, Worcester, City Bar & Grille hopes to be “the local neighborhood spot where friends and family can enjoy simple, good, fresh food” Soto told MassFoodies during an interview before he opened the restaurant. Soto even handmade many of the tables in his dining room.

So it just made sense the Foodies Group would venture to taste one of Worcester’s newest spots! Located in the former Caffe Espresso Trattoria space, City Bar & Grille features a seasonal menu that they say “offers a refined approach to American Classics.” All menu items are made in-house from scratch. The bar area is intimate but inviting, with some neighborhood couples enjoying apps and drinks the evening we were there.

Aaron used the word “diverse” to describe the menu and Lynn thought “many of the choices were very unique.”

To Start

New England Baked Cod at City Bar & Grille

For starters the City Bar & Grille menu offers some interesting options such as Chicken Liver Mousse Toast and Grilled Octopus to name a few. I saw the Beet Salad, which Robyn said was “a very large portion and very tasty.” Aaron thought the meat plate was “good and interesting,” and at our end of the table, we shared the Spicy Tuna Tartare which “was as good a Tuna as I’ve ever tasted.”

After another round of drinks, dinner was served.

Dinner is Served

“I ordered the burger and it was cooked beautifully,” said Evan. “I ordered it medium and it came to the table warm and pink on the inside…quite difficult to achieve consistently on burgers. The fries were not quite shoestring but also not steak fries. They were seasoned nicely and paired well with a seemingly house made ketchup.”

Robyn thought her New England Baked Cod was very good. “It came in a light curry sauce, topped with buttery cracker crumb topping, spinach and wild rice pilaf and was cooked perfectly.”

Aaron had the Braised Chicken Bowl which he thought was very flavorful but a little salty.”

“I got the Mixed Lettuce Salad topped with Salmon,” said Julie. She added “the salad was delicious especially with the large chunks of gruyere cheese which you don’t see often in a salad, the salmon was a large portion cooked like I have never had it before, they seared in on the grill, giving the salmon a delicious flavor without overcooking it, typically I ask for it Cajun style but I am glad I didn’t this time because it was so good the way it was cooked.”

David and Stephanie both had the Cavatelli with Wild Mushrooms with David adding it “was good” and Stephanie thought “it was cooked perfectly and the braised greens and mushrooms were amazing” – although the dish was a bit salty for both of them.

I had the Smoked Cheddar Stuffed Meatloaf and found the flavors to be extremely rich and flavorful, exactly what is needed in a quintessential comfort food dish.

The Double Burger at City Bar & Grille

With any group, not every dish is perfect. Steve thought the “meatloaf was overdone and dry” and Drew thought his meal was “average.”

Unlike its predecessor, City Bar & Grille has a full liquor license with Stephanie adding the “beer and cocktail list was also quite extensive.”

Definitely Going Back

Our large table might have been a bit overwhelming for our server, but she did a great job getting us our food and keeping up with drink orders. Food out of the kitchen at City Bar & Grille was a bit on the slow side, but we understand our group is large and the restaurant is still getting its’ legs underneath itself.

Overall we were pleased and think the City Bar & Grille is exactly what they want it to be… a comfortable neighborhood spot for great food, at a good price. Many added they will be back! City Bar & Grille is located 395 Chandler Street in Worcester. They have a large off-street parking lot making it convenient to get in and out.