Le Central's classic bistro atmosphere charms visitors from the onset with black-and-white-checked floors framed by red and yellow walls. The eatery's farm-to-table approach to French fare keeps admiration flowing, and even helped garner a head-nod and Best Neighborhood Restaurant distinction from Rhode Island Monthly. Below modern hanging lights, tables populate with starters of butter and herb-roasted mussels, house-made charcuterie, and salads rife with roquefort and gruyere cheese. Entrees of locally sourced fish and traditional coq au vin steam with olive tapenade, house-cured bacon, and chili-glazed duck confit.
While sipping on a cocktail or wine at the weathered wooden bar, guests can question the bartender about the bistro's Sunday brunch crepes or the architectural possibilities of crafting a beer hat out of a classic French beret.
Featured in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette as a neighborhood pizza staple, family-owned P&D Oxford House of Pizza decorates 19 specialty pies in a livery of savory toppings while dishing out platters of toasty Italian fare. The Inferno pizza ($8.50–$14) coaxes taste buds through a doughy ring of fire spackled with pepperoni, sausage, and hot peppers, and the Athenian's garlic butter sets the gustatory stage for grilled chicken morsels dressed in spinach togas and feta-cheese helmets ($8.50–$14). Patrons can choose their own pizza adventure with a slew of toppings, including broccoli, meatballs, and bacon. P&D's toasted grinders, such as the steak- and mushroom-laden "Flynn-IE" ($6–$7.50), deepen the roster of handheld edibles, and homemade lasagna ($6.25) leads a hearty caravan of pasta dishes. Guests can defer to the bistro’s free Internet access to settle dinnertime disputes over whether pasta was first invented by China, Italy, or Marlon Brando as a way to pass the time on the set of The Godfather.
The Fish Market takes full culinary advantage of Rhode Island's convenient ocean access to craft a sea-centric menu of fresh catches, indulgent pastas, and succulent steaks. The fried seafood platter ($28.95) is composed of fresh cod, calamari, clams, shrimp, and scallops cooked to a perfect tawny brown using only trans-fat- and cholesterol-free oils and accompanied by hand-cut fries and coleslaw. The raw bar brims with oysters (market price) and clams ($1.50 each) on the half shell, as well as massive lobsters (market price) that threaten shucking to scare lunch money from the smaller molluscs. The Fish Market's signature stuffing tops off a dish of deep-sea scallops baked in white wine, butter, and fresh herbs ($21.95) and diners delight in sushi-grade yellow fin tuna ($21.95) grilled to request and painted with a cucumber wasabi sauce. Land lovers can feast on chicken parmesan with fresh herbs, buffalo mozzarella, and house-made marinara ($15.95) or sink teeth into a hand-cut filet mignon ($26.95) paired with potato or rice and a vegetable or hollow broccoli stalk with another filet hidden inside.
As Italian eateries go, Peppercorn’s is a chameleon. Entrees can be elegant—grilled salmon over mesclun, steak tips with a seafood casserole—or downright comforting, such as a pot roast with natural pan gravy. Families have an easy time ordering thanks to the thin-crust pizzas and kids' menu, whereas more mature crowds enjoy the benefits of Peppercorn’s proximity to Wormtown Brewery. The craft-beer producers are just next door, so they keep Peppercorn’s bar stocked with their regular brews, rare offerings, and to-go growlers. In the lounge, seven high-definition flat screen TVs broadcast the day’s athletic proceedings, and here spectators can order anything off the full menu while they second-guess the manager's decision to replace the catcher with a pyramid of fragile milk bottles.