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Miss Last Month’s Food News? Here’s A Small Bite

Mass Foodies and The Queen's Cups sit down at Good As Gold Coffee to understand their air roasting and begin planning a fall event together. (Erb Photo)
The Kale Brussels Salad with Yellowtail at 110 Grill's new Worcester, MA location.
The Kale Brussels Salad with Yellowtail at 110 Grill’s new Worcester, MA location.

May means outdoor dining, a reality made simple with the launch of 110 Grill in downtown Worcester. I had the opportunity to tour 110’s new space for a Live segment with General Manager Patrick McClelland who expressed his excitement about the restaurant’s proximity to the AC Marriott. Lights still need to be installed on the patio, but guests are welcome to dine before dark in the meantime; stay tuned for fire pits. If you’re curious about the parking situation, rest assured that 110 Grill validates after 5 p.m. and anytime on the weekends.

The building permit for Crust's expansion as North Main Provisions.
The building permit for Crust’s expansion as North Main Provisions.

I joined Renee King of the Queen’s Cups on a tour of Good As Gold Coffee, one of her Canal District neighbors. I have driven past Good As Gold hundreds of times over the years, but this was my first venture inside. New advanced air roasting technology allows these local crafters to ensure steadfast consistency for customers. Their custom air roaster controls how heat is applied to the coffee bean, impacting the outside coloration of the roast color as well as the inside by taking measurements 10 times per second. What now separates Good As Gold from other roasters is an ability to provide more consistent coffee and dial in their recipes. Good As Gold is currently the only roaster in the United States with this precise technology. You can expect an autumn collab with the Queen. (Stay tuned for Coffee + Dessert #1!)

This month, Mass Foodies contributor Jim Eber took a chance on Crust Artisan Bakeshop’s Coney Island pizza. Alexis Kelleher’s homage to the “Up” dog, an iconic preparation with all the fixings, was created to trigger the same nostalgia she feels whenever she sets foot in her family’s eatery, Coney Island. Kelleher and her partner Nate Rossi are expanding their footprint to offer fine wine and cheese, a compliment to their signature fresh baked goods at Crust. The new entity will be called North Main Provisions.

The Worcester Market, photograph from Worcester Historical Museum
The Worcester Market, photograph from Worcester Historical Museum

Giselle-Rivera Flores broke the news that Chef Jay Powell has sold the Twisted Fork Bistro in Leicester to open a new venture in the town of Auburn. The new project will be called the Twisted Cochon BBQ and Grill. Flores also treated the family to a tea party at Fancy That in Walpole for her new series, #FamilyEats. In addition, she zeroed in on the community, applauding public markets like Allen Fletcher’s new Kelley Square Market project. Rivera wrote, “In the midst of a growth spurt, Worcester looks back on its roots in an attempt to infuse what the city needs the most: a common space to define and explore shared values among the diverse culture that breathes life into Worcester’s identity.”

The Worcester Foodies braved torrential downpours to test the waters at simjang on Shrewsbury Street. The crew found it easy to step out of their comfort zone under the watchful eye of Chef de Cuisine Mike Wenc and his knowledgeable staff. Robyn sprang for the Mulgogi (whole fish) and reveled in its flakey perfection. What a way to delight in May.

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Simjang’s Chef Mike Wenc Makes his Worcester Debut

This week, deadhorse hill’s little sister, simjang, finally made her debut under the watchful eyes of chef de cuisine Mike Wenc. Wenc has worked at a number of Boston’s top restaurants including Ribelle, Shepard, and Cafe du Pays. Wenc met executive chef Jared Forman six years ago at his very first cooking job – a stint at Strip T’s in Watertown.

Bachan including deviled eggs, yuzu mayo potato salad, sweet and sour fish, cucumber name, kimchi, and yellow pickled daikon.

At Worcester’s Best Chef on Sunday, Wenc told Mass Foodies, “Ever since he [Forman] opened deadhorse, he wanted me to come work for him, and it never worked out. But, finally, I was in between jobs and I came out here.” Worcester cast its spell on Wenc in no time.

The team of Wenc and Forman prepared a dish called “Korea Town in a Bite” for the occasion, a slow roasted pork belly bossam wrapped in mustard greens and served with kimchi and simjang mayo, then finished with scallions.

“We open March 1st on Shrewsbury Street in the old Sweet spot. We’re all really excited about it,” Wenc shared. The anticipated opening falls just three days after the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. The new concept is described as American-Korean and marks the second Worcester project for the leadership team of chef Forman, bar director Sean Woods, wine director Julia Auger, and co-owner Albert LaValley. “Simjang” is the Korean word for heart.

Fried Chicken

On Tuesday, curious customers flocked to deadhorse hill for the first taste of simjang’s menu at a preview event that drew an impressive crowd. Manager Ellen Benson reported that over 100 reservations had been taken for the preview, as of Monday evening.

The first look included bachan such as deviled eggs, yuzu mayo potato salad, cucumber namul, kimchi, yellow pickled daikon, and tiny pan-fried sweet and sour fish. The galibi, scallop crudo, offered bright punchy bites of crunchy soy, radish, and wintermelon in a chilly yuzu broth. The saelleodeu, Korean Caesar salad, combined mustard greens, tofu garlic dressing, gochutons, cured egg, and ultra crispy fish. Heartier plates included tteokbokki, sautéed rice cakes, with braised lamb shoulder, black garlic, and chunjang – salty black bean sauce. Derrick Walters, the mastermind behind deadhorse hill’s southern fried chicken thighs, was on hand in the dining room to try simjang’s take on fried chicken, served with a choice of miso soy roasted garlic, spicy gochujang, or salt and pepper.

Tteokbokki – sauteer rice cakes with braised lamb shoulder, black garlic, and chunjang.

Guests will find Woods behind the bar during the launch of the new restaurant. At Tuesday’s event, he provided a sneak peek at his vision for simjang’s cocktails. Offerings included his version of the Pain Killer and the Mai Tai alongside original creations like the Raft of Dead Monkeys and the Pineapple Expresso. The latter was made with tiki bitters, Parlor Coffee redux, lime juice, pineapple syrup, and Woods’ signature r(h)um blend. The striking cocktail was built in a large tiki glass with crushed ice, a swizzle straw, and a pineapple leaf garnish. Guests also enjoyed a selection of sake. Favorites included the junmai daiginjo & daiginjo, which emitted delicate notes of jasmine and the junmai ginjo & ginjo with aromas of fresh cut grass. 

soju bomb!

The team hopes simjang can be a “gateway” for Worcester’s epicurean scene. If Tuesday’s turn out is any indication, they’re already well on their way.