The Sole Proprietor

Sole Proprietor offers seafood, sushi, and raw bar. I visited this spot a few times in the past, and I always had a good experience with food and service. BUT, sometimes, good things end… or, you simply get unlucky.

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The inside is pretty large, separated into several sections; raw bar, large dining room, and several smaller dining areas divided by walls. I like their interior with their signature colors, blue, white and black, and nautical design.

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This night, we ordered some nice wine for the table, J. Lohr Riesling, 2013 ($34/bottle). With the complimentary bread, we enjoyed the nice, sweet Riesling. They do have nice wine list, that covers all the basics. Good beginning, we all thought…

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From here, it just went all down hill, unfortunately. The server was very friendly, which was nice, but overly talkative, to the point he was just talking and talking instead of working… For example, we asked how many pieces will come in a particular rushi roll we were looking at, and he talked about how some of them might have 6 pieces while some others might have 8, and the reasons why and how sushi chefs cut some into smaller pieces, etc., etc…. We just wanted to know about the one, particular sushi roll, not the entire menu worth of sushi rolls…

It also took forever to get our orders taken, we had to ask for a staff to get our server.

So, we finally got to order our food. First are some appetizers; Crab Rangoons ($8.99) and Sushi Special ($14.99). Crab Rangoons are one of the go-to appetizer here, and it is always good. One order has 5 pieces, they are lightly fried, crispy, and crab meat in the inside is tasty. No complains here.

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The Sushi Special was Steak & Lobster Roll, and came with top sirloin, lobster meat, sushi rice, cream cheese, asparagus and fried onions, topped with scallions, lobster horseradish and masago. It was large, enough to share, and very meaty and tasty. Good amount of cooked steak in the center, with generous amount of lobster. Very different and unique kind of sushi, I really enjoyed it.

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For the main course, I ordered Blackened Tuna Steak Sahshimi ($28.99). It comes with a choice of house salad, clam chowder, or soup du jour. I chose Clam Chowder. The dish comes with yellowfin tuna, slightly blackened to extra rare, served with a warm sushi rice and vegetable salad. The soup was nice, had good amount of clams in there, creamy and tasty but nothing too special. The sashimi was nice, but for the amount of rather thin slices of tuna I received, I would say it is over priced. Especially, the sushi rice was HORRIBLE. The small amount of rice was really, very sweet, and it seems like it has been sitting out there for too long, since half (or more) of the rice was already dried up and super hard, making it non-edible. I think it should have been called “dried up, old sugar rice” instead of sushi rice. It was that bad.

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Next up was Wildflower Honey Brushed Arctic Char ($24.99). It came with portabello mushroom duxelle cake, oven roasted beets and sautéed greens finished with a wildflower honey drizzle. When this dish arrived, we all asked the same quesitons: “what is the black thing on the plate?” and “why is it all squished on one corner of the plate?” Well, the answer to the first question was, it was the mushroom cake. Very unappetizing. And we believe the whole thing was shifted because of the way the server took the plate from the kitchen. As other dishes had the same look… making it even less appetizing. The fish was ok, but mushroom had almost no flavor, and all the ingredients on the plate just didn’t work well with each other. Very disappointing result.

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Then, we had Tuna Steak Barcelona. This one also had a choice of house salad, clam chowder, or soup du jour. We substituted for Lobster Bisque (additional $8 I believe). The dish comes with yellowfin tuna steak coated with cracked black peppercorns, sliced and stuffed with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, scallions, and basil, then grilled to medium rare. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables, finished with a lemon beurre blanc. Quite a mouthful there. And all of that, again, shifted to one corner of the plate. Seriously, the other half of the plate was empty. The lobster Bisque is really tasty, strong flavor and very delicious. Generous amount of nice chunks of lobsters, it really is good. The tuna steak was ok, seemed a bit too over cooked, as it was kind of dry. The mashed potato was creamy and flavorful. With everything all mixed together (the way it was brought to the table), we couldn’t really appreciate the each individual items…

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The last item was some side dishes all put together to make a plate (we had a healthy eater with us). It was combination of Sautéed Spinach and Garlic ($4.99), Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes ($4.99), and Oven Baked Maryland Blue Crab Cake ($8.99/piece). I don’t know about you, but it didn’t look too appetizing… and it was not that great as I got to taste them. It was just “ok.”

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So, this entire time, I think our server came maybe once, checking on us. We struggled to find a staff who was willing to help us get more water, or whatever that we needed. Then, at the end, a female server came and asked us how we were doing, and we were all very unhappy, with the service especially, and not happy about food either. At this point, she took over our table (even though we were finishing up), and then offered us a cheesecake (to share) on the house. It seemed like she was our “back-up server” which they do have a main and back-up server here most of the time. The main server usually introduce the back-up server to you so that if we can’t locate the main server, we know who else to look for. Our main server didn’t do that at all. Actually, he kind of disappeared…

So, we got the cheesecake with strawberries, and this was the one thing that we all very much enjoyed (other than appetizers). It was thick and dense, sweet and rich. I am glad that we were compensated even in a small way for our horrible dining experience.

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At the end, we were all disappointed for the first time, as I mentioned, we have dined here a few times in the past, and we always enjoyed the food and service. Hopefully, it was just a one-time thing, and that we just had a really bad luck. I would hate to cross off one of the good go-to restaurant off the list.

One interesting thing about them is that they have an outdoor hut for selling gift cards for the restaurant. I am not sure if crazy people are coming to buy them? But for whatever the reason, they resulted in making the gift card selling department separate from the restaurant.

I really hope they will have their good service and food back running. But we will not be returning any time soon.

 

The Sole Proprietor – 118 Highland St, Worcester, MA 01609

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