Bernard Whitmore

2 Millbury Blvd, Oxford, Mass
(508) 987-1567

It’s not that I’d resisted the trip to Oxford, my friend had highly recommended them and on several occasions had proposed dinner at OCD. But despite her enthusiasm for the place, members of her family ran it, the trip out of town just never clicked with me and eventually the restaurant fell off my radar.

Years have passed, the OCD’s under new management, and when asked if I was interested, it made sense to pay them a visit. In doing so, I soon came to discover that she was correct: the trip from Worcester is surprisingly easy and, as I would soon discover, the OCD is a worthy destination.

We found the restaurant at the street-end of a strip mall flanked by a large parking lot. The front door opened to a lounge area packed with people, from there we were led to a booth in their dining room. The restaurant is much larger than it appears from the street, big enough to serve many of Oxford’s social events.

On meeting her, our waiter seemed a bit brusque. Just as soon, though, and to my delight, I realized that beyond her external bearing there glowed warmth, humor and a solid professional manner. She enthusiastically endorsed each of our dining decisions and got the meal started with a basket of focaccia and herb-infused dipping oil.

OCD’s menu is classic American cuisine augmented with plenty of Italian favorites; all attractively presented, home cooked, with honest ingredients and generously portioned. According to our waiter, the menu remains mostly true to the original founding family, the Dadahs of Worcester. Several items featured ‘fire sauce’, they piqued my interest, so we started out with one of them.

Our appetizer, Shrimp & Fire Sauce, featured at least a dozen medium-sized shrimp, amply battered and deep-fried crunchy golden brown. They were glazed with that ‘fire sauce’, which lent a touch of sweetness and a good lick of spicy-heat finish. The shrimp were paired with julienned vegetables and green onion slices; all tumbled together over a bed of fresh baby spinach leaves. Nothing stingy here! Plenty of flavor, plenty of juicy-firm shrimp with absolutely no oily residue. It was a perfect beginning that I enjoyed with a glass of Fiddlehead IPA, a cloudy-bright brew that balances piney citrus with tasty bitter notes.

For his main event, my friend ordered OCD’s Corned Beef Reuben, a fistful of thin-sliced lean corned beef layered with melted Swiss cheese on sourdough bread toasted buttery gold and slathered with Russian dressing. Crammed in there was a layer of sauerkraut that punctuated the flavor of the red corned beef. Sometimes you just crave a Reuben and it’s great to have yet another reliable source. This one came aside a mountainous tangle of French-fries, hand-cut with skins.

My entrée, Salmon Risotto, had the force of two formidable meals. A long strip of salmon steak had been dusted with seasoning and grilled exactly as I crave; with sharp exterior char lines, buttery-crisp edges, and moist flavorful flaking interior. A drizzling of lemon aioli sauce, though unnecessary, provided a spark of flavor.

The salmon alone would have sent me home happy. But then there was OCD’s risotto. Creamy rice was tinted pink with a puree of roasted red peppers and flecked with bits of basil. And lots of melty cheese. So much cheesiness that each forkful trailed strands of stretchy melty goodness. I’d never had such cheesy risotto, this meal put an American spin on a mainstay of Italian cuisine and knocked it out of the park. 

If that weren’t enough, it seemed the OCD was so confident in their recipe they heaped my portion size so large I packed all that leftover risotto into a crate and hauled it home for two more meals. Even reheated, its flavor remained exceptionally delicious.

On leaving Oxford’s Casual Dining I had to admit that all those years ago I should have met my friend there for dinner, it would have been a pleasure to meet the original owners and enjoy their hospitality. Learn from my mistake and make the easy trip to Oxford for excellent home cooking.