Twisted Eatery (PHX)
Has anyone been for dinner lately? I was thinking about going with my SO tonight wanted to know if anyone had been recently, if there is a wait on weekend nights, and whether or not it's worth a try. Any feedback is appreciated.
re: Seth Chadwick
My SO and I had 7:00 reservations on Friday for dinner at Twisted…
We arrived a few minutes early and the dining room was still fairly empty; obviously the South Scottsdale crowd doesn’t eat this early. No matter, we proceeded to our table and were offered a Bavarian pretzel amuse-bouche with a balsamic reduction, oregano (I could be wrong here) and chili oil and Dijon mustard topped with micro greens. The pretzel was fairly light for this style, and wasn’t too starchy which is often my complaint. The balsamic reduction was excellent, sweet, and complimented the other flavors on the plate nicely. I appreciated this fine-dining touch – we were off to a good start.
Our server returned and informed of us of a single special – a bowl of Price Edward Island mussels cooked in a ginger (I forget the rest of the flavors) broth served with toast points; this would only be available this weekend. My SO still had a beer from the bar, so I ordered a John Daly ($10) – green tea vodka, passion fruit iced tea and lemonade. The drink sounded better than it was; it tasted more like Republic of Tea iced tea than a mixed alcoholic drink. When our server asked if I liked it, I kind of shrugged it off and said it was ok. She told us that the bartender on duty wasn’t the one who had created it, and suggested I got something else. She said the mojitos were very good, but I had my eye on the jalepeno margarita ($7); my SO also ordered a regular margarita ($6). The jalepeno margarita had less kick than I was hoping for but was tasty; I tried my SO’s and it was very good for a standard version with no tequila upgrade.
We started with the alligator bites ($10) out of curiosity – crispy herb buttermilk gator bites, Cajun remoulade and butternut aioli with curry pickled pear. I’ve eaten frog’s legs in the South many times, and these were much milder in flavor. I really liked the remoulade like them, while my SO preferred the aioli; what we didn’t agree on was the pickled pear. At first I thought they had been poached with apple cider vinegar, which is what it reminded me of. It had a strong flavor that I understood might be an acquired taste, but I thought out of everything on the plate, the pear really made this starter unique.
My SO ordered the Rocky Mountain Range meatloaf ($15) which was served on top of grilled crostini with a peppery bacon creole gravy; she also opted for a side of pistachio mashed potatoes ($4). A note about the presentation – it was very unusual and didn’t functionally make any sense. I couldn’t understand what you were supposed to do with the crostini, because it was probably 3 inches thick and underneath the slab of meatloaf. The meatloaf itself was very flavorful and my SO seemed to enjoy it; I tried it and also thought it was very good. The gravy was also a hit, with a very rich flavor that contained the pepper and bacon as promised. Besides the strange crostini, I thought this was well done. The potatoes were kind of bland, and the pistachios didn’t really “twist” it enough to make them them a winner.
I went with the mussel special ($9!) with the toast points. The broth, oh, the broth! It was delicious, and since I didn’t hear what she said they were all cooked it, my taste buds were able to gather ginger, lemongrass, shallots, and green curry. I’d guess there were about 15 in the bowl, and I quickly finished them. The broth balanced the briny flavor of the mussels and all were plump and flavorful. If these were on the menu, I’d order them again. Now, to the toast points. In a word – sloppy. I’m not sure who was hired to cut them, but they have terrible knife skills – some were a half-inch thick, some two millimeters. Each side was topped with an alternating pesto, which I wasn’t able to distinguish any flavors. They were slightly toasted, but overall I would have preferred more crispy points to hold up to the broth instead of getting soggy. For $9, these were a steal. There was also a small salad of (tangelos?) with garlic on the side which was great.
Service was very good to start; our server (Veronica) was very attentive but not overbearing. She was a little more absent toward the end, but as I looked around, I could see why – the dining room had nearly filled up. Total bill came to $56, which is extremely affordable and a good value.
After leaving the restaurant and thinking about it for a couple hours, I was a little disappointed in our experience. I have no complaints about the service at all, and I hope others have the same experience. However, in restaurants that I really enjoy going to, they have dishes that captivate me from start to finish. While I think that Twisted is very inventive and may break some new ground, it didn’t all come together for me. There were some good flavors, but nothing “wowed” me and left me wanting to come back; nothing was “craveable”.
A final note – the prices had increased $2 on several items (the top range was $16 a couple weeks ago, now topping out at $18). Supply or demand issues? You be the judge.
2515 N. Scottsdale Rd, Suite 12
Scottsdale Arizona 85257