Twisted Oak in Monroe GA
Last night I had another great meal at the Twisted Oak Woodfire Grill in downtown Monroe GA. I highly recommend this place, it's well worth a drive. It's on hwy 11 in the middle of old downtown Monroe and used to be called the Sage Grill.
This is a great little place for reasonably inexpensive, very casual, creative fine dining. The chef is part owner (with his mother who is always there to great guests). I recommend sitting upstairs for the live acoustic music. Last night it was a guy and his guitar playing Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, etc. The building is old and decorated with local featured art for sale.
Some consistently great menu items: sage and goat cheese stuffed chicken, petit filet with gorganzola cream sauce (from the tapas menu), salmon and pepper jack grits. Can you tell I'm a fan of cheese? The chef's pairing of high-quality cheese in his dishes is fantastic. The desserts are equally amazing, particularly the chocolate mouse pyramid filled with white chocolate ganache, and the tuxedo cheesecake.
Their website needs updating http://www.twistedoak.net/ but if you call they will give you a current events calendar which often includes weekly wine tastings, tapas specials and 'meet the featured artist' events.
I'm sorry to report the end of a great restaurant. It has not been just one bad experience...the last 3 times we've gone it has gotten gradually worse. Why go a third time after two misses? Because it was that good. Was.
After having been at least a dozen times over the last year, and having chosen this place repeatedly to treat in-town guests, I'm afraid I won't be back. They have taken what was once a creative menu and stripped it of any greatness. No more tapas menu at all. They no longer dress up the filet with gorgonzola cream sauce (or the wonderful stinky cheddar on the full portion). They are consistently overcooking the steak and fish and leaving untimed dishes under the heat lamp until ruined. And as if they could afford it with the declining food quality, the service has become snobbish and uncomfortable. Denying a rumor of a change in chef, the owners seem in denial...even slow to acknowlege the menu change as if trying to downplay it. Don't even get me started on the shiny-shoe salesman they picked to entertain us with his saxophone.
This weekend was our last trip. Goodbye, Twisted Oak. We gave you more chances than you probably deserved.
The upscale Twisted Oak Woodfire Grill is excellent and a treasure to find in such a small, rural area of Walton County. The food is consistently wonderful. The chef's specials are uniquely distinct in variety and creativity in preparation. This restaurant's sauces are outstanding. The service is professional. The ambiance is charming, and the owner's gracious hospitality and warmth makes this restaurant more of a 'destination' than just an upscale eatery, which it is.
Whenever I wish to treat guests to fine dining, this is the place I choose time and time again. If you have not dined here, by all means try it. It is truly a hidden treasure trove of a place with awesome American fusion food.