twisted soul (POK) - tapas night.
my wife and i got a chance to try out the tapas menu at twisted soul in
poughkeepsie on friday night. good news? the food was wonderful. bad news? i
*believe* that they may be stopping the tapas menu for a bit until the restaurant
gets stabilized because they're having so many people coming in and wanting their
"regular" dishes like the dumplings, arepas, empanadas, sticky buns, etc. if
you're going because of this, please call first and ask if they're serving it.
quick summary for those who don't know...twisted soul started on main st. in one
of the revitalization areas of poughkeepsie. i got hooked on their regular food,
and they had a tapas - well, really, small dishes - menu on friday and saturday
nights for a few weeks, but because of the location, no one was coming to the area
at nights. so they pulled that, even though i loved what i was served the one
time i was there.
they recently moved over to the vassar area, and instead of seeing at most a
couple people in there when i was waiting for my food, i drive by now and always
see people in there! so that's real good for them.
anyhow...here's twisted soul in their new location. the regular menu's been
discussed elsewhere in this post:
there are i think 9-10 high tables with high back chairs (set up for 2-top, but 3
people can easily eat at one, and they just move another table up for 4 people) in
a row straight back, artwork on the wall, big flat screen tv playing music above
the front area where they're preparing dumplings, salads, etc. they said they'd
be serving small plates on friday and saturday evenings.
so...we went for the tapas. showed up @6:30, were told that tapas wouldn't be
served until 7. the place was full (all tables occupied AND people coming in
for takeout). since twisted soul does not have a liquor license, we walked around
the corner to babycakes and got martinis to tide us over.
back @twisted soul...here's what we had. since i can't tell all ingredients by
taste / memory, i'm a little bit off, but here's what was served:
1) stilton cheese / mango with some kind of bread, perhaps french? served on a
plate individually; 5 small pieces of bread which collectively were probably about
1 1/2 slices, mango and cheese each separate, so you could put them together as
you like. none of these individually would have been my choice, but when eaten as
a group, it all tasted right. nice opening dish.
in talking with chef lee (yes, cia grad), i got the impression that was exactly
what he wanted; things that would go together and taste good, while being a bit
playful. he did this on almost every dish, food you'd expect with minor
deviations from the norm.
2) endive, strawberry, avocado salad with some type of dressing (pistachio /
pepper something?). my wife's comments: "you MUST eat the strawberry, avocado and
dressing together; it all melts together". she was right, the sum was so much
better than the parts. it tasted ok when eaten separately, and heavenly when put
together at once.
3) king oyster mushroom fettucine w/tofu. there was tofu in the dish, and shaved
tofu on top - but it didn't taste like tofu. i'm not a big fan of mushrooms, but
liked this; wife loved it. it's all vegan (a nod to the vassar community?), a
twist on the typical fettucine dishes, but the mushroom stood front and center.
the tofu went in the background, like the alfredo should do in fettucine dishes.
4) spicy deviled eggs dish. two eggs, each split in half, came with black eyed
peas and chick peas inside the deviled part for a "snap", and i believe paprika? i don't eat eggs like this, but my wife loved it, especially the textural difference between the peas
and the egg.
5) tuna: several small pieces of perfectly seared tuna with gari (ginger) on top,
some tomatoes on the side, and corn / yuzu emulsion? with it. i thought this
could have used some other spice - ground black peppercorn, perhaps? - to fit, but
there's absolutely no complaints from me.
6) my standout dish of the night was this twist (as chef lee said) on british
food. there were chickpea "fries" with a touch of salt and "mushy peas", not
actual peas but almost an intensive pea puree. i don't like peas, and loved this.
the chickpea fries would fit as healthy bar food - or could even be combined with
the later slider dish. (5/6 may have been reversed?
7) "sliders". three little buns with hamburger (very juice; cooked medium, but
full of juice and flavors), brie, caramelized onion, tomato, and mustard on the
side. the older tapas bar had foie gras on it and worked nicely; these did as
well. this was easily the most filling dish of the evening.
8) final dish was a sticky bun dish. two sticky buns, i think(?) it was chicken,
mung bean, cucumber, sriracha, and one other veggie inside. this was similar to
the sticky buns they serve during the day, wife's instant comment was it reminded
her of the buns at "that place in nyc you love (momofuku, in this case, noodle bar)".
i didn't realize that there were 8 dishes until i typed this up. i was surprised
that the pricing for this basically worked out to $6 / dish! wife was stuffed,
and couldn't quite finish it all. she had bubble tea for the first time and
really liked it, i had my normal honeydew smoothie. an incredible deal for what
i overheard someone say that they had come before for tapas and had the "ethiopian
wings". that table had either 3 or 4 people, but chef lee adjusted the size of
the tapas servings to accomodate them. very good planning.
i'm not big for plating, but these courses were plated in a manner befitting a
much more expensive restaurant. i'm sure that they might mix things up if tapas
night catches on, but this was a great start to test the waters.
oh, if you're going in for dumplings, expect them to take 10-15 minutes. they
don't boil them, but steam them, and i think they're put on the steamer *as
ordered*. also, they're getting their sea legs beneath them, because instead of
having only a couple people coming in over the course of an hour, they're now
getting crushed by demand. that's a very good sign, and they're working on
dealing with the flow AND keeping up the quality of the dishes, and in this
example, quality is taking precedence.
in the end? relatively common food with a twist, and prepared uncommonly good. i'm already thinking about when i'll go back for another tapas dinner.