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Twisted Tail - a review

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I don't usually go to brand new restaurants. I like to wait for places to work out the kinks. However, I was heading to a show at the TLA, and I'd thought I'd give The Twisted Tail a shot.

The downstairs is pretty barebones but not bad. Repainted walls, some new lighting thrown up (with the too-long cords bunched up and tied). Photos of musicians on the walls. When we walked in, a whole section of tables were empty, but we were told there was a 15 minute wait for a table. Short staffed at 8pm on a Saturday? Okey dokey. We waited at the bar and realized 10 minutes later that the hostess didn't ask for our name. Odd, but no biggie.

We sat at the bar and decided to eat there. As you'll read, turns out that this was a good idea, as it saved us about 20-30 minutes . The bartender, Francesca, was nice and very attentive. Decent beer selection and interesting specialty cocktails. The Lynchburg Basil Lemonade was refreshing.

We ordered the kettle chip crabcakes, fries, sausage tomato flatbread and a bacon bleu cheese salad. The food took a while. The bartender came up to us at least twice to apologize and to let us know she was checking on the food. We were having a good time so I wasn't completely annoying, but we did have a show to attend so we were watching the clock a bit.

The crab cake appetizer is two small cakes with tomato relish. They were ok. Fries were sufficient, although I got a couple of rotten ones. I was a fan of the chipotle ketchup, not so much the rosemary mayo and the sweet malt vinegar dip. The sausage flatbread seemed uncooked. Soft, pita like bread covered with uncooked ricotta, tomato and "9th St. sausage." The sausage was the only good thing about it.

But what struck me as very strange was the salad. A large plate of lettuce with some crumbles of blue cheese. Not dressing, just chunks of cheese on naked lettuce. My husband had to use the rosemayo mayo fry dip just to give the salad some moisture.

They do have live music upstairs which we didn't have a chance to check out. So for now, I'm going to chalk this place up to a "fun place to have drinks".

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  1. Could you let the paint dry before you bury a place. Just sayin'!

    7 Replies
    1. re: tbl42

      I don't think I buried the place, just told it like it is. I did note this was an early visit and said "for now". I'll probably be back for drinks and music and will probably give the food a shot somewhere down the line.

      I hope they can work out the kinks. It's a great location and places to hear good live music are few and far between. I wish them luck!

      1. re: lawgirl3278

        Lawgirl I thought you were very fair in your review. My opinion is if a place is open they can be discussed. Hopefully the place will improve.

        What I like even less is an established place who lives on its repuation, having once been great and allowing the quality and experience to slip. Thats whats so good about chowhound. You get the collective wisdom of people who have a passion for food, and are discerning consumers.

        BTW was the Lynchburg Basil lemonade made with whiskey? That sounds like a great summer drink.

        1. re: lawgirl3278

          Agree with cw. lawgirl your review was informative and well written. TB142 may have a vested interest to suggest you buried the place. Poor response to a critical comment. The details of your complaints seem to suggest that it will require more than dry paint time and quite a bit more effort for them to get it right. Sure good luck. Good attitude goes a long way!

          1. re: Bacchus101

            I walked by and saw the menu, which looked very ambitious, lots of complicated dishes. I want to check it out, but that definitely gave me pause for eating there until they get more in the groove.

        2. re: tbl42

          If they're going to charge money for the food, it ought to be good. It may be too soon for a formal review, of course.

          1. re: Hardart

            I agree - but thus the beauty of Chowhound! Informal reviews from people who know their food, know their drinks, and know what should be expected.

          2. re: tbl42

            No excuse. Let the "paint dry", then open the rest? Your may not get a second chance

          3. I ended up here last night, even though I wouldn't normally go to a restaurant so soon after opening. The ambitious (borderline pretentious) menu and chef with a questionable pedigree (Moshulu, Paradigm) made me extra cautious. But I ended up there anyway.

            Service was decent (couple gaffes but no big deal at a brand new place), but sloooow. Food took forever, luckily I was with a bunch of friends so time passed pretty quickly, but it definitely was way too long.

            We got a dozen oysters from the raw bar and they were awful. They tasted old, no liquor, and poorly shucked--no sand thankfully but not cleanly separated from the shell. At $2 an oyster this is lame. Cocktail sauce tasted mostly like ketchup too.

            Entrees across the board were not liked; cornmeal crusted black cod ($19) was heavily breaded and deep fried and though I didn't taste it, no one was impressed. The "wicked greens" served as the only accompaniment were just collards and smelled and tasted like a "dirty diaper" according to my friends that ordered it. Ouch. Someone got the lamb sliders and did not like them either.

            I ordered the "dueling ribs" appetizer and the smoked tomato salad as my meal, and the ribs were actually pretty good. It was two pork ribs, a largish piece of beef rib, and two Pacu "fish ribs." The fish ribs were stupid and bland, but the pork and beef were tasty, well cooked and finished with a nice char. The whole plate was a good value at $12 as it was pretty filling. The smoked tomato salad on the other hand, was $10 and not good at all. The "cold smoked tomato" were just raw tomato slices--no smoke flavor and no difference in texture. For the middle of August, they were not especially good tomatoes, either. Besides the tomatoes, there was a flavorless cucumber-heirloom pepper slaw and a bunch of arugula poorly dressed in a bland dressing. A bad value and not tasty.

            Beer selection was ok. The person that tried the spiked lemonade-basil drink thing liked it.

            If I give them another chance, I would order BBQ/grilled items only. I know the place is new but the kitchen doesn't seem to have the finesse for the more complex dishes, I wouldn't try them again. I agree with lawgirl that this is more a fun place to have drinks than a place to eat dinner.