Main Location: St. Paul, Minneapolis
The Brick and Mortar hits the streets again, with Twisted Fork Grille bringing out a big, black van to shuck out restaurant favorites.
Twisted offers a smaller version of their at-home menu, with a similar percentage between Apps, Salads, Sides, and Sanwiches (Entrees being the only section that’s cut out; though I think they DID make their Bison Meatloaf into a sandwich…). This includes “Modern Grill-based Restaurant” favorites like Walleye Cakes, Sweet Potato “Chips,” “Caramelized” Brussel Sprouts n Bacon, and a Burger (well, a Veggie Burger). These are joined by the Street-reminiscent Twisted Specialties of Pastrami Sandwich, Fish Tacos, and a side of Asian Slaw. And they of course have a couple salads, a plain Green and one with Smoked Salmon on Crostini.
Yeah, not as long as my other Review Intros, maybe I’m feeling a bit lethargic from this taco I had earlier… (stick around for my next SFC post).
Since it’s their signature, I just had to get the Pastrami. Thick, hand-cured pieces of glorious beef cooked on the griddle with a big wad of melty cheese before getting shoved between a toasted pretzel bun (which I swear is becoming less novel and more boring nowadays… though I won’t take points off for that). This is joined by crispy onion strings, a tart tomato, and some zingy-dressed arugula on the bottom (which provided an interesting little flavor surprise to my meat-heavy expectations; cut through the salt and fat nicely). Overall it’s a pretty damn enjoyable sliced-meat sandwich.
And it doesn’t seem to be the only one on the menu; I ended up sharing a nice, Truck-related conversation with a fella chowing on the Corn and Black Bean Burger. A big, thick, and apparently tasty home-made veggie pattie in a nice soft bun; the person eating it wasn’t complaining.
Though it looks as if their renown with vegetables stops just at the burger; I can’t help but find myself highly confused over the supposedly well-known signature of “Caramelized” Brussel Sprouts. First off, this is NOT caramelized; this is seared, sautéed, flash-burnt, whatever you wanna call it; REAL caramelization is made through long cooking, med-hi heat, browning the vegetable aaallll over, getting a rich and even broken-down crust. Of course one can never get it like caramelized onions, which is why when we made it in one of my kitchen jobs we would cook in some brown sugar near the end.
These, on the other hand, are cooked on a hot surface for either too short or too long a time, ending up with a technical sear on top of a big wad of what’s highly reminiscent of what turned most of us off to Brussels when we were kids in the first place. And I appreciate the addition of bacon, as with all its uses, but just sprinkling it on dry here just seems like… might as well just have it on the side. It all falls apart with no stick-togetherness; if it had a dressing or some sauce to better mix the two, maybe make it into a ragout than just a simple sauté, the two would stand out ever better.
As for other items, from what I spotted here and there… the Smoked Salmon salad seems a simple excuse to serve thin slices of lox from an establishment (though they’re probably good), the Sweet Potato looked pretty good, and the Walleye Cakes, though looking possibly tasty, are oddly small… you get 3 balls that are a little bit bigger than a pingpong.
Seem to be two main extremes here: the wraps and salads offer pure one-handled eating, even despite the gluttonous amount of meat and product inside, being served in a solidly-wrapped “foil” that one could easily peel back as needed. On the other side, baskets of salads, a couple of their sides, and those Fish Cakes (which are served with… salad) need eating with a fork, and could be easily more comfortable sitting down; especially if ordering a side WITH something else.
Pretty damn good prices, most “entrée” sized items being $7, with those small Walleye Cakes at $6 and Fish Tacos at $8. Sides are $2-$4, and the Salads come in at $5 for the simple and $7 for the big Smoked Salmon.
Mostly average, some a bit quicker some a bit slower; I’m a bit surprised that the Pastrami takes that long, though it IS actually being grilled to order w/ cheese on top. Just note it’s not a quick-assemble cold.
The TOE: 7.5
Though that feeling of a Restaurant remains, I think Twisted has chosen the right menu items and adjusted themselves to the scene enough to drive a Truck feeling whenever we go.
A good, affordable Truck for those in the St. Paul area, it has some great items when needing high abilities to eat while traveling, though some extended options for those who can sit down to enjoy. It’s also a fantastic option to try some of Twisted Fork’s restaurant items for a little bit cheaper than the original menu.
For Sandwiches, the Pastrami and Bean Burger are at the top of the list, though that’s not to dissuade you from the other entrée items. For Sides, I’d probably suggest sticking to the Sweet Potato Chips; they’re only $2, the Brussels are a no-go, and one can find good Asian Slaws almost everywhere. And for Salads, though once again I still don’t see the point, the Smoked Salmon offers a generous portion with added elements to at least give a “full” lunch.
And those are about the items to mainly pay attention to; though we’ll see if there are any other things they switch out (if they bring the Meatloaf in, that would probably be a pretty good fella too).