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Fish and Chips on a Twisted Fork

Twisted Fork's Fish and Chips

Driving to the Twisted Fork was interesting. Highway, Worcester streets, then darkness climbing Deadhorse Hill, a hill apparently named for horses that died trying to climb it. I had no idea where I was, but I was greeted by a roasted pig displayed on a table and decided I was in a good place.

Executive Chef Jay Powell welcomed each one of us in an energetic fashion. He described his pig and his restaurant while we all tried to take cell phone pictures of the beast in poor lighting. No photo I took did Jay’s roasted pig any justice.

The moment I stepped away from the pig, Jay’s wife was at my side taking my drink order. Then she brought me my desired glass of wine as quick as humanly possible. We had the restaurant to ourselves, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Jay and his wife Nancy are just as welcoming every day of the week.

As Jay made bowls out of Parmesan for the caesar salad, I regretted not ordering a salad for the first time. I did manage to mooch some root vegetable soup from a neighbor and quickly learned that I happen to like root vegetables.

The only item I ordered, sadly, was the Fish and Chips. Fish and Chips may sound a bit basic, but I find it’s an excellent dish to test a restaurant’s quality, freshness, and batter skills. The Twisted Fork’s Fish and Chips is fresh and light. The batter is crispy and actually stays on the fish when your fork cuts through the filet. The batter did not overpower the fish either.

I usually eat fried fish with a mix of what amounts to 75 percent ketchup and 25 percent tartar sauce. This time, I held back on the ketchup and added more tartar sauce. The tartar sauce was homemade and had a creamy sweetness to it with flavors of capers and relish. The fries were also hand-cut, thin and fried to a golden crunch. It was very easy to tell that my meal was made fresh and from scratch.

The service was excellent. Since every dish is made from scratch and we were a large group with individual checks, there was a bit of wait time. Nancy and her staff made sure drinks were filled, but she didn’t push wine refills, which I appreciated. If we had refilled our wine glasses every time they emptied, we may have ended up flying down Deadhorse Hill in the manner of the early 1900s racers.

Nancy made sure we had everything we needed. Jay was in the kitchen but he responded to whoever called out to him to ask for the soups of the day. He would also lean through the window to share what he was working on. At one point he held up a ball of Parmesan and explained how he was making it into a salad bowl.

Dining at the Twisted Fork was an experience I would love to have again. The passion Jay has for cooking is evident and it adds an interactive element to the meal. Guests don’t simply order food and eat it; guests see and hear him make the dishes from scratch with local ingredients and lots of enthusiasm.

I hope he finds a central location in Worcester to showcase his talents regularly so I can frequent his restaurant and order the soup AND salad. Perhaps a new website would be good too.

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The Twisted Fork Bistro Seared Scallops

The Twisted Fork Bistro Seared Scallops

The Twisted Fork is a short drive from the Webster Square area of Worcester. At the top of Dead Horse Hill the Twisted Fork sits in a strip mall tempting your taste buds with its interesting menu.

Upon entering the restaurant the owner and chef, Jay Powell, whose passion and eclectic personality are apparent instantly, greeted us. The restaurant is a modest size with a small bar area. When we sat down, Chef Jay shared that his restaurant is a scratch kitchen, which means everything is made in-house from scratch.

The menu offered a variety of options. To start, I went with the Mushroom Truffle Soup, which was a rich creamy mushroom soup with black truffles and a dollop of sour cream. It was a masterful combination of flavors. Also, it was quite possibly the best mushroom soup, and largest quantity of soup, I have ever had. It was a portion that could have served two or three people.

For my main course, I ordered the Seared Scallops. This decent-sized portion of scallops and Brussels sprouts came on a citrus parsnip puree topped with a bacon emulsion and finished with a blood orange olive oil. The scallops were seared perfectly. The surprise star of the dish was the parsnip puree. This flavor pulled the dish together. The citrus noted in the puree and blood orange olive oil helped create a dish I want to order again and again.

Our servers, Miss Lindsey and the owner’s wife, Nancy, provided friendly and helpful assistance all night. Nancy is also the pastry chef. She makes sinfully delicious desserts. Service can be a little slow as the chef explained to us that they only have three burners and, of course, everything is made from scratch.

The Twisted Fork’s only downside was the small kitchen. It seems like having a bigger kitchen would allow them to make everything from scratch within a reasonable amount of time. However, the owner and his team showed us their sincere passion for food in the dining experience they created for us. The Twisted Fork is definitely worth a return trip.