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.