If you’ve never heard of the Twisted Fork Bistro, you may have heard of owner and Executive Chef Jay Powell a.k.a Uncle Jay. He’s known for his charisma and unapologetic persona. In the weeks leading up to my visit to the Twisted Fork, I wondered if Uncle Jay’s savory reputation would match his menu and flavors.
If you’re like me, you look at a restaurant’s menu in advance. I was disappointed that I was unable to do so for the Twisted Fork. The website was under construction and the Facebook page only offered a specialty menu. Come to find out, Jay writes his menus seasonally and sometimes it changes even more often than that based on what local protein, produce, and dairy he can source.
Jay explained that every item on the menu is locally sourced and that he personally knows his vendors. I admire this practice. I especially love chefs who are brave enough to pair unexpected ingredients–something I had heard the Twisted Fork is known for.
Driving by the strip mall where the Twisted Fork is located, you might assume it was a diner but you would be wrong. What the Twisted Fork lacks in location and first impressions, it makes up for in personality. A smile and a pig greeted us. Yes, a pig. This fully cooked sow was later served as a welcoming course to our group in the form of slow-cooked shredded pork tacos with jalapeño slaw and a side of truffle fries. It was not on the menu, but if they’re reading this, I hope they consider adding it. It was delicious.
Jay and Nancy, his wife and business partner, are playful and friendly. Nancy waited on our group with another server while Jay prepared our meals in the kitchen. Nancy told charming stories as she took our order. Meanwhile every now and then Jay would yell something to us through the window in the kitchen. It was a higher quality of entertainment than I expected on a Tuesday night.
For dinner, I ordered the Seared Scallops served on a parsnip puree topped with a bacon emulsion (made with bacon from BT’s Smokehouse in Sturbridge) and drizzled with a blood orange olive oil. WOW! The scallops were great but the standout component of the dish was the parsnip puree. The puree was velvety smooth and perfectly balanced. It really complimented the scallops and the blood orange olive oil, which gave the plate a little bit of tartness and a little bit of sweetness. There were a few others at the table that ordered same dish. We all cleaned our plates–just sayin’.
Service was a little long, because, as Jay explained, they have a rather small kitchen with three burners. Considering the level of quality and refinement, I thought the length of service was justified. Also, they have a full bar with a good selection of draft beers including Wormtown (bonus points) to enjoy while you wait.
Jay and Nancy kept us entertained with cute anecdotes and back-and-forth banter. Jay is loud and a little unpredictable while Nancy is more modest and even-toned. Together they make great partners.
The Twisted Fork is more than a meal; it’s an experience. It’s a great place to try out something new because you can trust that the dish will impress you. Plus, it’s just fun! The prices are very fair. My check was under $40 for fresh seafood, alcohol, and a entertainment. I would highly recommend going to the Twisted Fork.