Raleigh, N.C. — The Twisted Fork has been known for its amazing desserts. When unveiling their new concept late last month, they kept most of those tasty desserts on the menu. That's about all they kept. Pasta is no longer a staple of the menu. It is all about burgers and barbecue now.
Location: Located just outside of the Triangle Town Center shopping mall in north Raleigh, Twisted Fork is easy to get to and has a lot of parking nearby. You used to be able to spot the restaurant by its large painting of a man with a chef's hat cooking. But those images of pasta twirling on a fork are no more. The design is much more contemporary now, from the outside to the dining room.
The food: While pasta was a huge part of the old Twisted Fork menu, the new menu has a variety of sandwiches, tacos, burgers, barbecue and entrees. Their side items include pimento mac and cheese, fried brussel sprouts and grits.
Our take: I brought along my family, including my toddler son, to check out the new menu for lunch. It was a great way to see how kid-friendly the food is and get a great variety of opinions.
We started with the nachos ($9), which were huge! There was a ton of Tinga chicken on top and I really liked the blend of black bean and corn salsa throughout. The pepper jack queso was a great topping for the dish. This is a great appetizer for a group to share.
We got a few entrees and then shared. Here are our takes on each one:
Blackened Shrimp tacos ($12) - With three tacos and a side of Mexican rice, this was a very filling dish. As the name implies, these shrimp are a little spicy, but the blend of cabbage, cheese and guacamole on top really helped tame that. These tacos can also be ordered with chicken, short rib or pulled pork.
Soccer Mom's Masterpiece ($12) - We had to order this one after reading that it has peanut butter, house made strawberry jam and double bacon. We opted for the North Carolina all-natural dry-aged beef, a $3 up-charge. This burger disappointed us. There was so much peanut butter on the top side of the bun that that's all I tasted. It really muted out the rest of the burger for me. Our side of Pimento Mac and Cheese was also quite dried out. We really preferred the grits to the mac and cheese this time around.
Special burger ($12) - My mom ordered the weekly special a Dry-aged beef burger featuring beef from Mills Family Farm in Mooresville. This burger was topped with Celebrity Dairy Goat Cheese, Shiitake mushroom "bacon" and served on a freshly made house bun and finished off with a drizzle of local honey. This burger was a standout! The mushrooms were cooked in a way that made them taste like bacon. Overall this was the tastiest dish we tried.
Fish and Chips ($13) - Fried whitefish served with fries, slaw and homemade tartar sauce. This was a huge portion. The fish was perfectly prepared.
Kid's menu: Fried Whitefish ($6) - This was just a "smaller" portion of the fish and chips. I put smaller in quotes because the portion was almost as big as the adult entree. Served with fries, green beans and a dessert, this was a really great deal.
Dessert? We didn't have the space left for dessert, but our server assured us that the Tia Maria Cake and many other favorites from the old menu are still around. The Carrot Cake, which didn't make the cut, could be making a comeback, she said.
Service: Our server was attentive, knowledgeable about the menu and even put the children's order in first so he could get started early.
The bill: For five adults and one child to dine, it cost us $80 before the gratuity and that was after using a "buy one entree, get one entree free" coupon.
The verdict: With each entree/sandwich coming in over $10, we can't afford to dine here every day. But it is a nice lunch or dinner splurge. I am interested in trying their brunch, which has changed from a buffet to menu. I am hearing great things about the Tia Maria pancakes!