Photography by Kevin A. Roberts
A classic match: roasted aged prime rib and batter-dipped lobster tail
They are the restaurants for those special nights in two-stoplight burgs: Celebrations. Graduations. Anniversaries. Places suitably becoming and premium, yet safe from anything like pretense or intimidation. Despite its location in the metro region, Twisted Tree manages to capture the flavor and feel of such a place.
It’s unsurprising: The owners also ran The Pear Tree, an eatery in pastoral Macon. The atmosphere there is perfectly replicated here: brick walls, tables easily arranged for big groups, a roomy bar. Repurposed wood makes the sprawling 180-seat space seem comfier. Vintage St. Louis beer signage adds charm. The fare? Unapologetically unrefined. Dependable, carefully prepared, attentively presented.
Salads set the tone. They’re served family-style, mounded in a tureen with a tripod of dressings, fried croutons, and feta crumbles. Onion rings are a specialty—and mandatory. A delicate golden crust envelops the sweet rings. Impressive three-bite shrimp are similarly batter fried, though overpriced at $10 for a pair.
Among the few nods toward gourmandizing is the dry aging of the beef. A chalkboard calendar shows the days that each cut spends maturing. The aging shows: From a thick fillet to a slab of prime rib, every piece of cow here is superior, timed on the grill with precise attention. A 6-ounce fillet has just enough char to maximize the taste of the meat. The prime rib slab sits alone on the plate, save for a ramekin of horseradish sauce. The sides—steamed broccoli, pan-fried onions, and potatoes—are typical steakhouse fare.
At least two non-cow offerings are worthwhile. The chicken piccata is lightly breaded, moist, and fork-tender. A maple syrup reduction enlivens a double pork chop, lending an additional element to the meat. Then there’s that famed batter-fried lobster tail (a signature dish at Pear Tree), an approach that walks right up to the line of decadence without tumbling over it.
Rich, creamy house-churned ice creams dominate a boy-they’re-big dessert menu, but there’s also a brick-size turtle pie, and the wedding cake slab is famous.
Many California vintages (fairly priced, by restaurant standards) and a good list of classic cocktails complement the menu. And there are other thoughtful touches: Fresh bread arrives in paper bags to keep it hot. A lunch menu, offering such sandwiches as a pork tenderloin and a prime rib melt, is a refreshing addition for a steakhouse.
Twisted Tree brings a welcome steakhouse to Sunset Hills and, moreover, a “special” small-town sensibility that’s downright refreshing.