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Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011

Replay: A Sports Bar Done the Right Way

Twisted Fork remodel includes TVs, a new bar and a burger challenge

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Sometimes even a good location needs a change of format. A prime example is the Twisted Fork, located next to the Oriental Theatre. It opened in 2003, but closed last year to remodel and then reopen as Replay Sports Bar.

The remodeling job is an effective one. In a move that unifies the entire restaurant, the wall that separated the bar from the main dining area has been removed. The new bar has a wide top with plenty of room for beers and appetizers. Flat-panel TVs are everywhere. There is a side game room as well.

The simplified menu is a mere shadow of the Twisted Fork’s offerings, but in a sportsmanlike gesture Replay offers a challenge, a la “Man v. Food” on the Travel Channel. The challenge is to eat two burgers with the fixings in one hour. If you finish, the meal is free. To top it off, Replay will even throw in a T-shirt and place your picture on its Wall of Fame. But it won’t be easy. Each burger consists of two 8-ounce beef patties topped with four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion—and then the whole thing is deep-fried. The side of fries also must be devoured—all 2 pounds of them! The total amount of food adds up to 5-and-a-half pounds. Those who fail at the challenge will owe Replay $27.99.

As for the rest of the food, the menu consists of burgers, sandwiches, salads, appetizers and a few pizzas. Perhaps start with Slapshot sirloin chili ($5.99), a bowl with ground Angus beef, roasted peppers, black beans, onions and spices. It is a fairly standard preparation that benefits from a dash of hot sauce. The chicken wings ($7.99-$21.99), servings of nine to 30, are of good size and prepared with four different sauces—Thai chili, garlic Parmesan, barbecue or Frank’s Original Red Hot. The Red Hot is more salty than spicy. The wings come with celery and very ordinary blue cheese dressing.

You can count on the sandwiches to be reliable. The Checked Swing chicken pesto ($7.99), chicken breast with fresh basil pesto, is pressed in the manner of panini. A few additions, not mentioned on the menu, make it even better. They are roasted red peppers and chipotle aioli that adds just the right burst of spice. The Phenom Philly short rib roll ($9.99) is slices of short rib topped with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and provolone cheese. The meat would be better if it were chopped, as it is in a real Philly cheese steak—sliced, it can still be a bit too chewy.

Burgers are probably the best bet. There are seven options. The Man-to-Man mushroom Swiss ($8.99) with sautéed mushrooms and garlic aioli arrived well done instead of medium, but it was still good. It calls for higher-quality mustard than the yellow stuff found at every table. Burgers and sandwiches include pre-seasoned fries. Upgrade to haystack onion rings for $1. For a trial run of the Replay challenge, the Replay burger ($15.99) offers double the meat.

Are you up to the challenge? So far only one person has done it. Those who have failed have their photos on display on Replay’s website in the Wall of Shame. Dare to be No. 2!

Replay Sports Bar

2238 N. Farwell Ave.

(414) 431-1080

$-$$

Credit Cards: All Major

Handicap Accessible

replaysportsbar.com