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Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

Twisted Fisherman Designed for Fun

Enjoy seafood in the Menomonee Valley

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The Vecchio Entertainment Group, owned by local entrepreneur Russ Davis, offers the city a series of diverse locations and dining options. The group's ventures include Hubbard Park Lodge (Friday fish fries and Sunday brunch), Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden (Friday fish fries and music) and Rio West Cantina (open every day). Now, another venue has been added to the list: the Twisted Fisherman.

The Twisted Fisherman's location in an industrial area in the Menomonee Valley may seem odd at first, but it just happens to be smack-dab between Potawatomi Bingo Casino and the Harley-Davidson Museum.

The restaurant, which lies on the banks of the Menomonee River, offers nine booths and seating at the bar. Outdoor decks seat many more, and glass garage doors allow the restaurant to be open-air on suitable days. This is a setting that is designed for fun.

Appropriately, given the restaurant's name, the menu focuses on seafood (though barbecue ribs and a T-bone steak are also served). Fresh fish specials vary daily and tend to be of sustainable varieties such as tilapia, trout and sockeye salmon. The menu places a focus on crab. Currently, the options are snow and Dungeness crabs, but there are plans to soon add king crab, as well as stone and blue crabs when they are in season.

The menu features a number of notable starters. Oysters on the half shell ($2 each) change daily. Lately, the oysters have been Devons that are raised in Nantucket. They are of good size and fine flavor. The former Café Vecchio Mondo had fine shrimp bisque. It reappears on this menu ($3.50), complete with its rich, intense flavor.

The Twisted Fisherman also offers some creative salads ($6.95). One, called mojito, has romaine lettuce with seeded cucumber slices and Granny Smith apples. The lime-juice dressing with mint highlights the tart apple flavor.

In addition to other daily specials, a fish fry is available every day. The fish fry consists of Lake Erie perch ($13.95), which means the filets are larger than you'd find with Canadian lake perch. They have a good thin batter and already rate as one of the best served locally, even a step above the fry at the Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden.

Snow crab ($19.95) comes with two clusters of claws served with drawn butter. Cracking tools are available, but the legs are easy to crack open by hand. The baby back ribs ($19.95) are big, meaty and tender. The meat nearly falls off the bone. They are covered with a dark sauce of Cruzan rum and cola that is not as sweet as it sounds. Tabasco is available to liven them up. Surf and turf ($19.95) is half-portions of ribs and snow crab. It's quite a lot of food.

Entrees include two side dishes. The fine fries work with anything, and the creamy coleslaw with apple is perfect for the ribs.

This crab shack is still in its early days, so expect the menu to evolve. Still, you should consider a visit in the near future. Summer is the time to enjoy the outdoor decks and watch the seagulls and occasional boaters.

Twisted Fisherman

1200 W. Canal St.

(414) 384-2722

$$

Handicap Accessible

twistedfisherman.com