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Monday, Feb. 10, 2014

Twisted Willow Offers Healthy, Casual Yet Classy Dining

From farm to table to Port Washington

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Set in the center of Downtown Port Washington, Twisted Willow is quickly capturing the attention of locals and visitors alike. A locally sourced farm-to-table restaurant and bar, this casual yet classy dining spot is a welcome addition to Port, as well as one of several new establishments reinvigorating the quaint town’s nightlife.

The cream brick building, formerly home to the Wind Rose Wine & Martini Bar, boasts an eclectic, rustic interior (electric fireplace included) that fosters an all-around relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. Twisted Willow is not only a great place for date nights, business meetings, taking the kids or an evening out with friends, but also a prime eatery for vegetarians, vegans and those with gluten restrictions. With every dish and drink made from scratch using Wisconsin-native produce from the Twisted Willow Farm and a variety of other local farms and farmers (all identified in the menu), plus the added bonus of live music Saturday evenings, how can anyone go wrong eating at this fantastic establishment?

Make sure to start with Twisted Willow’s tasty appetizers, which are large enough to share with two or more people. Highly recommended are the grilled flat bread ($8.95), with tomatoes, provolone, mozzarella, caramelized onions, pesto, arugula and a tasty balsamic drizzle, and the coconut curry with grilled shrimp ($12.95), which includes a sweet and spicy Thai red coconut curry over plump shrimp, jasmine rice, sweet bell peppers and grilled pineapple.

Then choose from a variety of entrées (all of which are served with warm bread), a nice selection of sandwiches or a few hearty soups and salads. Try the delicious wild mushroom and kale stroganoff ($14.95) for a filling meal that doesn’t weigh you down, or order the Shelbi Sammy panini ($8.95), a mouth-watering sandwich with sautéed wild mushrooms, roasted onions and red peppers, spinach, white cheddar and pesto aioli. A big hit during our dining experience was the restaurant’s signature ketchup, made with roasted vegetables from their own garden—it’s smoky, chunky and full of flavor. Craving fish? Stop by on Friday for a fantastic fish fry, which boasts fresh-caught Lake Perch and a great gluten-free baked cod. And don’t forget about the kid’s menu, which will please even the pickiest of eaters and includes a “dirt and worms” cup for dessert. Tasty candy-coated fennel seeds are complimentary after every meal and are wonderful for breath and digestion.

Every dish comes with suggested pairings from the establishment’s fine selections of wine and beer. If cocktails are more your speed, you’re in for a treat. Twisted Willow’s Bar Manager Joe Buth makes every drink from scratch—no mixes here. The cocktail selection is ever evolving, so prick up your ears for the newest drinks and specials. Both the grasshopper and brandy Alexander dessert drinks are also wonderfully mixed and made with Twisted Willow’s fresh homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Speaking of desserts, try the restaurant’s delectable cheesecake ($5), or take on the flourless fudge cake brownie ($7), available by request. This highly decadent “brick of fudge” melts in your mouth and comes with fresh seasonal fruit. For the kiddies, re-create a summer experience with the tabletop s’mores ($8.50).

An affordable, locally focused restaurant with an excellent menu and attentive, friendly service, Twisted Willow is a fine up-and-coming establishment. Open Tuesday-Saturday at 4:30 p.m. for dinner, with lunch available Fridays 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Reservations are encouraged.

 

Twisted Willow

308 N. Franklin St., Port Washington

262-268-7600

$$-$$$

twistedwillowrestaurant.com

Handicap access: Yes (use east entrance)