Twisted Cuisine, Kenosha, Wisconsin

>> Thursday, January 15, 2015

One of our most exciting experiences is finding a restaurant that is exciting, affordable, and near. Kenosha is a blue-collar town that has been hoisting itself back on its feet since the car industry crash and the demise of the AMC motor plant on the lake. This city didn't used to be a place where you'd find innovative big-city chefs, but Twisted Cuisine is one of best we've found in the last few years. And luckily, it's close enough for us to enjoy more than once.

When you tell someone you just found a coupon for "this place called Twisted Cuisine", and people moan with delight, you know you're onto something good. The restaurant calls itself "Casual Cuisine with a Twist" - a serious twist. For example, the tilapia rolled in crumbled Apple Jacks cereal, or the Prime Flat-Iron steak with popcorn brittle and chipotle. If you feel like dessert, one offering is Oreo Donuts with Vodka Icing. Hmmm.

The surprisingly young chef brings a playful attitude to the food and squeezes in between the overflowing tables to greet her customers. The place is busy every time we go there, but we've never had a wait for a table and the servers are quick and friendly. This is Wisconsin, after all, and "Wisconsin Nice" is a special kind sweetness that treats every newcomer as a friend.

Twisted Cuisine owners, Rhonda Bell & Heid Neff
Twisted Cuisine owners, Rhonda Bell & Heid Neff

So last weekend we went with a pair of our closest friends to the Lemon Street Art Gallery where (I can hardly believe it!) I was showing some of my art photography. That night I sold three photographs and had a heart-shaking conversation with a Wisconsin Nice woman who nudged into my soul the idea that my art is a gift; I do not have the right to turn off my talent because it's not as good as the art I imagined making. Ouch! But after actually selling art (!!!), I was in a great frame of mind to hear that message.

Well, then we were off to Twisted Cuisine. One of the continual draws for us is the rotating menu of game and unusual meats. Since I haven't eaten pheasant (or seen one) since I lived in rural Michigan, I ordered the pheasant with Sweet Pepper Bacon, Panko Beer Batter, and Cranberry Glaze. The beer batter actually tasted a bit like pancake batter, and it tenderly enfolded this juicy breast of pheasant. My dinner came with a sweet potato the size of Pluto and I had the leftovers for lunch.

Joe had the Long-Bone pork chop with blueberry, molasses, and scallion, a huge hunk of meat grilled just the way he likes it. If you've never tried a pork chop with blueberry syrup, you really should. And where has molasses been all my life?

Peggy ordered Harvest Chicken with Pumpkin Butter, Bourbon and Pecans, a dish we were all considering. It was spectacular and heavy with flavor, but I thought the chicken was a little overwhelmed by the spices and bourbon. Joe and I are going to play around with that recipe concept and see what we come up with. 

John couldn't decide between the Venison Stroganoff and the Halibut stuffed with herbed cream cheese and shrimp. He told our server he was wavering between the two, so he just asked her to surprise him. She brought him Venison Stroganoff with Kale Flower and Wild Mushroom Crème, and it was heavenly. I usually have trouble with the gamy flavor of venison, but one bite of his dinner made me want to snatch the plate off his side of the table. I don't even know what a cook does to make a sauce so buttery-creamy. This was my favorite dish of the evening.

We started with a dry and fruity 2013 Gewurztraminer from Gundlach Bundschu. It was full of exotic flavors like coriander and starfruit, and opened up beautifully in the glass. I can't remember the red wine we enjoyed, but it was just the right suggestion from our server.

I almost forgot to mention that the walls of the restaurant are covered in art from local artists - and the display changes as people buy the paintings. In all, the restaurant mixes a dark and cozy interior with a funky art vibe, which always makes my food taste better!

Make reservations - Twisted Cuisine is a busy restaurant, especially during the summer tourist season. Then order the lobster mac'n'cheese, and remind me how utterly wonderful it is.

Twisted Cuisine is at 7546 Sheridan Road   |   Kenosha Wi 53143
Call for reservations: 262-564-0220


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