St Paul and the Twisted Fork
Here is another Groupon ‘discovery’ – the Twisted Fork Grill on Grand Ave in St. Paul. We saw the sign on the brickwork above the door, but were confused when we walked up because it also said Green Mill. You walk through the first doors and then you either turn right for the Mill, or left, through the doors to the Fork.
We were on our way to a meeting of advisers and partners for Full Length at St Kate's and this gave us another reason to explore a Mississippi river eatery - there are so many and we really do love the food too.
This restaurant, which opened in 2010 is owned by Green Mill, but is independent in that they order from different distributors, change their menu seasonally, and try to use as many local ingredients as possible. Our waitperson told us that after opening, some people immediately turned up their noses, without even trying the place, because of its connection to Green Mill. All we can say is ‘your loss!’
The space is done in warm woods and since it is on the corner of Grand and Hamline there are windows on two walls, spilling nice daylight onto most of the tables and booths, as well providing an entertaining parade of passersby. A couple booths are against a wall with no windows and we avoided those because it was just too dark for the middle of the day.
An L shaped bar sits opposite the tables and booths and I noticed a clever and functional detail beneath the bar, about where your knees would touch the back of it. Coat hooks! Perfect, especially for women to hang their purse – just so long as they remember to look down and take it when they leave. Hanging above the bar is a series of gorgeous blown glass blue cone shaped lights. We were there for lunch, but I bet it’s very pretty at night.
The menu had an enticing selection of salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes. I chose the day’s luncheon special which was walleye on a bed of pasta, with asparagus and sweet red pepper all blended with a rich, creamy white sauce. I forced myself to save half of it, because I am on a quest to find the best crème brulee and when I saw that they had one described as ‘lavender crème brulee’, I couldn’t resist. Our waitperson was skeptical that this would win the prize, but both Mike and I rated it very high, both for its creamy, buttery texture and the light floral highlight added by the lavender. The perfectly crisped layer of burnt sugar sealed the deal.
Mike ordered their Angus pot roast sandwich, which came on toasted rolls with a mixture of seeds scattered on top. His meal also included roasted red potatoes, which he dipped in the homemade spicy ketchup. A small cup of au jus sauce and creamy horseradish accompanied it as well. We were two happily satisfied customers and will go back. Maybe for one of there ‘half off bottle of wine’ nights.
Twisted Fork Grill
And the great thing is that besides the wonderful food we had a great meeting with representatives from MNDOT - MRT trail, the national MRT (Mississippi River Trail) board, Friends of the Mississippi, St Kate's, Minnesota Audubon, and the state River advisory board. The ideas were shared and our trip and study of the Mississippi continues to expand and become important as a way to share our concerns for freshwater, the watershed and the future.