POSTED ON JUNE 11, 2008:
Please, Sir, I Want Some More
New Brookside restaurant offers fresh flavors and addictive appetizers
Chow Time. Oliver, a residential home builder and developer, is new to the restaurant world, but he is getting into it in a big way.
Just the name is attention-getting enough--especially to the literary type--but the location is key. Affectionately remembered as the location of The Grapevine, the corner of 35th and Peoria now welcomes Oliver's Twist. This new restaurant is indeed a twist to a prominent spot on Brookside.
Owners Mark Oliver and Travis Bruton jumped on the opportunity to buy this popular location, and since the doors to Oliver's Twist opened March 17, all is going well. "We are doing much better than we expected," said Oliver. "Our location is very good, and we get many of the former Grapevine customers coming back."
The décor has changed slightly. Oliver explained that the changes included redoing the bar by putting in granite and changing the bar's shape. Also, the décor is a bit more upbeat and brighter.
Oliver, a residential home builder and developer, is new to the restaurant world, but he is getting into it in a big way. He and Bruton are owners of Bruhouse right across the street from Oliver's Twist, and in June they will be opening Oliver's Twist at the Decks on Grand Lake. Owning a restaurant seems to run in the family. Oliver's father has recently taken over the restaurant Stuff'ns just south of Grand Lake in Ketchum.
Chris Dodge, a veteran chef as Oliver described him, "authored our menu," which is filled with a few familiar dishes and several interesting creations that are new to the palate. Formerly of Stonehorse Café, Miles McLanahan is the executive chef.
Appetizers include 14 selections, any of which are fine for a heavy snack. A friend and I who dined here began with the Cheese Stuffed Olives ($6) and the Black and Blue Frites ($8). Black olives were stuffed to the max with Asiago cheese, coated with a light breading and then fried. They were presented in a martini glass and the portion was generous. A delicate olive oil sauce was served with the olives; dill and mustard were prominent flavors. The cheese was thoroughly melted and each bite was very rich.
My Frites were very good as well. Slender sliced French Fries were topped with a Blue and Jack cheese blend and then topped again with tiny cubed blackened chicken, bacon and scallions. Lots of cheese covered these Frites and all the ingredients blended well with each bite. Again, it was a generous serving, and each bite was more delicious then the previous. This was a dish hard to resist.
Other appealing appetizers include BBQ Duck Confit Quesadillas, St. Louis Raviolis, Havarti Chicken Nachos, Chipotle Grilled Shrimp with Bacon, Beef Willington Minis and Chicken and Andouille Spring Rolls. A holdover from The Grapevine is the Cheese Board appetizer. Appetizer prices range from $5 to $14.
Entrée decisions were next. We studied the selections--Filet and Mac and Ivory Tuna Entrée ($27) and Gorgonzola Chicken Pasta ($16) reflect the high and low price range, with Grilled Pork Loin, Cedar Plank Salmon, Blackened Snapper, Oliver's Twist Chicken Roulade, Salmon Pasta and Ribeye falling in between. Sides priced at $6 each include Roasted Pepper Mashed Potatoes, Mac and Cheese, Herb Fries, Seasonal Vegetables, Sautéed Spinach and Three Cheese Risotto.
I selected Oliver's Twist Chicken Roulade for my dinner; my companion chose the Salmon Pasta. My dinner was a grilled chicken breast stuffed with roasted bell peppers, spinach, artichokes, olives and fresh mozzarella over house made pasta. I especially enjoyed the grilled taste that imbued the chicken. The pasta was very wide and more on the al dente side (which I enjoy), common with homemade pastas. "Stuffed" in this case meant two pieces of chicken with the stuffing between. It was more like eating one piece of chicken sans stuffing and another piece of chicken topped with stuffing. The ingredients blended well, but it was different than I expected. Also, I found the chicken a bit dryer than what I prefer.
I also ordered a half salad, Oliver's Greek Salad, for $3. The salad featured marinated artichoke hearts, oven-dried tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, black olives and feta cheese with roasted garlic balsamic dressing. It was a perfect beginning to my meal.
My friend began with a half order of the Wilted Spinach Salad, which included a bacon stuffed hardboiled egg, red onions, tomatoes and a lemon poppy seed vinaigrette over spinach that was delicately softened and limp from the warm dressing. My friend found this quite good.
His Salmon Pasta entrée consisted of marinated salmon, sugar snap peas, mushrooms and bell peppers with the house made pasta in a miso sweet soy sauce. Although he enjoyed this dish, he said it was sweeter than he expected and prefered. He did say the soy sauce was good and prominent. The salmon was cut into large squares and saturated with marinade.
Oliver said the Filet and Mac and the Ivory Tuna Entrée are the two most frequently ordered dishes. On the lunch menu, the Blackened Battered Escolar Tacos ($11), the Grilled Red Snapper Tacos ($9), Kobe Steak Burger ($12) and the Country Fried Ribeye Sandwich ($10) are the top sellers.
Oliver said on Saturday they offer a menu of brunch specials and in mid July they will serve a Sunday Bruch "which will include Eggs Benedict, all sorts of pancakes, omelets, waffles--all with our own little twist."
3509 S. Peoria
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