Wednesday, November 7, 2007

REVIEW: Twist- **1/2 / $$

Twist is owned by the Pinelli Marra group. A restaurant group that started with the Post Office Cafe in East Greenwich and eventually expanded to eight locations. On the group's website they brag about every location being different from the others. I had inside information, though, and know that the cooking staff (apparently a near-army of Guatemalans) from one location frequently gets transplanted to others. That isn't exactly the best way to maintain a unique flavor from location to location. This shows.

Upon entering Twist, I noticed how ultra-trendy the whole setup was. As in, trendy to the point of trying to hard to present itself as though it's in Providence as opposed to situated across the street from a working-class mall. Still, it's a very well designed and attractive dining area. Lighting is good, and the place is suitably romantic if you're hoping for some kissy-kissy during dessert. The windows aren't very large, which is somewhat understandably. The fabulous view of the medical center isn't very picturesque. I still prefer large windows. No matter the view. The chairs are comfortable with a decent amount of cushiness. Table dress was also very good.

Service was prompt and friendly. I wasn't as impressed with the menu. It's large, which is a characteristic of all Pinelli Marra restaurants. But sheer selection can't save the day. For a bit more money, you're getting a selection that's very similar to other Pinelli Marra locations, like my favorite, The Grille on Main. For example, the crab cakes, mozzarella triangles, and quesadilla are all identical to the Grille. They call them "Appetizers with a Twist." Twist? What twist? That I'm eating HERE as opposed to THERE? They offer no reason to pay more for this food. No sides, no more artistry. I'm sorry, but the trendy airs do not a dinner make.

They do get more inventive with the specials at this location than at others, but unfortunately, those specials are hit-and-miss in their quality. For example, in a recent visit I ordered a steak with gorgonzola sauce. The sauce was over-powering and rendered most of the other ingredients moot. Like, there were artichokes somewhere in there, but I sure as hell couldn't taste them. The steak was on the well-side of medium, an epic transgression in my book, and wasn't a very good cut. Still, I give it credit for being decently tasty once I had scraped some of the sauce off and it was under twenty dollars. The wine list is entirely forgettable, but acceptably cheap, and not nearly as pretentious as the crap list at Pinelli's current flagship, Waterplace.

Their dessert offerings are very basic and offer nothing inventive. Cheesecake, brownies, and ice cream are all present. Many of the items are cheap, though, and are well-made. Taken as a whole, there are a number of gems on the menu (Chicken Walnut Ravioli is dee-lish), but the lack of real seasonal changes means it will grow old quickly, and The specials are so dodgey in quality I resist saying to ever get them. Still, much of Twist is affordable, and they give it to you in a trendy, romantic setting. Most of it is well-made, and you won't be disappointed with the bulk of the menu. So, If you're in the neighborhood, it's worth stopping by for a sandwich or some pasta, but nothing more.

Price range for two: $40-$60

336 Bald Hill Road
Warwick, RI. 02866

Sunday through Monday 11:00am to 1:00am

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