Listen up, everybody...I found a very cool new place. You would probably never chance upon this hard-to-spot little gastropub, which is incongrously located in a 1950's motel complex on a particularly unremarkable strech of U.S. 19, if you weren't looking for it.
After reading the reviews on Urbanspoon, UD and I set out on a gastronomic field trip which did not disappoint. The restaurant is small and cutely kitschy, blending nicely with its retro surroundings. We entered right after it opened for lunch on a Saturday...first ones in, but others were right behind us.
We started with Crawfish Hushpuppies and Fried Mac and Cheese bites (forgive me, Dr. Atkins, for I have sinned), both of which were hot, crisp and delicious. The hushpuppies were perfect...golden brown, studded with crawfish bits and served with a lovely house made honey mustard sauce. The fried macaroni and cheese was of the devil. Don't resist...just sell your soul and buy a bigger pants size...it'll be so worth it.
I got the Shrimp and Grits, which were divine. The generous portion of grilled shrimp were plated with my-kinda-creamy Gouda cheese grits and a nicely spicy Andouille gravy. Fresh veggies on the side (squash medley) were clearly fresh and thoughtfully seasoned.
My resident Superhero lubs him some pork chops and ordered the Johnny Appleseed Pork Chops which were decadently wrapped in bacon, drizzled with maple glaze and topped with cinnamon-spicy apple chutney. SO good. Not overcooked, either, as pork chops so often are. Homemade, skin-on mashed potatoes and more of the fresh squash rounded out this beautiful comfort dish.
The Coconut Cole Slaw sounded intriguing so we ordered a side of it. While we both liked the taste, it was a "wetter" slaw than either of us prefer. Lighter on the creamy coconut dressing and crunchier on the shredded slaw bits would've appealed more to our personal tastebuds. We're gonna tweak this one at home, however...and maybe add pineapple bits. Awesome concept!
Time for dessert...and the desserts truly RULED. OMG...I am a bread pudding junkie to the highest power and this may have been the best I've ever tasted. Not too sweet, perfect density, laden with cranberry and walnut pieces (two of my most favorite ingredients), hot with crispy edges, smothered in whiskey sauce and topped with a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream. Check, check, check, check, check, check. To die for.
Ummm...the Fried Key Lime Pie made it tough to choose which dessert was better. It's hard to imagine anything more amazing than a perfectly tangy, custardy key lime pie to begin with...but deep-frying transported this Florida classic from satisfying to sinful. Ridiculously evil. You want this. Diet tomorrow.
I loved this place. All of this plus two drinks (beer and wine only, here) set us back $70, and we brought enough home to ensure that I won't be cooking for the rest of the weekend. We received very friendly and helpful service from Nicole and also appreciated the fact that Chef/Owner Sean came out to meet us and ask for our feedback. I can't wait to go back and try BBQ Pulled Pork Lasagna (be still my heart).
High-quality independents like Twisted Cork Grille need foodie support...try it, you won't be sorry.