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September 15, 2010

Shallow Thought Wednesday: Twist and Spurn

Dead or Alive

Shallow Thought Wednesday cowboy John Lindner moseyed on over to a horsey-themed restaurant in Howard County. His take: to heck with the place and the horse it rode in on. Here's John. LV

“Cordial and friendly staff will treat you with casual respect.”
Whoa. The line in the menu caused me to yank back my brain reins, shift in my metaphysical saddle and squint into the linguistic horizon. Casual respect?
Then our server corralled a chair and hunkered down at our table. Ah, casual respect. I get it.
Opened recently in a nail-salon-anchored stripper done up to look like a hive of insurance offices in historic Highland (or Clarksville) at the corner of 216 and 108 out in Howard County, Twist and Turn tries to evoke Maryland horse country and it does a fair job of looking like it tries to evoke Maryland horse country. You got your horse-related pictures and your Preakness shrimp salad. The plan is simple: Trot out standard tavern fare. Saddle a few items with themey sounding names. (Wrangler Roy’s Ho-hum Grilled Chicken.*) How could that not work?

Well, with a little energy and pinch of tongue between the cheek and gum, it might have. But the theme nag T&T rode in on dragged a buckboard full of blues to boot. (An aside: I recall rock music, and not country-western, churning through the sound system. Not that I wasn’t grateful, but, for horse country, isn’t that odd?)
I ordered the bison burger (12 buckaroos). Rare. It arrived well done with room temperature fries. I showed the buffalo puck to the server. It went back. A while later, I got a fresh new well done bison burger. Step up: The fries were hot. I ate half the burger and took the remainder home and fed it to the dog, who loved it!
The quesadillas one of my dining pardners ordered were flat in every respect. My other pardner ordered a well done bison and got it, along with the mayo he had emphatically declined.
At one point my drink ran out … and kept staying run out. I tired of waiting and moseyed up to the bar just as its tender disappeared. Dawdled there for a spell. (This was around 1 o’clock. Maybe 8 customers, max, in the place.) Finally I left the glass on the bar and returned to our table muttering “casual respect.”
This was my one and most likely only lunch at Twist & Turn. Granted, maybe we showed up on a bad day. But if T&T’s food and service remain consistent with its perfunctory thematic façade, about the best I can say is, for the casually famished, I reckon it’ll do. But for the foodie, it just plumb pulls up lame.
*I made that up.
Photo by Roger Kirby courtesy Stock Xchng
Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:11 AM | | Comments (6)


Umm, well then, glad your dog liked it at least! : )

As usual, enjoyable review!

Good post, jl!

As Trixie posted, at least the dog got a meal he liked.

We tried this place once, shortly after they opened. Swore I would never go back! I ordered my hamburger medium, came to me still mooing. When I told the server, she said, "I didn't cook it". I have heard that they were getting better, but, I guess not.

Every time I think we try new places and get out of the restaurant rut we are in I read something like the above review and think maybe not.

Went there when it first opened and have not been back since. Though, the onion rings were good.

I have never been there, and will continue to do so.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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