Don’t let the name fool you, there’s nothing remotely twisted about the food served at the Twisted Frenchman restaurant. Housed in a small intimate space in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood, the Twisted Frenchman is the perfect spot for a celebratory or special occasion meal. I dined there last month to take advantage of their Restaurant Week offering.
The Twisted Frenchman (T.T.F.) is located in a small stretch of buildings on the always bustling South Highland Avenue. There’s been a bit of turnover in the last couple of years between the loss of the Ethiopian restaurant Abay and a terrific West Indies spot whose name I can’t remember, but thankfully with the moving in of the T.T.F and Muddy Waters Oyster Bar (a New Orleans style joint I’m dying to try), things are looking right and complete again.
The space itself is quite small (there looked to be about 10 tables) and the décor simple and subdued in an elegant sort of way. The menu is more what I’d describe as continental eclectic with French culinary influences. If you want authentic French cuisine, go another time to the extremely close by Paris 66 restaurant.
Being a French-inspired restaurant, there aren’t any beer selections (somewhat to D’s disappointment), only cocktails and wine. However, we were both immensely happy with the cocktails we ordered. I opted for the Ginger Pear ($11) which consists of Absolut Pear, Joseph Cartron Ginger, St. Germain, and House Sours. Its exquisite taste reminded me that I need to eat more things that taste like pear. D selected the Manhattan Noir ($13) which features Bulleit Rye, Averna, and bitters.
The Restaurant Week special included your choice of starter and entrée for $35 from a selection of items that are on the regular menu. While I am not a vegetarian, for some reason I went the “vegetable route” for my meal. To start I had the Beets (normally $14). This contains a variety of beets of different colors and comes with goat cheese, petit arugala (I had them hold this), cucumber, and honey vinaigrette. While I probably would have gagged over the thought of eating beets as a child, I absolutely adore them now. This starter was both delicious and filling.
For my main course I ordered the Vegetarian Cassoulet ($28). A cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole that originated in the south of France consisting of meat, pork skin, and white beans. My vegetarian option included legumes, a vegetarian demi-glace, and vegetables. While this was very enjoyable, I still think I prefer my cassoulets to come with meat.
D ordered the Fish and Chips ($15) for his appetizer. As I dubbed them, these are adult fish and chips consisting of greens, an aioli sauce, fried fish and shrimp mousse, and chips. I had a bite and found it terrific, certainly a stark contrast to the traditional fried variety.
He went with the House Aged Prime Strip for his main course ($36). This was definitely no surprise. It is topped with endive, black garlic, fine herbs, chili froth (quite cool), and a potato nest (visually even cooler).
My only small critique of the meal is that the dessert selections were limited, both of the ice cream variety. For some reason that evening, I had a major hankering for cake. But we went with the Vanilla ($12) and it was sublime along with the presentation. It features custard, citrus, and blood orange.
Our meal at The Twisted Frenchman was just about parfait and I wouldn’t hesitate recommending it to others.
128 S Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206