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Twist Cafe on M St. in Georgetown


Nadya
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Some restaurants are just like some people.

We’ve all been there.

You are in ninth grade. Or freshman year, it doesn’t really matter. And there’s this guy in your biology class, or soccer club, or macramé practice, it doesn’t really matter. He seems perfect in every way. The way his hair falls across his forehead. The way a tight T-shirt shows off his pecs. The way he smiles and winks at you. The way he volunteers a deep and sensitive comment that seems to sum up your entire life in five words or less. And every girl is dying to go out with him.

Except they never go out with him more than once.

And everyone wonders: if you are so perfect, why are you STILL single?

There are restaurants like that. The look is fetching. The location couldn’t be better. The menu looks intriguing.

Yet they never seem to be, you know, full. Or even mildly populated.

Enter Twist, a strange joint smack in the middle of what is supposed to be a happening and wildly expensive M St. strip of Georgetown real estate. I’ve been peeking in for as long as I can recall, and it always left me with the same feeling: intrigued but slightly disturbed.

Last Sunday, a friend and I sauntered down M St. aiming at Mendocino, only to find out that they don’t do brunch on Sunday, only Saturday. And it seemed like a perfect opportunity to finally address both the intrigue and the disturbance of Twist. In we went.

The décor is actually not bad. There’s lots of sunshine pouring in through the glass front, there’s a guitar player belting out serviceable tunes, there’s lots of neat nooks and crannies with curtains and chotchkes designed to drive home the point that the owners of this place have traveled and seen the world. Interesting corner couches clearly made for necking. Le Harem Lite, if you will.

The menu looks weird. There’s a lunch menu, a “small plates” menu, and a brunch menu with a subsection “sweet stuff”. The language of the menu is what I would call “ambitious”: By that I mean that it makes good use of words like “aioli” and “brochette”. You know. Sophisticated stuff. Yet no lunch/brunch thing is priced over $7.95. Weird.

There are two waiters in the entire joint. One is fronting the bar, and the other is working all the tables. They would look like twins except one has the worst case of saber teeth, not to put too fine a point on it. After about twenty minutes, I get my mimosa. Two points bear mentioning. First, it was not mixed – just layered, so first you get through champagne, and after a third sip or so, it’s straight OJ.

Second, it arrives with a wee pink plastic giraffe cutely perched on the edge of the glass.

(For those who think I’m making this up, I still have the giraffe.)

Intrigued by the menu, I decide to see what their stuff is all about, and order a lamb brochette and a polenta triangles with roasted pepper aioli from the small plates menu, and a mascarpone crepe from the brunchy sweet stuff section.

Lamb brochette arrives as pieces of hard, shoe sole-consistency meat on a skewer fetchingly displayed on a bed of pink rice (can you see the emerging trend here?) with diced tomatoes. (What makes rice blush?) There is, like, zero flavor in the entire plate. Polenta triangle is just that – a brownie-size triangle of something that clearly contains carbohydrates decorated with sweet roasted pepper tendrils just like those that come in $3.49 jar from Safeway.

The sweet stuff plate looks like a third-grader art project. Mascarpone crepe is a pillow-shaped island the size of a baby fist surrounded by puddles of Redi-Whip and Hershey chocolate sauce. Pink and yellow round slices of grapefruit and mango frame the whole business.

Service is clueless with a capital C. Have to ask for forks. Have to ask for knives. Requests for City Paper produce a last-week Georgetowner, so instead of desired movie listings I get to look at ads for a darling $1.2 million townhouse for sale.

Finally, a bill arrives. I give it a required cursory look, and my eyes almost pop out of my cranium and end up on the table in manner of Walt Disney characters. There is a $1,200 glass of ice tea on my check, bringing the total to $1,346.29.

(For those who think I’m making this up, I still have the check.)

Now, I am open to the idea that perhaps somewhere out there, there is a glass of tea worth THAT much. You know, these organically bred varieties based on thousands of years of ancient wisdom, lovingly brought back by horticulturalist Ph.Ds and hand-picked by virgins that can only grow in one mathematically pinpointed acre of land in the middle of Sri Lanka forests when the stars are perfectly aligned. Mike Landrum can probably put it in words better than me.

Except I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what I had.

Both waiters collapse in giggles when I gently point it out. The error is quickly corrected, but the memory still lingers.

We were there for a couple of hours, and there’s never been more than 8 to 10 people in the house. And I’ve never seen them full before. How does this place stay in business, being where they are? How?

My problem with Twist is similar to the problem I have with some people. If you are a clueless crappy-food $4.95 joint, please don’t pretend to be a hippie-chic, smarty-pants, urbane café. Please look and feel like a crappy joint from the start. If you are a skank, please don’t ever act like a nice person. Please act and sound like a skank from the very start. This would save everyone time, effort and these super-expensive brunch checks.

On the other hand, I still have the check and the giraffe. To remind me that sometimes intriguing and weird is just plain weird.

Resident Twizzlebum

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the money is coming from `Fino` which is 3 doors away. that places sucks also please dont go there , it says gourmet Italian cuisine. the owner is a Persian guy and he owns `Fino , Twist and Lazio (which is closed right now located across DEan and Deluca) .

Twist is just a place for tourists who dont have an idea about restaurants or fast food places. You are lucky that you didnt see any rats because `Fino` is all about that. :angry:

Corduroy

General Manager

1122 Ninth Street, NW

Washington DC 20001

www.corduroydc.com

202 589 0699

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You have this gift for finding the most bizzare places, but moreso in writing about them! You should put together something in the way of a 'star map' and call it "Freakin' Bizzare Dining In Our Nation's Capital". That's just a working title, of course. We can hammer out the specifics later. Have your people call my people.

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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Finally, a bill arrives.  I give it a required cursory look, and my eyes almost pop out of my cranium and end up on the table in manner of Walt Disney characters.  There is a $1,200 glass of ice tea on my check, bringing the total to $1,346.29.

:raz::raz::raz:

Hilarious recap, Nadya. Thanks for sharing. I expect to spend some time in Georgetown with my parents this weekend so I'm glad to know one more place to avoid.

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  • 2 months later...
NEWS FLASH!!

Twist is now Fino. A bunch of pasta and Italian sounding dishes have been added to the menu. Everything else looks the same.

Well, I'll see if I can scrape together another $1,200 for a quick bite :raz:

Resident Twizzlebum

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