The Twisted Frenchman the crème de la crème when it comes to posh dining, artful presentation
The Twisted Frenchman is keeping the posh dining experience alive.
Service at this East Liberty restaurant is attentive, the dishes are elegantly presented, and there is no detail left unturned.
Dining here is an experience. The space is minimal and intimate, seating fewer than 50 people, which serves as a backdrop to artistically crafted dishes and cooking techniques presented by chef Andrew Garbarino.
Start your meal off with one of the house cocktails or wines by the glass or bottle.
Cocktails range from $10 to $13. The house-named Frenchman is made with Tito’s vodka, green chartreuse, lemon and St. Germain, served in a martini glass and topped with liquid nitrogen. It arrives at your table with fog smoldering from the rim. Just be sure to let it completely disappear before you take a sip.
My favorite course of any restaurant offering is the bread service. Here, warm slices of French baguette from Lawrenceville’s La Gourmandine come wrapped in a cloth napkin and served in a cigar box for presentation. A delicate round of butter is topped with coarse salt and herbs. You will want to eat all of the bread and then some.
For an excellent starter, try the traditional foie gras served on nut-buttered brioche topped with a sweet onion marmalade.
Pheasant consomme also arrives to your table in a stunning presentation. The delicate soup with chunks of vegetables, tender confit duck and slices of thin black truffles are served in a bowl topped with a rich and buttery puffed pastry. Think chicken, pot-pie style. As the dish is carried to your table, it will be smoking, as there is a small stack of smoldering hay on the side. Chef Garbarino’s purpose for this is to evoke a childhood memory of his, growing up in Western Pennsylvania.
Another standout is the risotto tasting, which is all about showcasing one ingredient in a variety of ways and textures. Sweet-pea risotto is traditionally prepared with firm, yet tender, rice. A crisp fried arancini rice ball made with smoky bacon and creamy cheese is placed on top. The dish is then topped with crisp puffed garlic rice (think puffed rice cereal but so much better).
If you’re looking for a lighter option as a starter, the beets are hands-down delicious and delightful. I call this dish a study of beets, as it includes a variety of roasted, pickled and fresh beets, beet chips, beet powder and creamy goat cheese mousse. Delicate rolls of cucumber slices also adorn the dish and serve as vases for tiny, beautiful edible flowers. The creativity in the presentation of this dish is of the highest quality and truly appreciated.
Starters have just the right proportions anticipating the main course arrivals.
Entrees include a vegetarian cassoulet that can be made vegan, as well as lamb chops, steak and chicken.
I opted for the Scottish salmon served over braised leeks, a creamy potato puree and finished with a side of Bearnaise sauce, a traditional French sauce made with butter, egg yolks, vinegar and herbs. This dish was garnished with the lightest dusting of lavender powder. The salmon had a crispy skin and was flaky and moist, an all-around solid dish.
My friend ordered the duck, which included an ample amount of tender sliced duck, parsnip puree, crispy root chips, confit sweet potatoes and roasted grapes for sweetness. If you are a fan of duck, it’s a definite must-order. Like everything presented before it, the dish was a work of art.
Whether you order dessert or not, decadent chocolate truffles arrive along with your check in a delicate envelope stamped “The Twisted Frenchman.”
From the white tablecloths and elegantly dressed wait staff to the artfully presented dishes and theatrical details, dining at The Twisted Frenchman is a singular experience. It’s definitely worthy of your next special occasion.