Review: Twisted Tree

Set near a modern-day maze of highways in Sunset Hills, the new Twisted Tree is a throwback to the old-style steakhouse. We noticed the anomaly instantly. It’s located in front of a Holiday Inn, but serves premium steaks; the decor is somewhat homey, but the service is highly polished. Don’t be fooled: this place offers darn good food at equally good prices.

Built on the site of the old Viking Lodge and Restaurant, it’s a joint venture between the Syberg folks (of Helen Fitzgerald’s) and restaurateur Al Abbadessa and son Michael of Pear Tree (a onetime spot in Macon County, Missouri, known for excellent food). Several of the specialties—and some of the customs—have been carried over here.

The family-style salad served with main courses is one example. A bowl of fresh greens, red onions and cucumbers is placed on the table, along with the old-style stainless dressing dish that turns so you can help yourself to French or house dressing (sweet, creamy onion), and to crumbled bleu cheese. There’s also ‘garlic croutons,’ which diners of a certain age will remember as oil-infused crunchers widely served with Italian salads.

Do not pass up the Batter Dipped Prawns here; they come as a starter ($10) or a dinner ($24). The battering is excellent, a kind of light, deliciously crisped tempura. It comes on the lobster tail as well. Ten bucks for two prawns may seem high, but the crustaceans are large and worth it.

Steak is king here, and they are very proud of their aging process. Our server (every single employee who waited on us was top-notch) explained that the meats come from Iowa purveyor Creekstone and are house- aged. My Roasted Aged Prime Rib ($26 for 6 oz.) was superb: great flavor, done correctly and not overly fatty. It comes to the table with the classic, light au jus gravy. There is a guide on the menu to help you determine how to order your meat. Entrees also come with a choice of side, which can be anything from deep-fried potatoes with onions to grilled asparagus. You also get a ‘bag’ of hot bread, a nice touch that translates to a small paper bag with a warm mini French loaf.

Of course there are other foods besides steak: a couple of chicken dishes, sole and salmon, and some specials on a chalkboard displayed on the wall. Our Red Snapper ($32) was excellent, served on a bed of smoky mashed cauliflower made with ‘pinot grigio butter.’ The fish was fresh and well-seasoned with herbs.

Another don’t-miss dish, which can be added to any entree for $20, is the Batter Dipped Lobster Tail. It’s a good size, about 6 oz., all meat and delicious crust. It comes with melted butter and is the stuff of dreams.

amuse bouche
the scene | Prime steakhouse with a retro vibe
the chef | Tyler Layton
the prices | $6-$17 starters, $26-$49 steaks, $19-$55 entreestable-twisted-tree_layton_12
the favorites | Batter Dipped Lobster Tail, Aged Prime Rib, Batter Dipped Prawns

chef chat
pedigree |
Worked at Citizen Kane’s, Lumiere Place and many years at Trattoria Marcella
favorite ingredient | Cooking sherry
favorite St. Louis restaurant | Cafe Mochi
favorite cookbook | Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio
most memorable dining experience | When my wife and I ate at Quartino in Chicago. We had a six-course meal that started at midnight.
guilty pleasure food | Prosciutto

10701 watson road | 314.394.3366
Photos: Bill Barrett