|Chef Dan Virola with Mahi Mahi|
Servers Jerome and Andrea were enthusiastic in assisting my dining partner and I in choosing a memorable assortment of dishes.
With a name like Twisted Vine Bistro, you know the wines will be a good selection, and we were well pleased with the whites and reds we paired with our choices. The wine prices range from $6 to around $13 for a generous pour.
The appetizers range from $5 to $10, and are refreshingly unique, not the usual choices, with goodies like Guava glazed pork rib tips, yucca fries, and crispy jumbo shrimp with a carrot-ginger reduction.
We started with the $10 Tuna tar tar. Fried lattice potatoes alternate layers with a generous portion of tuna in an attractive vertical presentation.
Chef Dan has taken a commonly found tuna theme, enhanced it, and made it a tasty and beautiful presentation at a superb price. I recommend this appetizer!
Debbie also appreciated the black cloth napkins. Why? When you stand up, it doesn’t show a collection of stains and food on it as easily as a white napkin. Black napkins cover many sins!
Pan seared sockeye salmon ($20) is glazed with hoisin- brown sugar, served with wasabi whipped potatoes, steamed broccolini (admirably served still a touch crunchy) and a pineapple and lemongrass broth.
For a main course, the two 3-4 ounce filets of beef ($25) wrapped with applewood cured bacon are a home run. Our order was served medium rare, as ordered.
Other diners told us they were very pleased with the $19 Grilled fourteen ounce pork porterhouse, served with a cheddar potato cake, and pineapple, apple and mango curried chutney, topped with sautéed spinach and micro spinach and micro arugula.
Chef Dan’s Stuffed diver scallops from Portland, Maine ($24) are stuffed with prosciutto and basil, with a sauté of black forbidden rice, lump crab, garlic fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley and basil.
The Sake Steamed Sea Bass ($24) comes with jasmine rice, spicy Asian stir-fry & steamed Bok Choy.
Portions are large, fresh, and creatively spiced and presented.
Musician Patrick Jerome offers his amplified acoustic guitar and vocals at a comfortable volume-easy to talk to a companion or to concentrate on his music.
The portion sizes let you save room for dessert. The ($8) White chocolate vanilla bread pudding is ”to die for!” The bread pudding is made with croissants, not bread. Add cream, eggs and you’ve got the components of a crème brulee. Mix in chunks of white chocolate, and a layer of white chocolate on top. Mmmm! Bread pudding was never this delicious.
We really enjoy the relaxing ambiance, with low light, warm woods, very good music, and a good crowd of friendly people. Food is high quality, very attractively presented. It’s a great place for drinks or dinner. Chef Dan has been creating 4 gourmet course dinners paired with wine for $49. Proteins include lamb, duck, and diver scallops. It’s offered every 4th Sunday of the month. I’ve seen the menus-wow. Sign up early-the wine dinners sell out fast! There’s no local competition around for his wine dinner quality and price. People come up from Marco Island and down from Punta Gorda for each wine dinner.
Bonus-Go to Fort Myers’ Art Walk the first Friday of each month. Enjoy local music on the third Saturday of each month, and pop into Twisted Vine for apps or a dinner. The “buzz on the street” is out- Twisted Vine is a fort Myers' hot spot!
2214 Bay St., Fort Myers, 226-1687, www.twistedvinebistro.com