Restaurant Review: The Twisted Noodle
CHEF LeBEAU, MARY JO AND LOUIE
photo by Richard Watherwax
Shhh. Just between us, there’s a delectable new Italian restaurant in town. It’s only a matter of time until the tourists find it; they always find the best places, eventually— but for now, The Twisted Noodle is a locals-friendly Italian family eatery that feels like downtown without the inflated downtown prices and infuriating downtown parking.
Like the bitch she was, Hurricane Wilma wiped out proprietors Louie and Mary Jo Condo’s previous restaurant, Capt. Bob’s. Instead of giving up, however, Mary Jo (the brains of the operation) saw an opportunity to start fresh and rebuild with something completely different. And they did it right.
The Twisted Noodle is located in the same building on the boulevard across from the Yacht Club. And the place is gorgeous with a strategically planned layout to accommodate intimate dinners or larger parties. And the beautiful new bar, which looks out over the water, is fast becoming a popular locals’ Happy Hour hangout. And no wonder. Happy Hour is 2-6 with two-for-one well drinks, draft beer, margaritas and Absolute martinis.
Even better, the goal of everybody from the greeter to the owners is apparently to make patrons feel like a million bucks. The Condos must treat their employees well because it seems they’ve attracted the best in the industry.
Louie and Mary Jo feel lucky to have plucked Executive Chef Coy LeBeau, directly out of Louie’s Backyard. Coy has loads of amazing experience all over the country and completed his formal culinary studies at Ecole de Gastronomie Francaise in Paris, France.
On a completely irrelevant note, Coy is adorable and personable. His look is sort-of Willy Wonka meets Jack Black. When you see him, you’ll want to pinch his happy cheeks, until you taste his culinary magic— then you’ll want to kiss him on the lips. Hard.
I had a hard time narrowing the menu options— although, perhaps, the martini contributed to my indecision. With the helpful guidance of the English subtitles, our patient, knowledgeable server, and my refined boyfriend, I decided on the Gnocchi, a traditional potato pasta with crab meat, a la vodka. Bobby had Tortellini Porcini, classic shape stuffed with porcini, champignon and shitake mushrooms, ricotta and grana padano cheeses, and a rich truffled mushroom broth. They sound, look, and taste like $40 plates, but you can feast on these and several other Italian Specialties from $12-$20!
You may not have any room left in your big Italian belly, but you’ll certainly have money left to try one of the famous Cheesecake Factory specialty cheesecakes. Yeah, that’s right, now we can get real Cheesecake Factory cheesecake by the slice, right here on the island at Twisted Noodle, open 7 days at 11 a.m., 2200 N. Roosevelt Blvd. 294-6433. All major credit cards accepted. Lots of free parking.