Baltimore Sun

Shallow Thought Wednesday: Twist and Spurn

Shallow Thought Wednesday cowboy John Lindner moseyed on over to a horsey-themed restaurant in Howard County. His take: to heck with the place and the horse it rode in on. Here's John. LV

"Cordial and friendly staff will treat you with casual respect."
Whoa. The line in the menu caused me to yank back my brain reins, shift in my metaphysical saddle and squint into the linguistic horizon. Casual respect?
Then our server corralled a chair and hunkered down at our table. Ah, casual respect. I get it.
Opened recently in a nail-salon-anchored stripper done up to look like a hive of insurance offices in historic Highland (or Clarksville) at the corner of 216 and 108 out in Howard County, Twist and Turn tries to evoke Maryland horse country and it does a fair job of looking like it tries to evoke Maryland horse country. You got your horse-related pictures and your Preakness shrimp salad. The plan is simple: Trot out standard tavern fare. Saddle a few items with themey sounding names. (Wrangler Roy's Ho-hum Grilled Chicken.*) How could that not work?


Well, with a little energy and pinch of tongue between the cheek and gum, it might have. But the theme nag T&T rode in on dragged a buckboard full of blues to boot. (An aside: I recall rock music, and not country-western, churning through the sound system. Not that I wasn’t grateful, but, for horse country, isn’t that odd?)

I ordered the bison burger (12 buckaroos). Rare. It arrived well done with room temperature fries. I showed the buffalo puck to the server. It went back. A while later, I got a fresh new well done bison burger. Step up: The fries were hot. I ate half the burger and took the remainder home and fed it to the dog, who




The quesadillas one of my dining pardners ordered were flat in every respect. My other pardner ordered a well done bison and got it, along with the mayo he had emphatically declined.

At one point my drink ran out … and kept staying run out. I tired of waiting and moseyed up to the bar just as its tender disappeared. Dawdled there for a spell. (This was around 1 o’clock. Maybe 8 customers, max, in the place.) Finally I left the glass on the bar and returned to our table muttering “casual respect.”

This was my one and most likely only lunch at Twist & Turn. Granted, maybe we showed up on a bad day. But if T&T’s food and service remain consistent with its perfunctory thematic façade, about the best I can say is, for the casually famished, I reckon it’ll do. But for the foodie, it just plumb pulls up lame.

*I made that up.

Photo by Roger Kirby courtesy