The Collins Touch 3

Twisted Grove Serves Fresh Fare with an Urban Flair

When it comes to opening new restaurants and creating delicious meals to satisfy the tastes and lifestyle of the neighborhood, Chris Collins definitely has the touch and talent. As a fourth generation restaurateur, Chef Chris has proven it’s in the blood.

With a degree in hotel and restaurant management, and experience working at Houston’s and his father’s restaurant, Wally’s American Pub, Chef Chris opened his first Grassroots restaurant in 2011 and second in 2014. This past March, he opened Twisted Grove across from his Grassroots Gainey Ranch location, adding it to the Common Ground Culinary family of restaurants.

Urban, Upbeat Dining

I started my tasting with the most popular item on the menu, the Charred Brussels Sprouts. The presentation of this appetizer will have your mouth watering before you take your first bite. The charred sprouts with candied bacon and slow simmered garlic are amazingly good. You’ll have to try it for yourself, even if you’re not a fan of Brussels sprouts.

I also tasted the Twisted Oysters, which are broiled and topped with creamy spinach, Tasso ham relish and shallot butter—very appealing. Other appetizers include Ocean Mist Artichokes, Pepper-Glazed Goat Cheese, Crab & Avocado Cocktail and a Bruschetta Board.

The Twisted Noodle Salad was a treat, as it has all my favorites—kale, avocado, mango, cucumbers, arugula, scallions, herbs, coconut, cashews and buckwheat soba noodles. It’s served with chili-lime vinaigrette dressing and a choice of shrimp, chicken or steak. A generous portion, but I doubt you’ll want to share.

The Artisanal Sandwiches include Grilled Eggplant, Carlsbad Chicken, Topher’s Tri-Tip, the Arcadia Club and the Crispy Grouper. I sampled the Grouper and loved the crunchy texture of the lightly battered fish, along with the pickled onions, mixed slaw and bits of sweet pickles that add to this flavorful sandwich. As a bonus, the fries are incredible. I love French fries and have them with my ketchup, if you know what I mean. But these fries don’t need ketchup, as they are cooked with garlic oil, sage and thyme, and are sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Warning, they’re addicting.

Of the five stone oven flatbreads, I thoroughly enjoyed the Sausage & Onion, which is made with a “delicious” house made dough, caramelized onions, Italian pork sausage and crispy frisee salad. It’s a winning combination of flavors.

For entrees, a few choices include White Sea Bass, Tuscan Pork Chop, Grilled Filet, Gnocchi & Short Rib and Cavatelli Carbonara. I sampled the chef’s childhood favorite, the Carbonara pasta dish—his mom’s recipe and a wonderful comfort food. Sinfully good and bound to become a favorite of yours, too.

If you have room, add a sweet ending to your meal. I savored the Tres Leches Cake (meaning three milks in Spanish); it was extremely moist and topped with whipped cream and mixed berries. You’ll definitely have to experience it for yourself.

All Occasions

The ambiance of the restaurant is cool, vibrant, casual, refreshing and inviting. Twisted Grove is definitely a place to sit and relax with a cocktail, nibble on a small plate or enjoy a full entrée.

“This is the place you’ll come to several times for different occasions, whether it’s a casual time meeting friends, a business meeting or a night out with your significant other,” shares Chef Chris. “Twisted Grove is a place where you can celebrate a son’s graduation, a daughter’s rehearsal dinner and a grandchild’s christening.”

The Boardroom, which is a private dining room that seats 24 and has two TVs, can be used for small dinners or business meetings. The Gainey Banquet Patio is a private catering venue shared by all the Common Ground Culinary locations. It holds up to 74 people and is a perfect venue for year-round family occasions with its heaters and misters.

The Little Details

Hanging in the restaurant are a few of Chef Chris’s father’s paintings: Reflection of Vietnam is an American Flag that is hung to the left as you enter. A community library is in the lobby, where diners can enjoy taking or leaving a cookbook to glean ideas and recipes to try at home.

I was very intrigued by the wide variety of items on the menu, the wonderful presentation of the dishes, the nice-sized portions and the delicious flavors. You’ll probably find it difficult to select just one item, so I suggest ordering a few for your table so everyone can sample the unique flavors. Chef Chris, along with Houston’s restaurant alumni and friend, Reid Schilling, created this diverse and enticing menu.