Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Getting it straight at The Twisted Tail

Bartender George Reilly is about two weeks from opening his bourbon-and-blues joint.

Getting it straight at The Twisted Tail


Lots, lots going on in George Reilly's world.

The English-born former Parc bartender and his fiancee, Laura Catlaw, are getting ready for their wedding this Saturday (July 16), which dovetails nicely in the stress department with the opening two weeks later of The Twisted Tail, a bourbon and blues restaurant on Head House Square (Second Street, above South).

Reilly and crew have gutted -- and I mean gutted -- the former Kildare's, saving little more than a single ice machine in the kitchen that Reilly ended up rebuilding anyway.

Reilly's designer went for rustic, adding new wooden floors and a distressed-look bar downstairs. Upstairs is wild: a dedicated stage for musicians, a long bar, and a sweet little living room with two fireplaces, TVs and a shuffleboard table.

Back to the stage: Aside from the house band, guest musicians will be allowed to jam, and can avail themselves of house instruments hanging on the wall. (Reilly is a blues guitarist.)

Chef Michael Stevenson (ex-Paradigm, Moshulu) is on board to do a Southern grill menu (even the oysters, served with pickled watermelon chowchow, grilled and salted lemon and smoky habanero cocktail sauce). He also will make "dueling ribs" (with St. Louis-style spareribs, Asian-inspired Wauxe ribs and Pacu-grilled fish ribs accompanied by signature house sauces); Kurobuta pork saddle with kettle-cooked black beans, silver queen corn cake and organic honeycomb butter; kettle chip-crusted crab cake with applewood-smoked bacon and corn ragout, smoked tomato jam and Old Bay aioli; "twisted" black cod with stone-ground cornmeal, citrus pepper, “wicked” greens and agave pale ale; and vegetable shepherd’p Pie with roasted wild mushrooms, caramelized cippolini onions, new carrots, baby peas, sage, potato puree and aged Asiago cheese.

Apps, $8 to $12; entrees will be $18 to $30, and Stevenson will offer a sharable menu of “Five-Spot” Small Plates, for $5.

So back to Reilly and Catlaw. They met while performing in Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge at the Bristol Riverside Theatre. Their first encounter was one night after rehearsal when Laura’s car broke down and George offered her a ride home. They have been dating for four years, and within the first few dates George told Laura he dreamed of opening a restaurant.



Reilly and Stevenson in the kitchen.

Staff Writer
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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

Michael Klein Staff Writer
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