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Dining: The Twisted Cork

The Twisted Cork, an elegant culinary oasis, is tucked amidst the bustling boutiques in the historic district of downtown Grants Pass.

The restaurant serves lunch, dinner and desserts in its warm atmosphere, where colorful paintings punctuate a palette of soft browns, and light music puts a finishing touch on the ambience.

The Twisted Cork is known for its stock of vintages from more than 115 wineries in Oregon, Washington and California. An impressive display holds more than 800 bottles of wine. Sixteen wines are available by the glass on a daily basis.

For those still developing a palate for wine, flights include three to four varietals, providing an opportunity to compare the complexity and style of new wines. Prices range from $12 to $16 for flights.

Sharable plates, along with soups, salads and pasta dishes are served all day. Lunch specialties are served until 4 p.m., and dinner guests are seated until 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The list of 15 appetizers include enough delicious ingredients to make anyone’s mouth water.

Look for warm fig and Brie bites tossed in fresh rosemary and olive oil and served with prosciutto; chorizo-stuffed mushrooms finished with aged balsamic; pear and creamy blue cheese flatbread with walnut pesto, Havarti and a finish of lavender honey, among others.

My friend and I decided to share the basil, leek and corn crab cakes with a champagne citrus beurre blanc — a creamy butter sauce made with champagne and fresh citrus ($13.50). The flavor was light, with a little heat from red-pepper flakes in the sauce.

I chose the Mediterranean turkey sandwich on multigrain bread ($12.50) from the lunch menu. Havarti, cucumbers, tomato, romaine lettuce, Kalamata olives and red onion topped the sliced turkey breast dressed with aioli. The sandwich came with a side of crispy potato chips drizzled with melted blue-cheese sauce — a combination that was unbelievably delicious and addictive.

My friend chose the Cork burger. The meat was a mixture of ground chuck, brisket and short ribs shaped into a patty and served on a brioche bun with a spicy sauce, pea shoots, onion jam, tomato, arugula and blue cheese ($14). It also was served with the potato chips and melted blue cheese.

The chips and cheese precluded anything from the dessert menu, appropriately called Decadent Endings.

It listed delicious-sounding items, including créme brulee; Aztec chocolate bark (semisweet chocolate with pepitas (sunflower seeds), cayenne and cinnamon; warm Brie with cranberry compote; fig chutney topped with fresh pear and balsamic, and a flight of three ports with an accoutrement of Aztec chocolate bark. Prices range from $3.50 for house-made sorbet to $9 for the port flight.

After 4 p.m., the dinner menu offers rib-eye and flank steaks, prime rib (Friday and Saturday only), lamb, fish, scallops, clams and more.

The 12-ounce rib-eye can be grilled to order and customized with smoked chili butter; blue-cheese crusted with a cherry reduction; or basil chimichurri. It’s served with sautéed vegetables and a choice of grilled polenta, rice pilaf, twisted potatoes or garlic mashed potatoes.

Prices range from $17 to $29. Dinner salads, Caesar salads and soups can be added to dinners for an extra $3 to $5.50.

The Twisted Cork offers winemakers’ dinners monthly to focus on varietals from particular wineries.

Three-hour parking is available outside the restaurant, at 210 S.W. Sixth St. Doors open at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 541-295-3094 for reservations and the winemakers’ dinners pricing.

No minors are allowed inside The Twisted Cork. Some tables are available in front of the restaurant for dining during warmer months.

Cheryl Pearson is a freelance writer who lives in Central Point. Reach her at cpearson4513@outlook.com.

Editor’s note: The Twisted Cork reopened Wednesday, Jan. 2, after closing for the holidays. Some menu items listed here may not be available.

A Mediterranean-style turkey sandwich on multigrain bread with Havarti, cucumbers, tomato, romaine lettuce, Kalamata olives and red onion, and served with a side of crispy potato chips drizzled with melted blue-cheese sauce at The Twisted Cork in Grants Pass. Photo by Cheryl Pearson