The Spot: Twisted Grove
8220 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale
The Hours: Happy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m. daily and is offered throughout the restaurant.
Perfect For: Getting together with your parents, particularly if you prefer to do that with a stiff drink in your hand.
The Interior: Though you might feel dwarfed by the cavernous space at Twisted Grove, the friendly staff and a comfy booths will put you at ease immediately. The restaurant attempts Americana “with a twist,” and pulls it off nicely; oil can lanterns hang above wood block tables, while funky artwork, red pepper mills, and cans of Old Bay create splashes of color. American flags peek out from around the room like a Where’s Waldo activity, and a toile accent wall is the perfect backdrop when your mom insists you take a family photo. Fans of Hillstone will appreciate that Twisted Grove takes a clean and classic approach, all the while remaining far more, um, approachable.
The Food: We ordered the fresh shucked oysters ($3 for 2) because, well, “When in Rome...” They were fresh and tasty (if you like that sort of thing), served with both cocktail sauce and a mignonette, which is sort of a spiced vinegar sauce. The latter was inspired, and might be enough to bring your oyster-doubting friend over to the other side. The bruschetta board was pretty good (pick three for $8, normally $12), though we thought the heap of mixed greens atop each was too distracting. The fish tacos ($6) were our best decision of the night, if you don’t count cocktails.
Things we didn't eat but wanted to included hummus with chips and cucumbers ($4), a grilled cheese board ($5) and tri-tip sliders ($7).
The Drinks: It would be hard to overstate how good the cocktails are at Twisted Grove. We ordered a Fleur de Lis: Grey Goose Le Poire, St. Germain, sparkling rosé and a squeeze of grapefruit, garnished with a basil sprig. It was, for lack of a better word, ridiculous. The Sweet & Spicy, a margarita that's served with a jalapeño and a cayenne salt/sugar rim, is a revelation. Warning: The $6 price of signature cocktails during happy hour (normally $9 each) could lead to a very boozy afternoon.
Other happy hour perks include $4 draft brews, $5 “1st shelf booze,” $7 wines by the glass and $6 shandies — a clever addition to an already great bar menu.
Conclusion: The crowd at Twisted Grove is older — like, Sex and the City older, not Golden Girls older — but that only serves to lend the place some credibility. Twisted Grove doesn’t feel like a flash in the pan; though it’s only been open since March, the restaurant feels like a well-established spot that you hope will be around for years to come.
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Don’t Miss: The Sweet & Spicy.
Skip This: Driving yourself home. We promise the cocktails will be well worth the Uber.