Twisted Fern caters to a variety of tastes
February 23, 2018
It wasn't his explicit plan when he opened the doors of his first restaurant Twisted Fern, but Adam Ross looks back and see he has created a place for "mixed families."
"I think of a mixed family as meaning half of them are vegetarian and vegan, and the other half want a steak or a burger," he said. "And they're all going to be able to find something on our menu, without sacrificing."
Twisted Fern's menu features several vegan dishes, such as the lentil-mushroom burger, curried yam and sorghum tacos, and ratatouille, alongside double-cut pork chops, braised short rib melts, and bacon cheeseburgers. Together, these dishes created the surprising comfort food menu that saddles the line between familiar and new.
Beyond entrees, Adam offers a mix of appetizers (confit wings versus garlic and sesame chickpeas), soups (chicken and chorizo versus caramelized butternut squash) and even desserts (apple crisp with ice cream versus vegan cookie dough.)
Cooking for all variations of the meat-plant-eating spectrum comes naturally to Adam, and stems from his own blended family, with part of his childhood household made up of hunters and fishermen, the other part, vegetarians and vegans. And that helped him recognize a need in Park City.
"I found a niche that wasn't being filled in this town. We have awesome restaurants, but they're very carnivore-centric," he said.
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Although not a strictly vegetarian eatery, the higher proportion of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes sets Twisted Fern apart from other restaurants in the area, according to Meisha Ross, Adam's wife and business partner. A certain pleasure comes from cooking in this growing culinary area.
"I've heard Adam say that cooking vegan, particularly, presents a new challenge," said Meisha. "It's fun for him to explore how to create vegan and vegetarian dishes that are wholesome and hearty, but also meet those dietary restrictions."
Adam accomplishes this by investing in the basics of his food prep.
"I definitely try to let the freshness and wholesomeness of the ingredients to stand out," he said. "I don't use a lot of heavy sauces; I just really like to let it be a steak, or be veggies."
Serving an ingredient-focused menu coincides with a few other values Adam has incorporated in his kitchen.
"I'm probably at 99 percent scratch made," he said. "And it's either organic or all natural when I can get it, and locally sourced when the season permits."
The difference for his diners can be subtle, but important.
"You're used to eating pasta, but this pasta tastes a little different, because it's made with carrot juice instead of just water. I try to through bits of nutrients in when I can," Adam said. "And for locally sourced [ingredients], the carbon footprint is smaller, when you're looking big picture. Money also stays in the local economy, which is a good thing."
The menu is in a constant state of flux as seasons change and ingredients become available or scarce. And Adam challenges himself to use unusual ingredients, such as stinging nettle (yes, that is a weed, but is comparable to mature spinach when cooked), to add to nightly specials or menu items.
The restaurant's name is also a nod to the exploration of creative cooking. The logo and the 'twisted' part of the fern is the fiddlehead, or furled frond of a growing fern.
Adam and Meisha say they've both gotten positive feedback from patron even on the presentation of Twisted Fern's dishes, proving that mixed families all have something in common. Whether a dish is vegan or meat, people approach every dish the same way.
"First thing you do with a dish is you look at it. So if the dish looks sloppy, you automatically assume that it was cooked without any care," Adam said. "As soon as you see the dish, you start judging it."
Twisted Fern is located at 1300 Snow Creek Drive, serving lunch and dinner daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
For more information, menu and reservations, call 435-731-8238 or visit twistedfern.com.
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