In our latest adventure, the Food with Friends crew ventured out to the Oak Grove community in West Hattiesburg for dinner at Twisted Skillet.
Since Evan was busy being a comedian that evening, we invited our friend (and Brittany’s boyfriend) Jessie Vasser to join us for the food and good times along with our V.I.P. (Very Important Palate) for the month – the one and only Greg Prine.
I ate at Twisted Skillet for the first time about two years ago with fellow foodie, Jamie Massengale. We went specifically to enjoy their popular salad bar for lunch.
The salad bar is so outstanding that I’ve been back multiples time to have it without looking at the menu at all.
Having only visited for lunch, I was surprised by the different atmosphere when we arrived for dinner.
The restaurant was bustling with people; I noticed families out for dinner, friends catching up, and couples enjoying date night. A few people were seated at the full service bar. The lights were dimmed (but not too much) and candles burned at each table.
We started with a few drinks to kick off the evening. There was a little white wine, a Negroni, and – of course – some whiskey.
Brittany and Jessie asked the server to surprise them with a cocktail and they were very pleased with the Italian margaritas that arrived a few minutes later.
We were soon greeted by the proprietors, Amanda and Sebe Dale, who describe their eatery’s style as “Creole Italian.”
When Sebe was on the brink of retirement a few years ago, he asked Amanda “what she wanted to be when she grew up.”
She replied that she wanted to go back to school. So, off she went to culinary school at age 40 and after a nineteen year career as a paralegal; the Twisted Skillet has been in business since 2016.
After chatting for a bit, Amanda, Sebe, and their team began to bring course after course of dishes that were specially selected for our visit.
Once we saw the amount of appetizers, we realized that we’d need to pace ourselves.
We tried the skillet meatballs, which are simmered with marinara and mozzarella and served in their own little skillet for the table.
These were delicious and we loved the little signature skillet to keep them warm as well as the cheddar entombed bread that comes with them.
Next, we tried their pimento queso dip with pita chips. This is one of two menu items, along with the homemade comeback sauce, that Mr. Sebe prepares, and it does NOT disappoint.
It’s a family favorite of theirs and it was one of our favorites as well. Jamie described the pimento queso as “money in the bank.”
We enjoyed a generous serving of fried crab claws accompanied by the above mentioned homemade comeback sauce, always a favorite of mine.
However, our group really loved the bourbon shrimp appetizer. Large gulf shrimp are fried and drizzled in their homemade bourbon glaze sauce. Even Brittany, who is quite picky about seafood, appreciated these shrimp. Jessie praised the sauce, saying that it would pair well with anything on the menu, sweet or savory.
Before we knew it, it was time for entrees.
Each of the delicious meals that arrived at our table were served with a very special little garlic biscuit. Before I even mention the entrees, I cannot stress how much of a hit this bread was for everyone.
First up: the Fish Orleans, which consists of Mahi Mahi grilled and tossed in a brandy white wine sauce with thin spaghetti. Amanda had been serving this as a special, but it’s popularity has helped it find a place on the regular menu. Next, we tried the Redfish Julie, which received a 2019 Best of the Pine Belt Award for “Best Seafood Dish.” This fine dish is a redfish filet topped with their popular redfish Julie sauce.
We sampled the signature Twisted Skillet lasagna, which is baked in an individual skillet and features pepperoni for a twist. This is a rich and filling dish, and we loved having the cast iron skillet to keep it hot.
Next, we tried the whole soft shell crab salad, which Greg cited as one of his favorite dishes of the night.
One particular dish delighted and surprised everyone at the table: the dazzling Pork Ribeye. Everyone at the table went wild for this dish, a grilled ten ounce butcher block pork ribeye marinated in a bourbon sugar glaze and served with a piping hot baked three cheese mac and cheese.
This is absolutely what I will order when I return to Twisted Skillet, and I cannot wait to have my friends and family try it.
Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another bite, the desserts began to arrive.
We decided to toughen up and make room for the sweets! Desserts for the evening included a beautiful Italian cream cake, my favorite; a Tiramisu cheesecake, their take on a classic tiramisu with an Oreo crust for a twist; and the Twisted Skillet apple pie. The apple pie was served straight out of the oven in one of the signature cast iron skillets and topped with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.
Each dessert was truly delightful.
After dinner, we chatted with the Dales about the atmosphere of the restaurant.
The Dales did the interior work of their space on their own; they installed flooring, put up dividers to section off space, and gave the area a cozy look.
They have added their personal items over the years to the overall décor.
Amanda’s grandmother’s handmade doilies are incorporated into a wall mural, and Sebe’s great-grandmother’s antique Singer sewing machines are on display.
Their hard work has certainly paid off; the combination of the great menu and atmosphere won Twisted Skillet the Best of the Pine Belt Award for Best Intimate Dining in 2018 and 2019.
The Dales have fabulous plans for Valentine’s Day and plan to feature drink specials, lobster and Osso Bucco, and various other dishes.
Reservations are highly encouraged. Call (601) 255-5697.
Twisted Skillet is highly recommended by the Food with Friends team for Valentine’s Day or any day.
Plan your visit today – you will be delighted.