Twin Peaks: interesting experience, so-so food

Go for the “scenic views” and PG-rated spectacle, not the eats.

07/27/2011 11:56 AM

07/27/2011 11:56 AM

REVIEW
Twin Peaks
Two forks out of four
Where: 8310 E. 21st St., 316-440-5533
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays through Wednesdays; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays
Type of food: American comfort food
Alcohol: Full bar
Website: www.twinpeaksrestaurant.com

Twin Peaks promises “eats, drinks and scenic views.”

But few people are really going for the eats, I suspect.

Wichita’s newest “breastaurant” (in the spirit of Hooters) has been packing in curious crowds since it opened in May in the former Timberline building at 21st and Rock Road. The views certainly are scenic.

First, there are the waitresses, flitting about the dining room in identical push-up tops, barely-there shorts, tall socks and snow boots (it’s like Hooters of the Alpine).

Then there are the diners gawking at the waitresses, mouths agape, barely bothering to pretend otherwise. The less apologetic can be seen having their pictures taken surrounded by miles and miles of midriff, holding a pair of antler horns. Go to Twin Peaks for the PG-13 spectacle alone. But I can’t recommend going for the food.

ON THE MENU: The menu sounds good, consisting of a mix of nachos, wings and comfort foods such as chicken-fried steak, meat loaf and pot roast. It also includes salads, burgers and a few surprises such as fish tacos.

DON’T-MISS DISHES: Most dishes we sampled tasted straight-from-the-bag or excessively salted.

We started off poorly with a sampler platter of appetizers ($16.50), which featured a huge serving of breaded and fried pickles and jalapenos, chips with queso and salsa, mozzarella sticks and a few Buffalo chicken tenders.

The breading on the pickles and jalapenos was salty enough to make your mouth hurt after a few bites, and the chicken tenders suffered from a similar problem. The salsa was warm, and the queso was separating. The mozzarella sticks were twice the length and width of a normal mozzarella stick and were easily the most recommendable component of the plate.

One of Twin Peaks’ gimmicks is supersizing some of its dishes. The mozzarella sticks are an example, and I watched a plate of nachos pass by that was piled 6 inches off the plate.

So we had to try the Twin Peaks’ most buzzed-about supersized dish — a chicken-fried steak that’s easily a foot and a half long ($11.75), both ends falling off the edges of the plate, with its side dishes (mashed potatoes and green beans) stashed underneath it.

Unfortunately, the steak’s size was its most impressive quality. It came out of the kitchen lukewarm, the meat was tough, and the breading also suffered the salt curse.

(The green beans it was served with, in fairness, were good — surprisingly crisp and fresh. The mashed potatoes were fine, too.)

The best dish we tried was the rib-eye pot roast ($13.25), which featured a nice serving of tender, falling-apart meat. But its gravy tasted as though it came from a mix — a very salty mix. It also was served with mashed potatoes and green beans.

AMBIENCE: In addition to the “scenic” ambience described above, the dining room itself is quite attractive. It’s been remodeled with an Alpine lodge feel, with a tiled floor, exposed-wood beams and mountain lodge decor (though we could have done without the possum hanging from its tail).

The dining room also features an extra-large U-shaped bar and a mix of tall tables and booths.

PRICE RANGE: Entrees are $10.25 to $16.50. Appetizers average about $7.50. Burgers and sandwiches average about $8.50.

SERVICE: Our service was very good. Our waitress was extra friendly. Actually, it appeared that most waitresses were extra friendly, some even sitting down briefly to chat with customers. A manager checked on us a couple of times, too, and gave us the benefit of the doubt on a bill mix-up.

Ratings reflect the critic’s judgment of the food, service and atmosphere in relation to the price.

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