It’s Lent season in Cleveland, and we all know what that means—fish fries and pancake breakfasts. And 40 days of sandwiches (or as close as I can get to it). Twisted Taino has been advertising on All Things Food in Cleveland. My friend S. ate here recently and raved about the Cubano. So when they posted two photos of their fish that are only available on Fridays during Lent I knew we had to go. Twisted Taino originally opened in Ohio City, but recently moved to Parma.
I figured all of the Ukrainian fish fries would be packed, so this was a good first choice. It’s located down the street from Das Schnitzel Haus – directly across from Chuppa’s Market – in an old Lawson’s location. One of my friends got there early and grabbed a table for us. There were six of us, but there are only five tables inside. They have a patio set up outside that looks promising for nicer weather. We stood in line to place our order and were given a little buzzer that went off when it was ready.
My friend K. ordered the Escabeche Fish Fry, and it was finished first. Escabeche consists of marinated fish, meat or vegetables, cooked in an acidic sauce (usually with vinegar), and colored with paprika, citrus, and other spices. This version featured king fish on a bed of (cerviche-like) seafood salad topped with pickled onions served with coconut shrimp & tostones. She used to live in Japan and loves the pickledness of the fish. She makes it herself, so was looking forward to it. She enjoyed it a lot, particularly the coconut shrimp. She lamented that it wasn’t on the regular menu. I tried a bite of the fish and seafood salad and enjoyed both of them. The fish was very dense and heavy, but the pickling made it a little lighter.
I ordered the Chillo Frito (Caribbean Red Snapper). This thing was a thing of beauty. It was so large it filled a whole foil container that is usually used for family-sized mac n cheese or something like that. The fish was fried perfectly. I carefully opened it up at the filet line and removed the backbone and just pulled the meat off with my hands. I only had a few tiny bones, but for the most part, they lifted clean out with the backbone. I comes with a side salad with a lovely dressing and ordered the arroz mampostea’ (Puerto Rican dish of rice and stewed red beans, sweet plantains, and bacon – a vegan version is also available) as my side dish. I almost ordered the yuca fries, but the arroz was calling me. It was delicious. My friend D. finished his snapper, but I ended up taking it home to eat as leftovers.
I have to rave about the beverages as well – not something I usually do. I tend to be really thirsty when I’m out to dinner. Drinking a couple glasses of water is normal for me, because I don’t drink enough fluids during the day. Well, that is not a problem here. I was able to order a 32 oz. ginger ale and a 32 oz. passionfruit lemonade. They were the perfect amount of liquid for me – and the passionfruit lemonade was divine!! Twisted Taino is very proud of its lemonades, frappes, and frappucinos. There offer five lemonades in a 32 oz “tub” in original lemonade, tamarind, strawberry, mango, and passionfruit. The frappes (but not the toppings) are lactose- and gluten-free and completely over the top with cookies and other toppings.
One of my friends ordered the Beef Empanada Trio and enjoyed it (photo missing one of the empanadas and picturing one of the tostones). Her partner enjoyed the escabeche. One of my other friends ordered the pork tacos (pernil) and a pound of seafood salad (which she took home with her). I think she will be going back regularly for it. I can’t wait to go back and try one of the many Mofongo choices.
5633 Pearl Road
Parma, OH 44129