Best Bite: Olive or Twist in Berwyn

I dream of potato-wrapped prawns

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By David Hammond

Olive or Twist is a bar in Berwyn that’s been around for five years or so. 

Recently, Robert Nava, the man behind Depot American Diner, opened up a restaurant in an adjoining space now connected with the bar. In what is probably an unintentional theme of Nava’s, OT is located right across the street from the Berwyn depot.

At this new place, Nava is going for something a little more sophisticated than he attempted at Depot American Diner, where the quality of traditional American diner chow has been recognized by media sources such as “Check, Please!” and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

We were sucker punched right out of the gate with the prawn starter [pictured]: wrapped in fine potato filaments (some of them seeming to mimic crustacean antennae – love it!), the little guys rest in a mustard-lemon sauce with spinach and slivers of artichoke. This is a fabulous dish, not overworked yet finely wrought, beautiful to look at, brilliant colors and a concerto of flavors that play well together and provide textures of soft yet firm seafood meat, crisp potato, leafy greens. Clearly, this new place is giving Nava the license to flex his fine-dining muscles, which he had to restrain somewhat at Depot American Diner.

Sitting at the bar, I spotted Nava headed out and corralled him for what turned out to be a very pleasant discussion of the importance of simplicity in cooking, European v. American food treatments, the cool food themes in “Good Fellas,” and a lot of other stuff of mutual interest. I’ve always liked this guy and last night confirmed those good vibes.

There are many delicious and intriguing items on Nava’s evolving menu, but the best bite, for me, were the potato-wrapped prawns. I’m still thinking about them.

There is no doubt much "undiscovered" deliciousness in our area. Do you have a favorite place or a best bite you'd like the world to know about? Post about it here and I'll try to stop by to see what I think.

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