Tucked away in The DeLand Hotel at 442 E. New York Ave. is a creative take on traditional Japanese cuisine.
The Twisted Chopstick has been in its current location since November 2017, having moved from DaVinci Design Studios on West Howry Avenue, where the restaurant had first opened in March 2016, after a successful run as part of the Artisan Alley Friday-night Farmers Market.
Jeoffrey Curtis, owner and chef of The Twisted Chopstick, took an unconventional but modern route to his current successful role.
Jeoffrey has been cooking for more than 11 years; he learned the basics of Japanese cooking from his first mentor, his mother, Julita Curtis.
Curtis took an interest in sushi and trained at a renowned restaurant in the Orlando area while also reading and watching anything he could about the art on the online video platform YouTube.
“The idea to start my own business happened when I started telling friends online to come by the apartment for ‘Sushi Saturdays,’ where I would play with different sushi rolls, ideas, and let them try my cuisine out,” Curtis said.
Good times and fun turned a dream into a reality as, one night, they were trying to think of a name for his business. The friends saw a pair of chopsticks that looked intertwined, and The Twisted Chopstick was born. A red dragon was added to the logo by graphics designer Herbert Zischkau.
Recently, I found myself out back of The DeLand Hotel, hungrily moseying down a garden pathway, where string lights and decorative balloons hang over The Twisted Chopstick’s covered patio. Patrons were happily dining there in the fall air.
Entering the low-lighted lounge, you see Curtis or his comrades rolling sushi at the bar counter. The main dining room is in back, where a Japanese-style mural with dragons and sushi rolls tattoos the whole wall. A showcase of local art and mellow music finishes off the ambience.
I took a seat at the sushi bar as Curtis put finishing touches on some specialty rolls like an artist finishing a painting.
A glance at the menu let me know there was a wide variety of options, including 19 specialty rolls, sushi doughnuts, basic rolls, nigiri and sashimi, poke bowls, sushi burritos, ramen, appetizers and specialty beverages.
I ordered the Shogun Roll: snow crab, spicy tuna and scallions, topped with tuna, togarashi, sriracha, and black and red roe.
The roll was gorgeous, with a lot of color variation, and exciting and fresh flavors and textures throughout.
I dipped my roll in some of Twisted Chopstick’s housemade sauces, including the kobachi, a light soy-and-lime concoction, and my favorite, wasabi honey, a spicy and sweet-style mayo that heightened the experience.
Next, I tried the Tonkotsu Ramen, with slow-simmered pork broth, kombu and dashi stock, topped with chashu pork, ramen egg and scallions.
“We source our pork bones locally for our broth,” Curtis said.
The broth and pork were savory, the noodles thick and rich, and the dish as a whole exceptional. Many would consider it the best hangover food on Earth.
The Twisted Chopstick offers a Bento Box deal 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on weekdays for $10. The restaurant is closed Tuesdays.
The Twisted Chopstick has a variety of sake, bottled beers, wines, and specialty concoctions of wine-based spirits.
The restaurant offers delivery, catering and takeout, along with a very relaxing dine-in experience.
The Twisted Chopstick is flavorful and creative, and sure to make the Japanese food enthusiast want to come back again.