Twin Oak Wood Fired Pizza & BBQ - Brentwood, MO
Feels like the first time
A first time visitor to Twin Oak, open since 2011, I was the first hungry patron of the day to arrive on a beautiful, sunny Friday in St. Louis. The restaurant sits on the bustling corner of South Hanley Road and Strassner Drive, offering three parking spots exclusively for their customers; I was fortunate enough to snag one. I noticed a valet stand near the entrance, to accommodate those who aren't able to locate a spot in the small lot, which shares parking with a few other businesses, including a hotel.
Drawn to visit by the promise of wood fired pies, I was excited to see such a comprehensive list of offerings, as well as a build your own pizza option. I sat near a large TV, with a view of the huge 900 degree oven my next meal would soon emerge from.
A bar with tall, wooden-seated chairs neatly lined up like soldiers at the ready, faced a selection of liquor and a TV, to kick back and catch a game.
What'll ya have?
My server, Madison, recommended the lunch special, wherein I could get a smaller pizza, 8" versus the usual 11", accompanied by a salad. A build your own came with the deal, though for a nominal up-charge, I could sub a specialty pizza. I opted for the Caesar salad and Smokin' Rooster pizza, consisting of smoked pulled chicken, caramelized onion, cilantro, smoked Gouda and mozzarella.
The salad arrived shortly, beautifully lightly dressed, with croutons on the side, as requested. The dressing, more oil based than than the characteristically heavier, creamier dressing of most such salads, was divine! A pleasant surprise of soft, lengthy, freshly grated cheese was served on the side and it was a home run, with a pleasant mouth-feel.
Shortly thereafter, the Rooster was set before me and I dug right in.
Component by component, here are my conclusions. The absolute BEST part of my pie was the crust. Light, perfectly cooked, floury, but not overly so, with an evenly, consistently charred bottom (oh, my)!
The chicken was juicy, though the taste was fairly bland. Being smoked chicken, I thought I'd detect a note of smokiness, but between that and the smoked Gouda, I did not. The caramelized onions were tenderly cooked, but the cilantro was just the opposite.
As is typical with any delicate herbs on pizza, such as basil or Italian parsley, I've noticed their tendency to quickly wilt and/or become crisp and dry. This changes not only the flavor, but the texture. I would have much preferred the cilantro to be an after-bake topper, so as to preserve it's beautiful, natural, fresh taste.
The BBQ sauce was cloyingly sweet.
With the sweetness of the dough, the cilantro and the onions, when layered with the sauce, it made for a too sweet combination I couldn't get away from. Used as a base on the dough, versus a typical salty acidic red sauce, the sweet, grocery store bottled-type sauce was sparingly applied, resulting in a kind of lightly gelled skin after being baked. It was disappointing, having expected a smokier, heartier, more flavorful, slow cooked variety of sauce with the word BBQ in the restaurant's title.
You look like a local
I liked seeing local craft beer offerings on the menu, choosing an Urban Chestnut Brewing Company Schnickelfritz draft to pair with my meal. I was intrigued to see a sign on the way out about the chance to win a Perennial Golden Pint, wherein you can enjoy half price Perennial pours for life, exclusively at Twin Oak. I also noticed a small putting green by the door, with the chance to win pizza or golf themed prizes for various prices, with all proceeds benefiting The Backstoppers. I found this to be truly heartwarming!
I'd definitely try Twin Oak again, as there are so many more pizza combinations I'd like to try, though I'm not sure I'd try anything that involves BBQ sauce, for all the aforementioned reasons. Overall, it was a pleasant dining experience. Madison was super friendly, as were the other staff members I saw buzzing around as the lunch hour picked up. Plus, that yummy salad is one that won't be easily forgotten.
What makes Twin Oak special?
- They cook exclusively with Missouri oak
- If you love bread like I love bread, you can order Wood-fired Dough for Dipping; served with fire roasted red pepper & olive tapenade as an appetizer or Dough for Dessert; a sweeter version of their pizza dough, served with honey (next time!)
- An extensive menu offers items just for The Little Ones, Smoked Wings, Beef Brisket, Pulled Chicken and an array of salads and wraps, alongside a list of humorously named pies:
- Sara's Special
- The Jerk
- Gringo "Star"
- When in Rome
- Smokin' Rooster
- Italian Stallion
- Vege Out
- The Mediterranean
- Bleu Buffalo
- Island Time
- The Big Easy
- Bleu Ribbon Pizza
- The Submarine
For social butterflies, Twin Oak has cast a wide social media net, capturing interest on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, as well as an e-mail list sign up via their website.
Twin Oak Wood Fired Pizza & BBQ
1201 Strassner Drive
Brentwood, MO 63144