TWK [The Waterfield Kitchen] feels like a whimsical hideout—with craft cocktails. Curved walls, tucked-away dining nooks, exposed bricks, and even a large tree limb combine for an organic space and a casual intimacy.
Interestingly, the menu skips around the world, from sushi to poutine, that Canadian staple of starch and gravy. But much like the other establishments in the Serenitee Restaurant Group, which includes Opus in Salem and Latitude 43 in Gloucester, each dish offers a unique spin on a classic.
Take the poutine, for example—chef Andrew Tate adds a layer of sophistication to this rustic plate of French fries, brown gravy, and cheese by topping it with duck confit enveloped in spices like anise, allspice, cinnamon, clove, orange zest, and rosemary. While it’s far from health food, call it surprisingly enlightened, topped as it is with pickled red onion and squeaky cheese curds. Insiders advise ordering the poutine at brunch, topped with a fried egg.
Be it brunch, lunch, or dinner, the staff, led by general manager Mohammad Momeni, can recommend spot-on drink pairings, from a novel beer to a hard-to-find wine. Momeni, a native of Iran who grew up in Danvers, draws upon a love of wine and a background in fine dining to assemble a thoughtful list of libations—he and his well-trained staff are happy to offer suggestions and tastes.
Rely on the staff to give expert guidance on the food as well—choosing from such a diverse lineup may require assistance. The Maine mussels are a good choice for a seafood starter, steamed in bone-dry cider enriched with cream, finely diced apple, and smoky chorizo. Sop up the sauce with grilled bread, then use a mussel shell or spoon to enjoy every drop of the intensely flavored, complex broth.
Chef Tate is just as comfortable on the other side of the globe, putting a unique spin on sushi— the Japanese fare is beautifully presented, inventive, and amply spicy. Try the kobe maki—a thin layer of lightly torched gingery beef atop a roll stuffed with tempura shrimp, cucumber, and crab meat—crunchy, salty, slightly sweet, and very pleasing.
For entrées, it’s hard to go wrong with the apple braised Kurobuta pork shank. The tender rich meat, cooked for four to five hours until it’s nearly falling off the bone, is complimented by a side of cabbage braised with bacon, apples, and red wine, plus a purée of butternut squash, potatoes and apples. Or put yourself in Tate’s hands with a choice from the rotisserie of the day, where selections might include anything from wild boar to harissa-marinated leg of lamb, all made crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, thanks to the high heat of rotisserie and constant basting.
Desserts change seasonally—recent offerings included a chocolate lava cake made with organic 67 percent dark chocolate cacao, making it just short of bitter, softened by a blackberry coulis and whipped cream. And a roasted-pumpkin panna cotta topped with a wintery gingersnap cookie packed with cloves and nutmeg made a lasting impression.
TWK has a lively bar scene on the first floor and an intimate second-floor music space. Draped in billowy fabric, it’s the perfect place to hide away for a last cocktail.
Duck Poutine ($15)
Maine Mussels ($14)
Kobe Maki ($20)
Apple Braised Kurobuta Pork Shank ($28)
Daily Rotisserie Special (market)
Roasted Pumpkin Panna Cotta ($9)
Chocolate Lava Cake ($9)
14 Thompson St.