Twin Peaks raises the bra … er, bar

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Much has been said about the breastraunt wars on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Houma. On one side of the street, you’ve got longtime mainstay Hooters. A snowball’s throw away, Twin Peaks has upped the stakes.

With man-sized meals, 29-degree draft beer and a surprisingly family-friendly feel, there’s no question the lodge-style restaurant is a true contender.

On a recent visit, you’re immediately transported to a northern ski lodge, complete with wooden tables and branch-like stools, ski gear and moose heads. That’s quite a change from the 90-plus degree temps just outside Twin Peaks’ double doors. It was a busy Friday, so we were temporarily seated on the outdoor covered patio. The expansive space includes several comfortable seating areas, a big fireplace (which should be fun when the temperatures finally do drop) and an outdoor bar.

In no time, we were relocated to a table inside, and that’s when the fun kicked up a notch. Our waitress Jenna, a friendly Houma gal, talked us through the menu and continued to pop in throughout the evening to make sure drinks remained full and that everyone was enjoying their meal.

Our meal began with a Fried Pickle Basket ($5.75). With just enough batter surrounding the pickle and a tad of seasoning, they were a perfect start.

Our group almost went with a plate of BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos ($7.75), until we saw a neighboring table receive theirs, that is. A huge – really HUGE – stack of nachos, cheese, pork, smokehouse pico and chipotle sour cream, the platter is more than a trio can handle. The folks who tackled the menu “teaser” admitted that it was filling … almost too filling in advance of their meal.

For dinner, my guests enjoyed the Steak Sliders ($9.75) and Shrimp and Chicken Basket ($11.75).

The sliders included four mini braised beef sandwiches topped with au jus and a mayonnaise/horseradish cream. The basket, meanwhile, can be fried, basked or grilled. My guest opted to have the chicken strips and jumbo shrimp fried, and wasn’t disappointed.

Both dishes are served with Twin Peaks’ Fire Fries – seasoned crispy steak fries. Both earned two thumbs up.

The sliders are piled high with tender beef and grilled onions. The French bread is lightly buttered and toasted and soaks up every bit of gravy and virtually melts in your mouth. Small dipping bowls of barbecue sauce and ranch dressing are included, giving diners the option of even more flavor combinations.

Likewise the chicken and shrimp includes honey mustard, tartar and cocktail sauces. The generous order includes five or so each of shrimp and chicken strips. My guest said both were so tender, they had to have been marinated prior to cooking.

A chicken-fried steak fan, I was excited to see the dish on the menu ($12.25). It should come with a warning: This meal can feed three people. At the very least, plan on leftovers.

Served with mashed potatoes, green beans, the crunchy platter-sized steak is covered with an interesting jalapeno cream gravy. With a glass of iced tea and iced water close at hand, it’s a sure hit.

Knowing we were dining for Gumbo readers, we played it smart and left room for dessert.

We opted to share an order of Bread Pudding ($2.25) with Bourbon sauce and cinnamon and a Twin Peaks Sundae ($6.25).

The sundae was the real star, although the pudding, I’m told, was very good. With two scoops of ice cream atop a hot blondie, the sundae was drizzled with chocolate and butterscotch sauces. Need I say more?

It’s worth noting that so much has been said about the spate of breastraunts coming to the area – restaurants that attire their female wait staff in provocative outfits – that I was a bit skeptical about visiting Twin Peaks. After all, they don’t shy from the fact that the girls are skimpily dressed, promising scenic views and hosting bikini contests and the like. (Our waitress, Jenna, had just been named Miss Twin Peaks in a recent contest in Colorado. It was her first trip away from Houma.)

It’s no lie, the women are shapely. But Twin Peaks is a family-style place. A glance around the patio and inside the restaurant revealed men and women of all ages and sizes. Many children were dining with their parents, too. Throughout our meal, we enjoyed our time visiting and were never made to feel awkward or rushed.

At the end of the evening, we all agreed Twin Peaks is worth a return visit. Next time, we’ll split that chicken-fried steak dish and leave room for the sundae.

Twin Peaks Restaurant in Houma promises good food, good drinks and scenic views. A number of locals have discovered the truth in their advertising.