Indeed, most bars would prefer the simplicity of just selling booze and a few small packets of potato chips rather than dealing with the mess and confusion of kitchens, spent dishes, and unexpected food inspectors. But for reasons that are still a mystery to me, our state--unlike progressive California or Nevada--has maintained what is essentially a dead law, a kind of prehistoric tail on our evolved city. It is for this fact alone that eating at a place like the Twilight Exit--which serves food because it has to--is tantamount to eating a law.
During my visit, I ordered the law, and the law was not bad at all. The law was not the usual kind of bar food, which is greasy (hamburgers, French fries, fish 'n' chips, and other dishes of that order), but deli food. There isn't a proper chef or kitchen, but a person who puts things together in the back deli-wise, and casually brings it to the bar or the table.
The decision to serve deli food over greasy food means that the menu is generally healthier, and also more about taste and the quality of meats, cheeses, and breads. Depending on your needs as a drinker, this may be a good or bad thing. As a person who is conscious about his weight and blood pressure (I drink only red wine because I believe it mingles well with my red blood cells), it is a good thing.
The Twilight Exit's menu is called "Mister Menu," and it offers light items such as soups, potato salad, other salads, and Mexican snacks. On the heavy side, there are "Big Bad Entrées," which combine elements of the light menu with big sandwiches like a grilled portobello burger or a chicken cordon bleu sandwich. The sandwiches can also be ordered separately, or you can build your own if none of the standard combinations agrees with you. The price of most large plates hovers around a reasonable $7. (The star of the menu, however, is the Rebel Reuben sandwich, which is thick, messy, and satisfying.)
But still, in the end, one can't help but feel that what one wants to do at the wonderful Exit is drink booze--not devour the law.
Twilight Exit 2020 E Madison St, 324-7462. Open nightly 5 pm-1:30 am.