May 21, 2009
We arrived around 7 to a mostly empty restaurant. Initially, I thought this isn't a good sign. We sit, offered menus, water, the norm. I jumped at the wine list right away. Good range of wines on the list. Some sonoma, napa, italian, some others, and of course french. I choose the Châteaunuef-du-pape, 2005. Since this isn't a wine review, I'll just say it was spicy, fruity, and good.
I guess I should give you a little background before I jump in. As the name implies, the menu changes each month, or "twelve" times a year. Opened in November 2008. I think the staff may have mentioned their blood types & horoscopes too, but I was too busy talking.
After some chatting and my usual 50 times through the menu, we started our order:
baby lettuces, fine herbs, parmesan, banyuls vinaigrette
english pea, vanilla, cipollini onion
veal sweetbreads, oyster and shiitake mushrooms, garlic, veal jus
warm green and white asparagus, black truffle butter
brandade cake, panko crumbs, verde farms pea shoots, sauce mirepoix
romaine hearts, brioche crouton, white anchovy-garlic dressing
I asked Z, "Have you had asparagus?", to which he responds "Just the stringy overcooked kind." So we ordered the greens and the asparagus to share. The greens were very well flavored. A good balance between the vinaigrette, the root vegetables, and the cheese. Even though I abhor asparagus like a child hates bathing, I tried some. The asparagus was cooked perfectly and the truffle butter was fantastic. Z even asked for bread to use as a squeegee on the asparagus plate. L & Z both flew through their portions like hyenas and alligators who can actually kill their prey.
snapper, fingerling potato, purple potato, haricot verts, aged sherry vinegar
alaskan halibut, piperade, apple wood smoked bacon, chickpeas, fried quail egg
quinoa cake, baby spinach, red onion, spiced carrot sauce
breast and confit, rapini, honshimeji mushroom-potato hash
colorado loin, bulgar wheat, lemon, cucumber, parsley, harrisa
prime strip loin and short rib, red beet, potato-morel tart
L went for the quiona. It looked good but I was far too interested in my duck and Z's beef to remember to try it.
First, let me describe the duck. Tender duck breast cooked to perfection, steamed broccoli rapini, and the hash: shredded duck confit, honshimeji mushrooms, diced potatoes with herbs, cooked in duck fat... This is the Saturday morning, post-binge drinking breakfast hash that we should have been served at the Olivette Diner.
The beef dish: Prime strip - med. rare, not much to say other than it was perfectly prepared. Z flew through the ribs, making remarks to the "fresh bacon" (cardamom spiced Kurobuta pork belly, madras curry scented fresh garbanzo bean purée) he had at rioja. I can only assume it was good. The potato-morel tart was very buttery, and smooth. The roasted beet served on a parsnip purée again made to the highest levels shown throughout our meal.
We finished our meal and then took a few minutes to finish the wine before ordering our desserts.
trio of chocolate
root beer float, vanilla ice cream, chocolate chip cookies
feuille de brik, bananas, hazelnut-rum sauce
daily selection of three cheeses
Along with a few cafe lattes, the dessert order was for the first three. Trio of chocolate was as to be expected; pot de crème, ice cream, & gateau. Root beer float was fairly standard with crispy chocolate chip cookies. The banana dish was well constructed, well flavored, and a good finish to the meal. But, I am usually left flat by desserts. I prefer savory dishes to sweets. This is my bias.
Prices were more than fair for the meal created by Chef Osaka. After the meal, we spoke with the Chef about the meal and about Z's aspiration to become a Chef. Chef Osaka extended an offer to Z for a job in the kitchen; prep work, learn some techniques, and be exposed to a professional kitchen. Z is excited to follow up on the offer, and I am encouraging him to take the opportunity.
Never judge a lack of traffic/patrons as a tell tale about a restaurant, especially on a Thursday night. With the interesting format of the menu, I can only wonder what the next month brings. If you are in the Denver area or planning a trip, I encourage you to eat at Twelve.