The Rockies were playing the last time I went to Twelve Restaurant. The neighborhood was full of fans walking the streets, dressed in purple and black ready for a dog and a beer. I was going to have a more spectacular dinner by far. Parking was easy to my surprise. I love it when the parking space Gods are kind.
I walked a block from my parking spot to the cool space that is Twelve Restaurant. Why is it called Twelve? Chef Jeff Osaka changes his menu 12 times a year. Twelve features Osaka’s interpretation of “Modern American” cuisine using food that is globally influenced but locally and seasonally available. “I don’t want to use ‘global’ but that’s the best way to describe it. Or maybe modern American. America is unique. Your last name is different from my last name, but we occupy the same country. I grew up in Los Angeles with Japanese food at home. At the restaurant, I might use prosciutto. But that doesn’t make it an Italian restaurant,” says Chef Osaka.
Like most better restaurants in Denver Chef likes to use as many local ingredients as possible. The farm to table concept is nothing new to Osaka as he learned from Bradley Ogden, a well known chef in L.A. Chef Ogden was working with farmers in the Napa Valley back in the 1990’s to supply produce to his restaurant at the time, One Market.
During dinner that evening I had the most amazing carrot soup. The puree was silky and sweet. I followed that up with scallops that were perfectly cooked over lentils. Sweetbreads, house made pasta and crab salad over avocado were also part of my meal. It was exquisite. Now mind you what I had is now off the menu, as it changes monthly. I looked at Jeff’s current menu today and immediately made a mental note to stop by this week. I want to taste the veal sweetbreads, with Mache, cherries and almond crumble. I want to experience the Atlantic char with roasted tomatoes and English pea puree. And when it comes to desserts I know I am going to have a hard time choosing between the chocolate trio – chocolate pot de crème, Mexican ice cream and bittersweet cake versus the financier – almond cake with mascarpone and strawberries.
The space at Twelve is small and relaxing. You can watch Josh (a great mixologist) work his magic at the bar. You can see Chef gracefully finish dishes and push plates to the pass. Service is low key and efficient and the wine list is full of hidden treasures.
When you are thinking of where to eat this weekend Twelve is one of the best options in town. Twelve is located at 2233 Larimer Street. Reservations are recommended. Please call 303-293-0287.