"Ohhh, My God!!! I've cheated myself of pure, unadulterated and unsurpassed flavor and palette-spoiling pleasure by not eating at "Twelve 28 Kitchen" in Penn Valley before Saturday evening!!! <3
I had wanted to let the hype die down a bit before giving the place a try... *ERROR* My Mom wanted to go somewhere new for our monthly (ok, maybe it's weekly?) dinner out and had suggested several places, including 12/28. I opted to finally give Twelve 28 a shot, and she got all excited, as she'd actually had brunch there a month ago and loved it! So 12/28 it was... When you first get there, it's unassuming, has a subtle decor and very comfortable. The hostess greeted us and promptly seated us at a reserved table she had hand-tagged for us earlier when I called in for a reservation. Our server, Katherine (gosh, I hope I spelt her name correctly), appeared within a moment to welcome us and set a cordial tone for the meal with her friendliness, smile and genuine personality. She took our appetizer order (dirty Smashed Fries w/Crispy Braised Pork Bellies) and we chose a lovely Riesling from their wine list. Katherine stated she'd be back with both and take our main course order at that time. She returned w/wine in the iced chiller and served it with the ultimate professionalism (I was impressed). Then came the Smashed Fries w/Pork Bellies... for ALL that is Holy!!! For something so seemingly simple, the flavors of the seasoned potatoes peppered with an absolutely mouth-watering sriracha aioli on a bed of the freshest kimchi I've ever had (and I'm not usually a kimchi fan, at all) and to top off the dish... "The Pork Bellies" *slurP* They were tender as butter yet with a delicate crispiness that simply melted in my mouth as I devoured each delicious bite! I seriously could have eaten it all night... I love their menu... it's simple, doesn't inundate one with a million choices (I'm horrible at choosing 'one' dish when I'm hungry and everything looks & sounds so good) and Chef Zach changes it up occasionally to keep one's palette guessing while providing fresh, new choices for us to delight one's taste buds with. I could not make up my mind between a wonder sounding Ravioli entree' or, what my gut was truly grumbling for, the Braised Short-Ribs. I was praying my mother would order one, so I could then order the other and spoil myself by being able to try each... twas not to be, as she could not wait to try the Pork Tenderloin. I had to go with my gut, and ordered the Short-Ribs my stomach campaigned for. After the two of us took mere moments to polish off the ample offering of Smashed Fries & Pork Bellies, Katherine thoughtfully poured us some more wine to cleanse our palettes in anticipation of the main event... our entrees :) After some perfect timing for flavors to melt into memory and the wine to set the tone for the coming entree, in they came... stunningly plated, and each flavor's delectable aroma teasing the senses as mine eyes saw the glory of the feast that now lay before me! Simply Amazing!!! I genuinely cannot remember the last time my sense of vision, smell, and taste has been SO spoiled and delighted with such a visually stunning, beautifully prepared, and absolute explosion of flavors!!! My Short-Ribs were exceptionally tender, sliced perfectly and each flavor in the dish (from the sauce, peppers, everything) stood on it's own yet lent to the overall completeness of the dish! The Pork Tenderloin of my Mom's... well, while I love my pork cuts, I often shy away from it at times due to often experiencing thick cuts that often lend to an unfortunate dryness by too many preparers, despite their efforts at good flavor. NOT THE CASE with Chef Zach's Tenderloin!!! It was the most tender, moist and supple cut of pork I have honestly EVER tasted...hands-down! His seasoning again lent to the taste without creating it's own entity, the Pineapple chutney was sweet oasis in a sea of tastefulness, all on a delicious bed of a perfectly cooked risotto! Marvelous, is all I can say! I let Mom pick her dessert, as I knew there would be a chocolate dish to die for, which she is a true connoisseur of. I cannot (unfortunately) remember the name of the lovely mousse served, but it had "chocolate" in the name twice, so I knew she would approve. When Katherine served it and I watched Mom's first bite, well... I knew it was a true delight! I tased it, of course... *YUM* :) Thank You to all at "Twelve 28"... you've given Penn Valley an absolute GEM of fine (but not pretentious) dining to be enjoyed, treasured and returned to again & again!" -DJ Johnson
"We have never had a restaurant of this quality in Penn Valley! The ambiance is soothing and comfortable. The food is amazing! We had brunch. I ordered a cup of chili and a Pink Lady apple salad. My wife had peanut butter stuffed cinnamon French toast. Each dish had complex flavor that created a frenzy of tastes in my mouth. The chili was topped with crumbles of corn bread, chives, and sour cream. The salad mixed fresh greens with walnuts, Humbolt blue cheese, pickled onions, and apple. It was dressed with a light vinaigrette. The epic French toast was dusted with powdered sugar, and served with real maple syrup. Service was exceptional! You are helped and greeted by a team of attentive people. The owners are present and working hard to provide a flawless dining experience. You really need to try this exceptional dining spot! You will be delighted! We plan on being regulars! ~Steve R.
We haven't been so happy with every aspect of a meal in a very long time. Great service. Better food. Every bite was a tiny flavor explosion...like manna from heaven for my long neglected palette.
I came in with a group of 5. The minute we walked in, we we're treated like royalty. The service was amazing, the food incredible and a beautiful ambiance. On our drive home, everyone was in agreeance; this was the best dinner we have ever had. -Paul B
Void of any pretentiousness, Twelve 28 Kitchen can rival any Michelin star restaurant in any city including my hometown of New York. -Dave L.
"A definite gem for our local community. We've been waiting for Twelve 28 Kitchen to open ever since we got a tease of their cuisine at our local chefs contest in September. I think it says a lot that they won the contest before they were even open! I had the pork belly band mi sandwich. The pork belly was perfectly cooked in a delicious ginger soy glaze. The fresh cucumber carrot slaw and thinly sliced jalapeño created a perfect storm of flavors in my mouth. I ate my meal very slow as it was so good I didn't want to finish. My husband had the rock cod fish tacos. He said they were perfectly cooked and full of flavor. And even though we were so stuffed, we just had to try dessert. We chose to share a dessert. I don't recall the name, but it was a mousse like chocolate yumminess with two homemade chocolate brownie cookies and a dollop of vanilla whipped cream. TO DIE FOR. The service was impeccable. Our server, Bradley was attentive but not intrusive, funny, friendly, honest, and very helpful with suggestions. You can't help but just adore him! And Zack, the owner/chef came to our table to have a chat, as did his dad, who was manning the bar and seeing guests. I think the prices are on point for the quality and care that goes into presenting such amazing food. Two entrées, one dessert, two glasses of wine and three craft beers came to $80.00. We will definitely be regulars." ~Jennifer B
"Fantastically delicious food and beautiful presentation! Finally a reason to go out to eat locally. The food is absolutely a delight to the taste buds. We haven't had a restaurant like this around here since Citronee left. Thank you, we look forward to making visits regularly and making reservations. Thank you for your vision of such a fine dining establishment." ~Satin B.
"The service was excellent! I had the Rockfish Taco's and my mother had the Butternut and Apple soup, both were awesome!! The food presentation was beautiful! It was nice to eat where the atmosphere was calm and was quiet enough to have a conversation!! We look forward to eating many meals here!" ~Trudy R.
"Attended the soft opening tonight and the food was exceptional, service great and atmosphere comfortable and inviting. A new favorite of mine!!! Way to go Zach and family! A well deserved 5 star rating!" ~Sandy F.