559 Washington Street, Brighton, Massachusetts, 02135
This is a Dumpling Divas Dinnertime extra! This is a review of a restaurant that we visited for dinner, not in Chinatown but in our very own neighborhood of Brighton.
Last month the Divas were part of a group celebrating the 40th birthday of a dear friend with a Brewery Crawl. This was an amazing excursion and if you are looking for a fun, boozy activity to do with a large group, I HIGHLY recommend Boston Brew Tours. That being said, at the end of our beer filled Saturday afternoon, we realized that we could REALLY use some sustenance to soak up all of the alcohol. So my fellow Diva (and her Dude, who also attended the Brew Tour) headed over to the new noodle café that just opened: Twelve Hours.
According to the restaurant’s website, the name “Twelve Hours” refers to not only the length of time it takes to prepare the broth they use for the soups but also refers to the fact that they are open for 12 hours a day (11am to 11pm). The restaurant is a “self-service” style establishment. You place your order at the counter and pay; then you gather chopsticks, napkins, silverware and find yourself a seat in the warm, inviting brick and wood finished space.
One of the nice things about Twelve Hours is that they have a special called the “Happy Hours Dinner Set” available from 6pm to 9:30pm where you can order off a limited menu and get a house salad, an appetizer, and an entrée for $15.12. Their lunch value menu is available 11:30 to 4:30pm and is even more of a bargain coming in at $10.12. The divas chose to order off the Happy Hour menu (plus Thai iced tea with tapioca pearls – my favorite!) and the Dude made his selection from the regular menu as there was a duck dish he wanted to try (and truth be told, we wanted to try it as well!)
The house salads arrived first and they were pretty basic, which wasn’t surprising. They were dressed with that ginger dressing that seems to be used widely at sushi restaurants and Japanese steakhouses and I have a particular weakness for it. The salads arrived with the Thai Iced Bubble Teas which are an especial treat for me these days as I am trying to eschew sugar.
The next dish that came out was the Twelve Hours Sriracha Wings that the Dude ordered (and very kindly shared with the Divas.) These were very good, crispy and spicy with a sweetness to them, definitely beating out your average pub grub style Buffalo wings.
I ordered the Garlic Udon Noodles with Beef and the Shu Mai. One thing I can say about ALL the food I tasted at Twelve Hours is that they do NOT skimp on their ingredients. Everything is ridiculously fresh and the vegetables are crisp but tender. The Shu Mai, on the other hand, were OK, nothing more special than what you might pick up in the freezer section of your local Asian supermarket and heat up yourself. I had originally wanted to order the Shrimp Toast instead of the Shu Mai but unfortunately they were out. Shrimp Toast is something I have not seen very often in Chinese restaurants recently. I remember it being a favorite at my family’s go-to Chinese restaurant in Maynard (May Ling’s – now closed) and there are many folks (especially from the southern states) who bemoan the fact that Shrimp Toast is not on many of the menus at Chinese restaurants in the Northeast.
My counterpart Diva ordered the Khua Kai Noodle with Crispy Fish and fried Dumplings. I mentioned in my previous post how much I love Chow Fun (wide flat rice noodles) and I was kicking myself a little for not having ordered this. The noodles were tossed in a nice savory sauce and included bean sprouts, egg, lettuce and scallion. Atop the noodles were two large pieces of fried fish – crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside. If I had one criticism, it would be that the fish could have been seasoned more, even with a little bit of salt. The dumplings that she ordered as part of her combo were good but again, like the Shu Mai, nothing special.
Finally the most interesting dish of the evening was the Panang Duck that the Dude ordered. It consisted of battered and fried boneless duck, broccoli, red pepper, and basil, served over thin rice noodles in a red Thai Panang curry sauce. The sauce was excellent—savory and rich with some heat but without being too spicy, and the vegetables that accompanied the duck were cooked perfectly. That being said, I now believe that there is no reason on earth to batter and fry duck! I will take crispy skin duck over this atrocity every time. The duck was dry and overdone and the battering kept falling off the pieces of meat.
Overall I would say this was a good experience and due to the value combos this may become my new neighborhood go-to for take-out. I simply MUST come back for the Shrimp Toast and will report back once I have tried it.