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Sep 19, 2008 10:14 AM

Twelves Grill in West Grove

Anyone try it yet? It's a new BYO and the chef was last chef/general manager at the Back Burner in Delaware after stints at the Farmhouse and Dilworthtown Inn.

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  1. I read about this place in yesterday's Inquirer, and I'm curious, too. Their menu prices are right up there with some of the priciest restaurants in the area; I wonder if West Grove can support such a venue. I'll probably wait until I see a review or two on CH before venturing over there.

    1. We decided to give it a try for lunch today. I knew the owner's wife from Simon Pearce; very personable, hard worker and very professional. The decor was very well done, and the wait staff did a good job. Lunch was very good; had the soup of the day, a chicken corn chowder, excellent. I paired that with a half turkey sandwich, also great. My wife had the half turkey sandwich with a salad, also great, and we shared an order of fries, excellent as well. Of note, was the fact that the tomato used on the sandwich was an heirloom, and many of their ingredients are both local and organic, something we both enjoy. I think it is comparable to Sovanna, and if some of the local businesses, as well as the public support it, it will do well. We'' return for dinner in the near future. Well worth a try.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. We finally made it out there. The place itself is in a nice old bank building that has been renovated. You can see the vault when you enter (very neat to see the inside...) and then you are seated in a long dining room that is an expanse of neverending shades of browns and beiges. The floors are brown tile, the walls are a lighter brown, the furniture is dark wood. The only thing on the wall are some mirrors above eye level (all you see is brown reflected). In fact the only color whatsoever in the room (aside from the bright red fire extinguisher at the end) are the small purplish candles on the table. While I'm no interior designer by any stretch of the imagination, I fould the room to be rather stark and depressing. While they do have a few windows (that open up to an alley), these were covered by beige shades so there's not much to look at.

          Anyway, the food was definitely hit-or-miss. We tried the g's bread appetizer which was just so-so despite heirloom tomatoes on it, and had fried oysters which were small and not all that exciting. For entrees, we tried the rainbow trout which was pretty plain and served over an expanse of butter-laden mashed potatoes. The asparagus served with the fish was good though. We also tried a whole fish entree (a dorade) that was excellent. I could see getting the whole fish again (if they decide to serve it again) but would pass on the trout. The desserts were also hit-or-miss. We tried a chocolate cake that was mediocre and had a grilled piece of pound cake with peaches over it that was very good.

          The service was fine, and they do have a few things in the counter up front to take home like sticky buns and cookies (we tried the latter and they were very good). There were only a few other diners when we were there and most of the dining room was empty.

          All in all, it seems to be a work in progress. Some things are hits while others are misses. I think the problem with the misses lies not in the execution of the dishes (all were cooked perfectly) but the recipes themselves.

        2. My husband ,daughter and I ate at Twelves two weeks ago . We had questioned whether West Grove could support a more upscale restaurant also. But I 'm happy to report -if they continue with what they've been doing -they should have no problem. My husband had the mushroom croustade which was delicious - I wish I had ordered it ! The salads were large and fresh . I had the flat iron steak . It was prepared with a red wine sauce and porcini's . It was excellent. The meat was cooked exactly as ordered (perfect med. rare ) I wasn't a huge fan of the pommes frites -they could have been a bit crispier. My daughter had trout which was good and my husband had my least favorite of all the mahi- mahi .We shared a dessert of chocolate creme brulee -it was good -not outstanding , but it did get better with each bite ! All in all I think it was fabulous and i'm looking forward to going back this week-end . I wish them luck and think if they continue to improve -we'll be lucky !

          7 Replies
          1. re: meremar

            Ate her a few months ago and we revisited today for lunch. Place filled up at about noon.

            Menu seemed limited in scope. A couple soups, four apps olives (at ~$5!), bruschetta ("G's bread"), fried oysters and hummus (blech).

            Most entrees were sandwiches of one sort or another. My companion had a scallop dish which lacked depth and was just OK. I had a hamburger which was dry and dense. The ketchup for the fries was served ice cold, right out of the fridge. Squash soup was nice, the bruschetta (goat cheese, fig,parma ham) was a bit bland.

            Overall we thought that the food was underseasoned...and there were no salt or pepper on the table.

            Service was slow, but short of painful. Given the simplicity of the menu it should have been quicker. Decor was a bit better than last time, with more artifacts from the building's previous life as a bank.

            I had hoped for improvement, but the locals seem to like the place.

            1. re: gfweb1

              Back for lunch again. Not much seems different. From what I remember the menu is pretty much the same as last year. Food is still a bit underseasoned. Salt and pepper still not on the table. Service was better though.

              An interesting observation...they have candle holders on the window sills that rest on a glass cylinder filled with wine corks. The selection of corks therein, presumably from diners who BYO, was pretty appalling. Lots of synthetic stuff, some smoking loon, beringer was in there. I can't blame the management for a diner's lack of sophistication, but it says something about their audience.

              1. re: gfweb1

                Or worse yet, the corks could be from whoever is supposed to be seasoning the food!

                After the quasi-promotional comments posted earlier in this trhead I have not felt the need to return...

                1. re: bluehensfan

                  Yes, that did leave a bad taste in my mouth too. There is plenty better in the general area, but to give credit where it is due, the place was somewhat improved today.

                  It'd be interesting to see if the loon corks are purged.

                  1. re: bluehensfan

                    I almost went during the summer after I'd seen an advertisement for a mid-week prix fix dinner at a price that looked fairly reasonable (can't recall just how much it was). Guess I didn't miss much by not going, eh?

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      I guess its better than Perkins. It isn't horrible, just isn't good.

                      1. re: mypc

                        The parking at 12s is better than Gilmore's. On food, ambiance and service Gilmore's wins hands down.

            2. For those dissuaded, or otherwise underwhelmed, 5 1/2 years later, and we are alive and thriving.

              10 Replies
              1. re: threebears

                LOL, I've never before seen a restaurant judged by the corks their patrons leave behind!

                1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                  I actually am happy to hear that an independently owned restaurant has been able to survive, particularly with the recent economic troubles.

                  Hopefully the same will be true for places like Byrsa Bistro in Kennett and Hood's BBQ in Unionville.

                  1. re: bluehensfan

                    Me too. Good for you.

                    Might have to give 12s another go.

                    Hoods has been around a while. I think they'll last.

                  2. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                    Have you ever seen the front windows at Birchrunville Store Cafe?

                      1. re: sal_acid

                        That was in response to PhillyBestBYOB. The front windows at Birchrunville are filled with wine corks.

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          Yes, I have, and I'm conflicted about it.

                          On the one hand it looks like a mess.

                          On the other hand, I am depressed that no one invited me to any of those dinners.

                          (BTW, IMO, Birchrunville Store Cafe is one of the more over-rated restaurants in the Philly area. It's OK, but I don't understand the passionate love some people have for it. Perhaps because it's in the middle of nowhere.)

                          1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                            That might be a topic for another post, but I have to say, I've been to Birchrunville many times and I've never been disappointed.

                            1. re: CindyJ

                              I've never been disappointed per se (been there 4 maybe 5 times), but when people say "the best restaurant in Philly" (I've heard sophisticated diners say that), well it's not even in the top 50 (my list, not Philly Mag's).

                              Please feel free to flame...

                              1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                I guess I'll have to try it out. Long overdue, I guess.