Word of Mouth

Eating my words about Wolfgang Puck alums

A few weeks ago, when I reviewed Euclid Hall, I wrote that I'd noticed a certain shortcoming common to chefs who'd trained under Wolfgang Puck. "They're excellent cooks with mastery of technique," I mused, "but they're not innovative chefs."

Plenty of readers took issue with that. And now I'm ready to eat my words.

When I wrote that, I was thinking not just of some early meals at Jen Jasinski's Rioja but also of my first dinner at twelve. Like Jasinski, twelve chef/owner Jeff Osaka had trained under the California culinary titan, and at that dinner I found his food well-executed but uninspiring; it reminded me of meals I'd consumed in Puck's eateries, and seemed to lack any expression of Osaka's own personality.

But then I returned to twelve for this week's review , and the food I ate there completely obliterated my first impression of the restaurant.

In fact, Jasinski and Osaka have been responsible for some of my favorite meals of the year. And their creations proved beyond a doubt that these two Wolfgang Puck alums can both craft and execute an excellent -- and innovative -- menu.

I'm swallowing hard, but I'm eating my words.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk