Esquire’s Best New: Twelve

Esquire magazine has named Twelve to their 2022 list of the Best New Restaurants in America.

Though it may be true that Eleven Madison Park is the performative Xanadu of a mad man, it is also one hell of a talent incubator. Before he moved to Maine – his wife, Selena, is a Mainer — Colin Wyatt was the executive sous there. Now he’s one upped EMP at Twelve, located in a reconstituted 150-year old brick storehouse at the water’s edge in Portland, ME. The technique is still there — Wyatt makes particularly good use of ferments and yeast — but Maine is the focus and there’s a New England modesty that prefers showing to telling. There are only twelve items on the prix fixe but Wyatt makes good use of his new home. The state shows up in the colors. The bright orange of sweet potato Parker house rolls mimic the foliage; the pumpkin-seeded butter that accompanies them recalls the fields. And goddamn if his soigne lobster roll — an entire half lobster impossibly folded into a small very buttery laminated dough — doesn’t turn the volume of the old Maine banger up to twelve.