The first Food Porn Friday of the New Year, are y’all just as excited as I am to dig right in?!!

Today’s FPF is brought to you by a former Top Chef contestant who opened her very first restaurant right in my hood! Are y’all familiar with Shirley Chung from New Orleans Season 11? That was actually the ONLY season I didn’t watch but she came in 4th place and has even worked under the tutelage of notable greats José Andrés, Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy, and Mario Batali to name a few.

Twenty Eight

19530 Jamboree Rd | Irvine, CA 92612 | (949) 852-2828

 

 

Twenty Eight Modern Chinese Cuisine took over the old Kimera in Irvine and features an extensive menu that reflects her Beijing-born heritage elevated to incorporate traditional and current Chinese elements.

On the Menu

Tongue and Cheek

House cured pork head cheese and beef tongue, pickled baby carrot, California red mustard. Def needs the mustard, bland without it and overall just meh.

Spicy Sticky Wings

Fried jidori chicken wings, sweet and spicy chili sauce. Full of robust flavor and I love that the skin was crispy enough to last through the last bite.

Beijing Street Style Grilled Lamb Skewers with spicy cumin rubbed Colorado lamb belly, charred red onion.

Surprisingly super moist and juicy. Not the prettiest dish on the menu, but palatable just the same.

Fried Calamari

Lightly rice flour battered, crispy shallots, house pickled vegetables.

Seared Hamachi with garden lettuce, glass yam noodle, pickled vegetables, plum dressing.

Another ok dish, nothing too spectacular.

XO Sauce Noodles with Chung-Lee xo sauce, garlic chive, egg noodles.

VERY salty. Too salty. Pass!

 

Roasted White Trout with braised celery and wood ear mushroom, brown butter black bean sauce

This is probably one of the more “Chinese” tasting dishes on the menu. Reminds me of something my mama would make for Sunday supper. Ahhhh, I give it an A-rating for sense memory.

 

Caramel Lace Prawns with gulf white prawns, sweet plum aioli, grapefruit, walnut caramel lace.

Tastes like ‘suped up Walnut Shrimp, brilliant execution!

 

Squid Ink Hand Cut Noodles with fresh southern California Uni, jalapeno, ginger and scallion pesto.

Heaven in a bowl! I could eat this every.dang.day, the noodles were soft and chewy, the uni so buttery and fresh! DIVINE. 

 

Wok Fired Winter Squash with warm spices, garden herbs, puff wild rice.
Beijing ZhaJiang Mian hand cut noodles, minced pork with fermented bean sauce, watermelon radish, cucumber Shirley’s Beijing God mother’s recipe.

I love that it was a recipe passed down from generations before. Tastes very homey, made with love. Solid.

 

Shao Mai with spicy fish mousse, kefir lime and fresh uni:

Heaven in a bite!

Word to the wise: Stay AWAY from the veggies!   Every leafy green tasted like it was brined in a vat of seawater and while my palate can seriously take a whole jar of soy sauce, these dishes were wayyyyy too salty for my taste.

 

Know Before You Go

I live right in the heart of Little Saigon, while we boast the BEST Vietnamese cuisine in the world (that’s right! BETTER than the muthaland), you’d be hard pressed to find true authentic Chinese cuisine unless you traverse to San Gabriel Valley. Which is why I love Twenty Eight’s Modern Chinese concept. The flavors are there, the execution on point, and the presentation just sooo pretty.

What I’m SERIOUSLY griping about is the décor.

The Vibe

My girls and I came for dinner and the overhead lighting was HORRENDOUS. I felt like I was trapped in a mental institution with no way to escape the glass walls! The fluorescent dome lighting made me feel nauseous, queasy, and just tired from the minute we stepped into the main dining area. Like bad office lighting gone awry. So while the cuisine is on par, the space was unappetizing. A for food, D- for design. Sorry Shirley! Feel free to call me to consult, lol! ;D Try dining during lunch guys, the natural light streaming through the floor to ceiling windows will surely be a sight!*

 

Bon Appétit mes amis!

Author

3 Comments

  1. YUMMY! That's too bad the pork slices were bland! Without sauce they should be tasty and juicy! I would have loved to have those crispy wings, the ink noodles and those fried shao mai!

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