January 6, 2007
Cuisine: Tuscan, Californian
St. Louis, MO
Oak Oven Baked Flat Bread – Shrimp & Portobello creme fraiche, rosemary & smoked gouda ($9.50)
Butternut squash soup w/ creme fraiche ($4.95)
Honey roasted duck breast w/ ginger-cilantro vinaigrette & wild rice pilaf ($19.95)
Braised lamb shank w/ natural braising jus & saffron risotto ($21.95)
Stuffed pork chop w/ smoked gouda, mushrooms, raspberry veal reduction & yukon gold garlic mashed potatoes ($18.95)
Eleven Eleven “BLT” bourbon apples, maine lobster, thyme remoulade & watercress with a side of potato salad ($11.11)
Beet and butternut squash risotto with goat cheese ($5.25)
Gooey butter cake w/ ice cold glass of milk ($4.95)
Prior to visiting St. Louis I did a bit of research to find the best eateries in town. I stumbled upon an online publication called Sauce Magazine devoted to all things food in St. Louis. The folks at Sauce voted Eleven Eleven their Favorite Restaurant, Best Place to Recommend, Best Business Lunch, Best Place for a Large Group, Best American Cuisine and runner-up in a number of categories including Best Chef and Best Wait staff. As if that weren’t enough, their prices were unbeatable (especially coming from the East Coast). The Astronomer and I took his grandparents to Eleven Eleven on our last night in St. Louis.
The decor inside Eleven Eleven is a cross between warehouse, wine cellar, and trendy lounge. I really liked the soft lighting and concrete floors. We were seated on the restaurant’s second level, right next to the staircase.
We were served some fresh foccacia with olive oil and parmesan cheese while we were perusing the menu. The olive oil was especially flavorful. I love quality olive oils.
We started off our meal with a flatbread course because Audrey Claire taught us that they are delicious. I picked the Portobello and shrimp because it sounded like a unique combination, plus I love smoked Gouda. The Astronomer’s grandfather ordered the butternut squash soup as a starter. As predicted, the flatbread was amazing. The chef’s did not skimp on cheese and there was also plenty of shrimp and mushrooms. The flavors were all mild and thus worked together nicely. However, the Gouda could have been a bit smokier. The Astronomer’s grandfather cleaned his bowl and enjoyed the soup’s sweetness, which he was not expecting.
For our entrees I split the BLT with the Astronomer’s grandmother and ordered a side of the risotto. The BLT was phenomenal, everything about it was perfect! The bread was toasted well, there was a hardy portion of fresh lobster, the apples were just the right tartness, the thyme remoulade was creamy, and the watercress was mild and crispy. Yum! I don’t think I can ever go back to a regular old BLT. The Astronomer’s grandmother thought the sandwich was superb as well. The BLT came with a side of potato salad that tasted like pure bacon fat, which was pretty great but a bit too strong to be paired with the lobster.
The beet and butternut squash risotto was also outstanding, but it was difficult for it to compete with the BLT. I took most of it home to enjoy the next day. Reheated in the microwave, the goat cheese melted beautifully and I was able to enjoy it without the BLT competing for my attention. It was so delicious! Beets are my new favorite vegetable.
The Astronomer ordered the braised lamb shank and thoroughly enjoyed it. To his delight, the meat was so tender that it fell off the bone. I had a piece of the meat and thought it had a classic, rustic taste. The saffron risotto was very mild as intended.
The Astronomer’s grandmother shared a bit of her honey roasted duck breast. The meat was tender and flavorful. The Astronomer’s grandfather ordered the stuffed pork chop and commented that the mashed potatoes were particularly good.
For dessert our waitress recommended a St. Louis classic: Gooey Butter Cake. The gooey butter cake tastes a lot like a pound cake, but much gooier in texture, hence the name. It was served with some blueberries and strawberries and a glass of milk. The cake was very sweet, but I like that quality in a dessert. The Astronomer wished that the cake was served with more fruit to balance out the sweetness.