ELEVEN, Strip District, Pittsburgh
Situated in the very heart of downtown Steeltown- Pittsburgh, ELEVEN restaurant describes it s food as contemporary American. What they don't tell you however is that the menu is especially well thought out. The food is excellent with matching service and the execution almost flawless.
We had a large group of three couples plus one and having made a booking for only 6, they were quite helpful in trying to provide us with our seating at the correct time. The resto is quite large on two levels with the downstairs and upstairs, both having bar areas an outside patio section in the upstairs, where we were seated.
As previously mentioned the menu had something for everyone.
The appetizer section had some of the standards such as tuna tartare which was fresh, light beautifully seasoned and quite delicious. The lump meat crab cakes were as one would expect if you were in the Chesapeake area, large pieces of lump blue fin crab meat lightly seasoned and pan fried resulting in a nice crunch on the outside with moist tasty crab meat inside served on bed of tossed chopped new potatoes in a lovely creamy vinaigrette adorned with pea shoots
My wife had an interesting choice of a smoked lamb tacos, which essentially was slow cooked shredded lamb mixture stacked in between very small tacos, sitting on a bed of lentils in a sauce made with goats cheese and avocado. As a person who is generally indifferent to lamb, her reaction said it all and I had to try the dish. It was quite delicious.
One of the ladies in our party had the heirloom tomatoes which was a couple of generous slices of very big beefsteaks with numerous smaller varieties which looked delicious and which I was told was delicious, other appetizers eaten included mussels in a tomato broth(again described as very good), and a nice fresh linguini, with pieces o fresh buffalo mozzarella. Some of the other appetizer dishes sounded exactly that, appetizing and I suspect I could have as easily decided to graze the appetizer menu for my whole meal ( something I have been known to do in the past)
For the main, our group broke down almost evenly into the men who ate meat and the ladies who ate fish.
At least two of the ladies had seafood samplers, which consisted of a sizeable piece of tuna seared at high heat and sliced on the bias showing of a beautiful deep hued interior of moist flesh, this was accompanied by one of the previously described crab cakes and a piece of salmon also seared at high heat done to a delicious medium. One of the other ladies and the single guy in the group had the Halibut which was very tasty and generous in the portions.
The men had meat. A striploin which came sliced on the bias served on a bed of what looked like agnolotti stuffed with potato and cheese ( i got to taste the meat; but not the agnolotti) with a gorgeous carmelized onion sauce reduction, which I suspect might have been tasty enough to consider as a new cologne for men! :) The strip loin was cooked to perfection.
We also had the tenderloin and while they messed mine up (medium rare on occasion sounding like medium well when I speak) they corrected that and eventually brought me a piece of meat with a beautiful charred outside that one assumes could only have only been achieved with a 1500F grill and my medium rare perfected. This was served with a dollop of herb butter and beautiful roasted veg, such as tasty fingerling potatoes, and what seemed like heirloom carrots beets and the like. Very very nice.
The manager came over an apologized for what had happened to my dish and made it compliments of the house. While unnecessary it was nonetheless appreciated.
Dessert was generally passed on, because we had all eaten so well, though one couple had the molten chocolate lake( the hubby has a sweet tooth) which they described as heavenly and which the others tasted, I went for some of the cheese with some port to finish off my evening.
For a group of 7 we drank 3 bottles of wine all very reasonably priced, though the wine list is large and replete with offerings well outside my pocketbook. Two whites of a mixed varietal blend ( chard- vigionier and I think chenin blanc) to start the evening (not to mention the cocktails we had already consumed while working out where and what we should have from the menu).. And a nice Croze Hermitage to compliment our steaks.
ELEVEN probably gets FOUR and a HALF FORKS our of FIVE.
Great food, well executed, reasonably priced, fantastic service.
1150 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222