To celebrate our upcoming anniversary, we went to the Big Burrito Group's new place, Eleven, on Friday. We thought it had been open for almost a month, but it turned out that its first official open day was last Monday, so we were there during its first week. Casbah and Soba are two of our favorite places in Pittsburgh, so we had VERY high expectations for this place, and we weren't disappointed.
The menu at Eleven is a wee bit more upscale than BB's other restaurants, with foie gras and truffle oil featured frequently. We started with a terrine involving rabbit, foie gras, and pistachios. I had no idea what to expect on this one, but it was terrific, very subtle flavors and textures. Then they brought an amuse of thin slices of stripey green tomatoes (very pretty) with goat cheese and "olive dust" on top. I'm glad this wasn't any larger, given how strong the flavors were, but the small taste we got was marvellous.
For dinner, my other half had something they called "Veal Oscar", which was veal, butter-poached lobster, and creamed leek and spinach. He loved it, and the taste I got was terrific. I tend to think that the only way to eat lobster is at a lobster pound in Maine, armed with a pair of nutcrackers and a pile of paper napkins, but this runs a very close second. I had the beef tenderloin (possibly the best steak I've ever had in a restaurant) with Maytag blue cheese bread pudding and peas. The peas were slightly sweet and the bread pudding was very strongly flavored, but not obnoxiously so. Good texture, too, nice and crunchy on top and soft (but not soggy) in the middle. It's something I'd make at home if I could figure out how.
Then another amuse: strawberries dipped in vanilla sugar. Very simple and very, very good.
I'd read about Eleven's pastry chef in the paper, so I had very high hopes for their dessert selection, and we weren't disappointed there, either. There were 4 or 5 five things on the list that I could have happily ordered, but we both succumbed to chocolate. He had the chocolate pecan pie with candied pecan ice cream and Jack Daniels butterscotch sauce (and shared a bit, fortunately), and I had a hot chocolate souffle cake (again, pleasantly squishy without being soggy) with hot ginger ice cream, cocoa nib crisp, and fresh ginger confit. Outstanding combination. And then one more amuse, pieces of dark Valrhona chocolate with caramel and pecans on top. Oof.
The wine list was excellent, particularly the wines by the glass. They have an interesting selection of cocktails, too.
It wasn't particularly cheap, but this was a special occasion, and the quality of the food justified the costs. We were very pleased, and may not even wait for another anniversary or birthday to go back.
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