Eleven is the fanciest of all the Big Burrito restaurants in Pittsburgh, there is no doubt about it.
Situated on Smallman Street in between the Strip District and Downtown, Eleven is located in a renovated old warehouse with high ceilings and a grand-yet-sleek decor. The menu is equally refined, with a contemporary style reminiscent of sister restaurant Casbah in Shadyside.
Combine all of these features and you have the makings of a restaurant that is perfect for a celebration (which in our case was our birthdays)!
An Evening Worth Celebrating at Eleven
Our recent meal at Eleven started off with some drinks as the cocktail menu, although quite pricey, had such intriguing options that it was hard to pass up.
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We tried the Oak Aged Tequila Manhattan which had Cynar and cinnamon to give it a few interesting twists. The wine menu is also extensive with dozens of wines available by the glass; I chose a Chilean Chardonnay as they are not as common in area restaurants.
I appreciated the selection of South American wines including a Cabernet Sauvignon from one of our favorite wineries in Mendoza, Pulenta Estates.
Although the appetizers included lots of tempting items like foie gras, sashimi, and steak tartare, we had our stomachs set on saving room for dessert and skiped them this visit.
While we waited on our entrees we were offered our choice of house-made bread. It is the little touches like having an actual “bread guy” that make dinner at Eleven a special experience.
As we were celebrating both of our birthdays, and were armed with two $30 birthday discount coupons from Big Burrito's birthday club, we decided to go big with the prime beef ribeye and the seafood tasting platter.
This was one of the very few instances in Pittsburgh that we can remember receiving a piece of meat cooked exactly the way we asked- and not overdone.
The beef was tender and served with a mustard and bourbon sauce, a massive crispy onion ring, and a smear of curry butter. The curry flavor was so unexpected but a beautiful, bright counterpoint to the rich meat.
The seafood tasting consisted of several cuts of fish, a sea scallop, and a massive crab cake. All of this was served on top of a creamy soup-like base full of peas and asparagus that almost tasted like a chicken pot pie filling.
The pieces of fish were nice, but the scallop and crab cake were more interesting. The scallop was cooked perfectly so that it nearly melted in my mouth. And the crab cake was the standout here as it was huge and full of sweet, tender crab meat with just a touch of bright, tart lemon flavor.
Always Save Room for Dessert at Eleven
Somehow we made enough room for dessert, and you should, too. (If you're not convinced, just take a walk outside the building down Smallman St. and you will get a glimpse into Eleven's bakery room before you enter for dinner).
One look at the beauties here and you will not be able to resist something sweet after your meal.
We went with the banana cream pie which had a super thin and crispy homemade vanilla wafer topped with banana pudding and dulce de leche mousse. The pudding had a somewhat chalky texture but the mousse was heavenly- light in texture yet rich in flavor.
To top it all off were slices of bruleed banana for a caramelized crunch.
The dessert wine selection is quite nice here, too, so we went all out and got a glass of a late harvest Torrontes- another rarity from Chile that we absolutely love. You only turn 30 once!
Eleven is an all-around solid choice for a fine dining experience in the city, especially if you have a reason to celebrate like we did. With an incredible dinner menu, decent happy hour on weekdays from 4-6 pm, and a prix fixe Sunday brunch, we know we'll be returning many times in the future just to try it all.
Eleven is located at 1150 Smallman Street in the Strip District.
For more fine dining around Pittsburgh, check out Altius and Monterey Bay Fish Grotto on Mount Washington, Superior Motors in Braddock, La Riviera in East Liberty, or Casbah in Shadyside! Or, for more reviews of Pittsburgh restaurants, click the previous link to be taken to our directory of every review on Discover the Burgh!
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