{PGH Dining} Eleven

In an effort to clean out my queue of 'to-be-blogged' PGH Dining posts, I'm pulling this one out on my dining experience at Eleven Contemporary Kitchen from a Friday night last October. Eleven is right on the cusp of downtown, at the very tip of the Strip District on Smallman Street.  We'd chosen to dine at Eleven on a friend's request - she was in down visiting family, which happened to include a family friend on the Eleven staff. {Let's just get this out of the way - no, our dinner wasn't complimentary, and we picked our selections for all dishes.} Before we even sat down to dinner, Husband and I noticed how beautifully lit the restaurant was, and the gorgeously dark decor. Super sexy. But, seeing as this was a family event, we'll forget that!
Our party of 7 was seated in one of their alcoves, which is perfect for hearing everyone speak in a busy restaurant.
Charcuterie Plate with Spiced Pears.
We started with a plate full of meats, creamy cheeses and punchy pickled vegetables. A few spiced pears rounded out the plate.
Our group also ordered Eleven's pierogies, which were received with mixed reviews at the table. A few were of the 'old-school' opinion that these were too 'different.'  I really enjoyed the doughy shell and rich sauce of these particular pierogies.
So, the unfortunate thing happened that happens in family get-togethers at restaurants: many of us ordered the same thing. Two of us ordered the Roasted Chicken with risotto, Swiss chard and thyme jus. Home cooking elevated.
Our friend in town, Ingrid, and I ordered the Salmon with Pear Brown Butter, Smoked Pecans and Wild Rice. The sear on the salmon was to die for. The fruit butter and pecans were a welcomed addition to this plate.
The third dish of our group was the Elysian Fields Farm Lamb Loin Chops, served with mashed fingerling potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and mushrooms. All three diners had smiles on their faces after eating this dish.
We chatted, drank wine, and mulled over the dessert menu for a while. The dessert menu was almost as long as the entree menu. Long story short, we couldn't choose a rational amount of desserts; we ordered four. The first of which was the Pumpkin Cannoli, filled with pumpkin-marscapone mousse and decorated with cinnamon chantilly and pistachio-maple crunchy bits. They were gone in minutes.
Next was the Creme Fraiche Brulee with a French Macaron. I barely even saw the macaroon grace the table before it was gone. This was serious.
Then was the Chocolate-Peanut-Pretzel Candy Bar, made of a brownie, peanut brittle, and chocolate and peanut butter ice cream. As un-candybar-like as it was, it was delicious. That brittle, you guys, was rich and caramelly, and stuck just the slightest bit to your teeth.
I realize you can barely see it from this photo {again, with the sexy mood lighting}, but we had the Molten Chocolate Cake with caramel and chocolate chip ice cream.
I guess every restaurant, no matter how upscale, has to have a molten lava cake on their menu. It sells right? Either way, all of the desserts were done well, and exactly what our table wanted to order. Eleven knows their customer base, y'all.
The finale came with the check: our waiter brought out two perfectly shaped sea-salted caramels for each of our party. Very classy, and the perfect end, Eleven.

Neighborhood: Downtown/The Strip District.
Good For: Romantic Dinner, Desserts.
Gems: Lighting, Service, Sweets.
Drawbacks: Be sure to make reservations!

Eleven on Urbanspoon

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