Restaurant Review: Eleven
By Christine Furman

Our dining experience, at Eleven located on the Pittsburgh, Pa.’s Strip District was exquisite. The gentlemen at the valet station were pleasant and prompt as they welcomed us when we arrived. The ambiance that particular evening was relaxed and enjoyable as we were escorted to a beautiful private room—the perfect table for a birthday celebration for our dear friend. As we waited for our guests to arrive, the wait staff collected our drink order and brought us delicious sangria. It was sweet but not too sweet, garnished with fresh summer berries.

The Cheese Plate was recommended while we chose our first course. The variety of cheese and meat were divine: Midnight Moon, a hard pasteurized goat cheese from Holland; Fat Cat, handmade raw milk semi-soft cheese from Chester County, Pa., and others. One of our favorites was Nancy’s Camembert from Old Chatham, New York. This soft cheese is a blend of cow and sheep milk with an elegant taste. We also indulged in the Jumbo Crab Cake and Island Creek Oysters. I thoroughly enjoyed the Heirloom Tomato Salad, with large, locally grown, fresh tomatoes, basil, champagne vinaigrette, and Manchego cheese.

As we made our final decisions on dinner choices, we were greeted by a bread man, offering three types of fresh bread, such a wonderful and personal touch. Because Chef Eli Wahl and his team create a menu that constantly changes to offer the season’s best, choosing the right entrée was effortless. Ricotta Cavatelli, Beef Tenderloin, and Seafood Tasting were among the choices for the evening. Each dish was elegantly arranged and had an abundance of flavor.

I was very impressed by the accommodations and requests they fulfilled. One member of our party was arriving late, so the wait staff adjusted the time when the orders were placed to ensure the food would be ready when he arrived. They were also very accommodating to requests for changes to the menu. One guest had dietary concerns and was easily able to change the side dishes that were paired with her entrée.

The Ricotta Cavatelli was beautifully enhanced with seasonal vegetables and smooth and creamy ricotta. Many of our guests ordered the Beef Tenderloin which was cooked to perfection for each one of us. We enjoyed the juicy flavor of the tenderloin paired with potato gnocchi and seasonal vegetables, such as shitake mushrooms or roasted cauliflower, my personal favorite. The Seafood Tasting included a well-crafted variety of seafood like halibut, crab cake, and sea scallop.

Each dish was made to perfection and met all of the guests’ needs as they enjoyed each bite.

We certainly topped off the birthday celebration with a delicious dessert. We thoroughly enjoyed the Candy Bar, rich and creamy chocolate cake topped with peanut butter cream and served with chocolate ice cream. Our guest of honor even had a special Happy Birthday chocolate bar with her dessert. Other favorites were the Banana Cream Pie and Lemon Crème Brûlée. As we finished our desserts and conversations, we were gifted homemade chocolate truffles that truly melted in your mouth.

Overall, the birthday celebration at Eleven was a success: great food, wonderful atmosphere and staff, and always a great time with friends.