Posted on Sunday, 2nd November 2014
Eleven Eleven in Houston is a restaurant and bar that serves Southern Coastal Cuisine with a twist. Alongside the likes of dishes such as citrus tea brined game hen and pecan-smoked baby back ribs, there’s also a raw bar that serves a variety of crab and lobster plus 10 to 15 different kinds of oysters daily. It’s an eclectic, unconventional menu with an equally detailed beer and wine list and an inventive cocktail selection.
Eleven Eleven is housed in a 1940s home in the artsy residential area of Montrose. With its brickwork walls, dark earthy tones and a leather interior, Eleven Eleven has a loungey feel that draws in a hip and trendy crowd. There’s also a large relaxed outdoor patio area, perfect for the American social institution of brunch.
The brunch menu is slightly different from the standard dinner menu but still offers a variety of cooked meals and raw seafood options. Meat options such as a beef tartare starter (£13), hand-cut to order and topped with a fried quail egg, was really lovely. The meat was tasty although finer chopping of the meat would have yielded a better texture. All the accoutrements of capers, onions, chilli, peppers and mustard provided a perky touch to the beef, and the French fries were crunchy and delicious.
A 6 oz fillet steak ($24) from the main courses was served with some delicious hickory smoked bacon and an egg benedict with in-house smoked duck breast. It was a nice plate of food with the fillet being beautifully cooked and very flavoursome. The duck was also tasty and worked well with the egg and the hollandaise sauce. But the dish was more akin to eating two different main courses on one plate rather than one. Some vegetables sides would have helped to lighten the plate, but this was Texas after all where meat is king.
And meat was indeed king. From the seafood options the oysters of the day were really tasty. But a half chilled lobster ($19) and Alaskan king crab leg (MP), both pre-cooked and served cold were a little lacklustre and not as flavoursome as the meat dishes that we tried.
Desserts offered some decadent eating with the likes of daily fried pie and a chocolate bomb. There was also an interesting assortment of freshly baked cookies served with ice cold milk ($8). The cookies were good and there was something charming about having something as simple as cookies with milk for dessert.
But it was the peanut butter tower ($8) consisting of a creamy peanut butter filling that was the winner. The texture of the centre was like a thick creamy ganache with a rich delicious peanut butter flavour. For a flavour contrast there was a fine coating of Valrhona chocolate and shavings of white chocolate.
Sunday brunch at Eleven Eleven is a relaxed and chilled out experience although we would advise steering towards the meats rather than the seafood (the oysters were the exception). The service was friendly, attentive and informative. And the extensive drinks menu means you could spend hours lingering on the patio, chilling the afternoon away.
Food rating: 3.5/5
Service rating: 3.5/5
Prices: $30 to $100 for three course, excludes taxes, drinks and service. Seafood platters are available for about $100 a head.