Another Tasting Menu Adventure: Eleven XI

If you know me, you know I cannot pass up a deal on a tasting menu for an up-and-coming Houston restaurant. Tidbits Supper Club led Chris and I to Eleven XI, a recently opened restaurant in Montrose boasting Southern coastal cuisine. And a major plus was that this tasting included plenty of unique adult beverages!

The two story establishment was pretty packed when we arrived but we found a seat at the end of a long table with a hip elderly couple and another married couple around our age. I was a little shy at first, but after breaking the ice, conversation seemed to have a steady flow throughout dinner. This tasting menu was different in the fact that it was mostly family style servings instead of small individual plates, which benefited the “networking” aspect of the event.

I was too busy chatting and scarfing down the hors d’oeuvres to remember to take photos for the first half hour… oops! But there were raw oysters and boiled shrimp along with several different cocktails.

((Please pardon the cellphone camera pics with bad lighting — the boyfriend gets embarrassed when I use flash inside dimly lit restaurants lol))

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Fresh Gulf Coast Ceviche // fish, shrimp, scallops, Peruvian-style with shaved red onions
Tidbits Rita // Patron Silver Tequila, house-infused fire roasted jalapenos, red peppers, garlic, celery, onions & cilantro, with four-citrus infused syrup

This was what was left of the ceviche and the point at which I realized I had completely forgot to document the first part of dinner! You can tell we liked it though! I think I want to try making homemade ceviche soon. It’s fairly simple and very refreshing from this hot Texas summer. Also, this margarita was surprisingly delicious. I’m usually not a fan of spicy drinks but it paired well with the cold seafood.

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Mozz & Tom // Raindrop Farm’s heirloom tomatoes & basil-infused house-pulled mozzerella

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Texas Berry Blitz // Tito’s Vodka, fresh blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, basil & aged balsamic vinegar, topped with Prosecco

I am typically not the biggest fan of raw tomatoes but these heirlooms were so sweet and tasty. And it is no secret that I am a cheese fanatic! The berry cocktail was ok, but I think I would have liked it more without the flavor from the balsamic vinegar so that the fruitiness stood out more.

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Apricot Flounder // crispy Gulf flounder glazed with apricot sauce
(not pictured) Yellow Rose // Bright Citrus American Pale Ale from Lone Pint Brewery , Magnolia, Texas

My mom would be especially proud to know that I ate this fish! Head-on, bone-in fish usually freaks me out and I HATE getting the little bones in my mouth for fear of swallowing one (or multiple). However, my philosophy when doing these adventuresome tastings is that I am trying to broaden my taste-bud horizons, so I had to go all in! I’m glad I did because the fish was cooked so perfectly that it came right off the bone and was unexpectedly easy to eat. The glaze created just the right amount of thin, crunchy, apricot-flavored texture while the meat of the fish was very tender and moist.

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Seasonal Fruit Gazpacho // spicy heirloom tomato chilled soup
Grass is Greener // Square One Botanical Spirit, fresh avocado, Himalayan sea salt, English cucumber, freshly squeezed lemon-lime juice, topped with Squirt soda

I am becoming more of a fan of chilled soups lately. This one was particularly good, sort of like a Bloody Mary. The cucumber drink was my second favorite of the night, which was quite surprising considering I don’t really like avocados. I didn’t get much of the avocado taste, fortunately, and the drink was pretty refreshing and felt somewhat healthy which is always favorable.

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Fried Citrus Tea Brined Wild Texas Game Hen // brined in Katz Honeybush Apricot tea with fries

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Coastal Sangria // central coast pinot noir, port wine & citrus

Up until this point in the dinner everything had been served family style — several large plates in the middle of the tables to share. When this monster thing came out I was shocked that a plate was set in front of each of us. Of course I was unable to finish it all because I wanted to leave a sliver of room in my tummy for the desserts. The citrus tea brine made a huge difference in this just being any ole’ fried chicken. You could definitely taste the hint of citrus in the meat but not overwhelmingly so. As for the drink, I always love some sangria!

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Funnel Cake // carnie style

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Chef’s Selection of signature desserts // cheesecake, country apple crumble, chocolate bomb

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Espresso Martini // Katz Coffee dark roasted espresso, irish cream & fresh ground nutmeg

Who doesn’t love a carnival-style funnel cake?! The cheesecake was so light and fluffy, not dense and overly rich. The apple crumble was to die for and you can almost never go wrong with chocolate dessert. I could have had one or four more of the espresso martinis too. Heavenly!

I am looking forward to going back to Eleven XI and enjoying more of their menu items. There was plenty of variety just from the tasting menu and the small house-like atmosphere of the restaurant was perfect for a date night.

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