Editor’s Note: Eleven Plates closed in 2016.
Eleven small plates, eleven dinner plates and eleven wines line the menu at Eleven Plates & Wine in Austin. My curiosity about the concept and food resulted in a delicious dining experience last weekend.
Nestled among a cluster of shops along the scenic Capital of Texas Highway, Eleven Plates & Wine is just a hop away from the well-known Austin 360 bridge (the Pennybacker Bridge) overlook.
Owners Mike and Kelly Swartz are much more than partners in restaurant-business crime.
Both sports lovers, Mike and Kelly met and fell for each other at the end of their time in college. These college sweethearts had the same number, eleven, displayed on the back of their football and basketball jerseys. From then on out, their lucky number has been eleven.
After gaining nearly 25 combined years of experience in the restaurant industry, Mike and Kelly began their next adventure. Using their lucky number as their inspiration, Eleven Plates & Wine was born.
Executive Chef Dominique Labeaud, previously of Los Angeles, brings a healthy balance of creativity, talent and flavor to his dishes. According to Mike Swartz, Labeaud is a highly talented, driven and humble chef with a true passion for sharing his food with everyone.
The menu, which rotates seasonally, offers a mixture of land, sea and field dishes, satisfying anyone’s current craving. While several menu items change with the season, there are quite a few that remain on the menu year round. According to our waitress, Lauren, many dishes found on the menu, including the Eleven Burger, Shishito Peppers, and Fried Brussels Sprouts, are so popular that if removed seasonally, there would be an uprising.
Without hesitation, we ordered the Shishito Peppers and Fried Brussels Sprouts to start. We also requested a smaller portion of the Ceviche to satisfy our curiosity, and boy was it tasty.
Unlike the preparation style seen at other restaurants of the popular Shishito pepper, the Shishito Peppers at Eleven are tempura fried and served with a sweet corn aioli sauce. The light and surprisingly not overwhelming texture of the tempura fried pepper left me fighting for the last one on the plate.
The Brussels Sprouts are also worth noting. The lightly fried sprouts were bursting with flavor and served with a lemon aioli sauce. These are definitely not your grandma’s Brussels sprouts.
In addition to the starters listed on the menu, the current starter special is the Burrata Cheese Caprese, a dish that should be a mandatory addition to your next summer meal. Challenging any traditional caprese recipes, Eleven’s spin on the mozzarella, tomato, and basil combination may change your opinion of this classic Italian dish. Using Burrata cheese (ricotta stuffed mozzarella) instead of mozzarella, the resulting creaminess alone sets it apart. The Burrata is surrounded by fresh heirloom tomatoes, basil pesto (genius!) and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. If summer could have a theme dish, the Burrata Caprese would be mine.
Thanking ourselves for not filling up with the starters, our large plates arrived with grandiose presentation. Taking advice from our waitress, we decided on the Diver Scallops with Grilled Corn and the infamous Eleven Burger.
The Diver Scallops were perfectly cooked, served aside a hefty portion of grilled corn. The grilled corn was mixed with a lemon aioli and chorizo. The sweetness of the corn paired with the salty chorizo resulted in an amazing combination of flavors. Add in a bite of scallops, and you have heaven in one bite.
The showstopper of the evening (aside from the brilliance of the Burrata Caprese and the Shishito Peppers) was the Eleven Burger. Unlike a traditional beef patty, the Eleven Burger patty is made of Akaushi beef: an incredibly tender, juicy, flavorful beef that originated in Japan and is raised in South Texas. The burger was topped with the ordinary fixins and our added Texas goat cheese, and served with a side of Truffle Fries. The simple meat, cheese, and condiment combination left us in awe.
To complete the feast, we ordered a scoop of the highly recommended house-made Berry Pinot Noir Sorbet. The cold, smooth scoop of sorbet tasted as if I were sipping a glass of slightly frozen Pinot Noir. Add this to my summer theme meal.
The Wine…and Drinks
The “Eleven” theme extends to the wine by the glass list. In addition to 33 wines by the glass (11 reds, 11 whites and 11 bubbles), there is also an extensive list of wine to purchase by the bottle. Wine is listed by category, as well as alphabetically in their book of wine, allowing for convenient wine-navigation.
Also, on Saturdays between 4 and 6 PM, ALL bottles less than $100 are half off. Talk about an awesome deal and a great date night opportunity!
Eleven Plates & Wine exceeded my expectations, not only in food, but also the outstanding service. I highly recommend taking the scenic drive to enjoy an amazing meal at this intimate, inviting restaurant!
Have you ever tried Eleven Plates & Wine? I’d love to hear about your experience in a comment below.
Meagan Vitek is a cupcake eating, wine drinking food lover living in Austin, Texas. You can join her as she nibbles her way through Austin on her blog, Nibb.le!