Neighborhood: Pittsburgh’s Strip District, 1150 Smallman St.
The scoop: After a fun-filled weekend in Pittsburgh, we thought there was no better way to end the trip than with brunch. I stumbled upon Eleven while doing research and discovered it is a part of a large restaurant group called the Big Burrito Group. I made a reservation to be safe because I wasn’t sure how busy they get for brunch. I was pleasantly surprised when they asked over the phone if we were celebrating a special occasion and if anyone in the party had trouble walking up stairs. I thought it was great customer service that they ask you this before you arrive at the restaurant. Eleven is a great two-story space located in the Strip District. The restaurant has lots of seating options — you can sit at a table inside, at the bar or on the second floor; there’s also a patio on the first floor and an outdoor space on the second floor. We chose to sit in the outdoor dining area on the second floor, which had a roof with open sides. Eleven is a pretty casual place, but it also has a modern elegance to it. Soft music played in the background to make the atmosphere relaxed and calming. The wait staff was excellent. Our server was personable, attentive and asked if we had any questions regarding the menu, if we wanted more bread, etc.
Bottoms up: Eleven has a prix-fixe brunch deal in which for $25 you get an appetizer, entrée and a drink. I had a berry-lini, and my boyfriend went with a teajito without mint (he’s not a big fan). The berry-lini was strong but not in an overpowering way. The strawberry purée gave the drink a nice twist. The berry-lini was tasty, and although I love mimosas, it was a nice change. The teajito wasn’t as strong as the berry-lini. It tasted like you’d imagine — like spiked iced tea with lime. For a tea lover, it’s the way to go.
Chew on this:
Basket of sweet breads with honey orange butter and strawberry rhubarb spread / Complimentary
We got an assortment of baked goods with our meal. They included buttermilk biscuits, a blueberry muffin, banana chocolate chip muffin and a croissant. The breads were all very good, but the best part had to be the strawberry rhubarb spread. It was delicious! I could have eaten it by itself with a spoon.
Grilled sticky / Cinnamon swirl brioche, maple butterscotch, icing. Appetizer for prix-fixe
We didn’t know what to expect when we ordered the grilled sticky. I figured I’d like it because it sounded like some kind of morning bun. To our surprise, the grilled sticky resembled French toast — one slice of brioche bread, cut in half, with a cinnamon sugar glaze. It was sticky, and boy, was it sweet. We liked it, but if you’re not into sweets, I’d steer clear.
Coconut-almond granola / Vanilla yogurt, mint, local strawberries. Appetizer for prix-fixe
We chose the coconut-almond granola for our second appetizer. Served with a spoonful of vanilla Greek yogurt, mint shavings, cute mini strawberries and raisins, the granola was crunchy and had a hint of sweetness. All the ingredients blended very well together.
Roasted peppers, mushrooms, white cheddar omelet $25 / White truffle oil, fingerling potatoes, bacon or sausage
Let it be known that I put ketchup on a lot of foods, including eggs, but my omelet needed none. This wasn’t your ordinary omelet. Bursting with flavor from the truffle oil, it was stuffed with juicy mushrooms, roasted red peppers and white cheddar cheese. There was even pepper cooked into the omelet. The bacon had an excellent smoky flavor and was cooked just right — the ends had so much flavor! Some restaurants don’t cook fingerling potatoes long enough and you end up with hard, and even-harder-to-eat, potatoes. This was not the case at Eleven. The potatoes were excellent.
Sourdough Belgian waffle $25 / Local strawberries, cultured butter, pecans, maple syrup, bacon
The waffle came already cut into four quarters with syrup on the side, pecans and strawberries on top and three sausage links. The waffle had a crispy outside and was fluffy inside — a great combo. The waffle came with a dollop of butter, which I took off. It was good enough with just the syurp. The strawberries were very fresh, and the sausage links were plump and flavorful. Eleven definitely didn’t skimp on food — I got more food that I could eat!
The final bite: I can’t say enough about my brunch experience at Eleven. The restaurant is in a convenient location close to other cool spots, the service is great and the food is even better. Eleven is an 11 out of 10!
Reviewed by: Stephanie