First it was an Instagram story of Chilean bass at One Eleven from a service trade skilled I comply with. Then it was one other submit from a service trade buddy on his anniversary at One Eleven, utilizing a knife to chop by a big purple mushroom that turned out to be a forest cake in what must be one of the intriguing but misleading desserts in Little Rock. The very best restaurant ideas come from service trade folks, and once they’re exterior of their locations of employment sharing tales from different eating places, comply with the scent.
One Eleven on the Capital (previously Ashley’s) reopened for dinner in October after a pandemic shutdown that lasted two and a half years. Former government chef Jöel Antunes — a James Beard award winner who got here to Ashley’s in 2013 and was instrumental within the restaurant’s transition to One Eleven — introduced he was departing the resort in January of 2020. In July of final yr, Brad Izzard, a local of South Africa, was named government chef of your entire resort. Izzard beforehand served as chef de delicacies beneath Antunes at One Eleven. One Eleven introduced in October it will be headed by Izzard in addition to signature chef Alex Lobanov.
There’s actually no higher time to go to Capital Resort than in December when the large 20-something foot tall Christmas tree takes up residence within the heart of the resort’s elegant foyer and turns into one of many hottest Christmas card picture locations on the town. Among the many Christmas needs we noticed in Santa’s Christmas Ebook on the foot of the tree: a baby asking if their puppies might stay endlessly.
One Eleven undoubtedly feels upscale, but it surely has a up to date, snug vibe. The open eating room is properly lit, not too vibrant however not too darkish, with summary origami work lining the partitions and home windows overlooking bustling Markham Road on the restaurant’s north facet. Talking of the home windows, folks stored sprinting by all through the evening. Was it hard-working valet drivers, bold joggers, figments of our imaginations? Who is aware of? It was all a part of the night’s mystique.
We began with cocktails. I ordered the Midnight Manhattan which substitutes Amaro for vermouth, and it was wonderful. For about two-thirds of the ingesting expertise I used to be upset that it wasn’t garnished with a cherry, but it surely was. Because the drink neared the underside of the coupe glass, I noticed my cherry garnish in a hard and fast place in a divot on the backside of the glass. A lot intrigue.
My buddy Andy, who’s a longtime bartender, was excited to see a split-based rum daiquiri on the menu with rhum agricole and amaro. He described working out of doors occasions for a bar in Austin, Texas, and everybody working would get split- based mostly rum photographs that they known as “snaquiris.” Andy defined that rhum agricole differs from rum as a result of it’s distilled from cane sugar reasonably than molasses. The Aperol spritz (absolutely standard in all places proper now as a result of they’re the primary prop within the new season of “White Lotus”) and vodka martini have been additionally winners on the desk.
Our waiter introduced out a board with home focaccia and a beautiful pink-colored black currant compound butter that everybody loved earlier than we ordered the Crab Cake ($24), the One Eleven Caesar Salad ($16) and the Mushroom Tortellini ($19) appetizers.
Everybody on the desk was thrilled with the Mushroom Tortellini crammed with delicate beech mushrooms, Italian grana padano cheese and a butternut squash velouté sauce. It gave the impression to be topped with a foam and was garnished with colourful bulbs of butternut squash that all of us mistook for cherry tomatoes. The pasta was comfortable and tender and appeared to virtually dissolve in your mouth. One among my eating companions described the creamy velouté as completely lickable.
The only crab cake was located within the heart of a singular serving dish I’ve by no means seen earlier than that had a porous outer layer. Alongside the crab have been three dollops of purple pepper coulis and a flavorful charred corn salsa. The crab was topped with little bits of crispy greens.
Somebody on the desk thought it was odd that the serving was was a single crab cake, but it surely was a considerable quantity of crab packed into the cake. We couldn’t detect quite a lot of breadcrumbs. My buddy Amy stated it reminded her of French souffle cake she made in culinary college and that it had “simply sufficient egg to droop it in a pillowy cloud.” It was scrumptious and I couldn’t go away it alone.
The One Eleven Caesar wasn’t successful with everybody on the desk, but it surely needs to be famous that it was ordered sans bacon. Holding with the dinner’s theme, the wedge-style presentation with Caesar dressing artfully cascading down the edges of the romaine wedges was appreciated.
I believed the dressing was tasty, but it surely might’ve been used extra sparingly. My companion remarked on the anchovy taste favorably, however one buddy — who stated the most effective Caesar dressing she’s ever had was whipped tableside in Mexico — didn’t take care of the dressing.
Sourdough Crusted Chilean Sea Bass, Pan-Seared Duck Breast and Beef Tenderloin have been the three entrees we selected out of seven choices that additionally embody Potato Gnocchi, Roasted Rooster, Veal Osso Bucco and Pork Stomach and Scallops.
The Chilean Sea Bass ($49) was a superb and hearty portion of fish plated on prime of an earthy celeriac puree and topped with a dynamite shrimp sofrito that added a pleasant texture and umami taste to the fish. Adjoining to the ocean bass was a mysterious mound of clear lemon marmalade that my buddy likened to vaseline. Nonetheless, the lemon marmalade offered a very nice addition to every chunk and was tasty sufficient to eat by itself. I actually loved the sourdough crust on the outer fringe of the fish.
The Pan Seared Duck Breast ($37) was served with a carrot puree, roasted pear and a blackberry balsamic discount. My eating companion was impressed with the plating and tenderness of the duck, in addition to the balsamic and roasted pear. It wasn’t starchy in any respect, however nonetheless a satisfying portion, he stated.
The Beef Tenderloin ($58) was served with a succulent Bordelaise sauce, pomme fondant potatoes, black garlic and broccolini. One of many potatoes had a complete roasted shallot on prime that made for the right, piquant chunk. The tenderloin itself was ordered medium, which all of us agreed was a spontaneous mistake. Medium uncommon would made for the right texture for the tenderloin which was a considerably thick, massive portion.
I hope you’ve caught round for the dessert portion of this piece as a result of it was a showstopper and an ideal ending to the night. One Eleven is a restaurant it is best to expertise if you’re not in a rush and your evening revolves round dinner. It’s an excellent spot for an important day, and if you wish to wow somebody with dessert, go forward and order each of those with reckless abandon.
I already knew I used to be going to order the Black Forest Cake ($16) earlier than I noticed the dessert menu. My buddies Alex and Ryan posted a video on Instagram of one in all them chopping into the cake, which is made to resemble a forest mattress with two mushrooms resting on prime. I used to be delighted to see it in particular person once I noticed our server delivering three of them to a desk close by. After I inquired about it our waiter informed me it’s essentially the most beautiful dessert he’s ever had. He would later clarify the inside workings of the cake to me (thrice, as a result of I’m unhealthy at my job).
Chocolate sponge cake makes up the forest mattress ingredient, and it’s garnished with remarkably mild microwave sponge cake and brandy-soaked cherries. The shiny mushrooms are made with tempered chocolate fashioned round a layer of chocolate mousse. The cherry protect is encased within the heart of the white chocolate stalk. On the facet was a milk chocolate sorbet.
This cake might’ve been bland and flavorless, and I nonetheless would’ve been impressed. However it was completely implausible. The chocolate mousse inside layer with the chilly cherry protect, comfortable pillowy sponge cake and bits of tempered chocolate got here collectively completely and was additionally texturally pleasing. Added bonus for the pleasant, extraordinarily mild forest inexperienced microwave sponge cake.
Amy and Andy ordered the Chocolate Victoria Cake which has an outrageously scrumptious vanilla chantilly cream on the prime and a layer of sea salt caramel within the heart.
The bottom is the Victoria cake, which our waiter defined is flourless. It’s wrapped with a crispy chocolate collar that was delicate however sturdy sufficient to carry all of it collectively. It’s garnished across the edge with microwave sponge cake, chocolate streusel and chocolate ganache. As soon as the outer chocolate mildew is damaged, the vanilla chantilly cream begins to very slowly ooze outward. My buddy Amy stated the salted caramel on the heart made her wish to return for an additional chunk instantly and that the microwave cake across the edge visually resembled purple sea moss or bits of coral reef. Everybody agreed it was wonderful each in presentation and taste and we housed each of the desserts with no disgrace.
Reflecting on the two-plus hour expertise after compulsory post-dinner selfies in entrance of the Christmas tree, all of us agreed that One Eleven hit all the precise notes relating to the complete menu, service and presentation. We weren’t there to have a good time an important day, but it surely felt like one anyway.
Dinner at One Eleven on the Capital is served from 5-9 p.m. Tue.-Thu., and 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Reservations can be made here.
Leave a Reply