Tuesday, June 18, 2013

11 Eleven Bistro in Manchester

In the former home of Richard’s Bistro, sits a newer dining establishment in Manchester called 11 Eleven Bistro. As we entered the restaurant, I was struck by how the interior hasn’t changed much since Richard’s Bistro closed a few years ago. It still has the open air kitchen and the cozy feel that we especially needed on this rainy, damp evening which also happened to be our wedding anniversary.

Since it was a Tuesday night,  I wasn’t expecting a packed restaurant and while it wasn’t busy per se, there were plenty of diners. The waitress informed us that she was the only one on and she was also handling bartending duties. This made me nervous thinking that the service would be lacking but she did a good job keeping up with the customers and making everyone happy.

Having ordered some beverages, a small basket arrived. In it were two brioche rolls and butter. Oh my! These were some of the best tasting rolls we’ve had in a long time. Realizing that we shouldn’t fill up on the bread although we wanted to, it was time to order an appetizer. We were torn between the crab cake and the mushroom arancini. Since both sounded good to us, we had the server decide. She chose the crab cake but also brought over one of the arancini’s for us to try. Apparently, the new menu was making its debut that night and she wanted to know how we liked them. Both were excellent.

I don’t normally seek out a salad or really any vegetables for that matter so my wife thought it would be a good idea to share a Caesar salad. The kitchen plated them separately which was very nice. The flavor of the dressing was delicious as well as the toasted crostini’s that were placed on top instead of the typical pile of croutons.

The decision on dinner was easy – we both ordered the filet mignon. The meat was cooked properly and it arrived with a blue cheese butter compound on top, roasted vegetables, and their version of tater tots. Everything was very good. My only suggestion is that a dipping sauce would be nice for the tater tots since they seemed to be a little on the dry side.

Naturally, we had to partake in dessert. I chose the blueberry bread pudding which was fabulous! My wife went with the pot de crème – essentially has the consistency of a chocolate pudding so she was quite happy with her selection.

The restaurant is casual but you won’t feel out of place wearing jeans or getting more dressed up for dinner. We had a very nice meal and recommend it without hesitation.