When I woke up Sunday morning, I literally jumped up and down when I realized “Austin Restaurant Week starts Sunday” didn’t mean Sunday night and in fact, the participating restaurants offering brunch were getting the early ball rolling…and so would I! (Yes, it’s true, I’m writing the ARW blog (client disclosure), but this thought didn’t occur to me until the hunger kicked in that morning). Although there are so many options to choose from this round (over 55!), my brunch choice was a quick one. Of course I wanted to try the newest restaurant on the Austin block: Eleven Plates on 360 in Davenport Village. Actually, that was their first official day open! So I called to make sure they still had reservations open, then headed there just in time for their open time at 11 a.m.
There are so many things about the concept that I just LOVE:
- Eleven Plates. Every section of their menu is comprised of eleven items, or glasses, or plates. Why eleven? I forgot to ask, but my take on it is one up from a perfect ten. The theme’s just catchy, but it also provides for carefully planned dishes not under or over the magic number. And, with eleven options, at least one’s bound to jump out at you.
- The Patio. The outside patio in front of the restaurant overlooks 360, and makes you feel like you’re on your own patio at home or at a hotel. It’s intimate, yet open.
- The Herbal Tea Strainers & Presentation: See the photo above for the waiter straining the Pomegranate Green Tea into the carafe, also an innovative way to serve a glass of refreshing iced tea versus the traditional teacup or glass. Plus, what a great offering and alternative to coffee to get moving in the morning.
- Small Plates: Boy do I love small plates. They allow you to order and try lots of different flavors and textures all at the same time, or one after the other. It’s also a great way to make sure you don’t overeat, as you savor each bite of the small plate since the tastes are not endless. I need to go back for lunch and dinner because I’m pretty much sold on almost all eleven of the small plate menu items: Chicken Tortilla Soup, Grilled Artichoke, three different kinds of fries I’m having a hard time deciding between, mac and cheese with Texas homemade gouda, hawaiian albacore nori rolls….so yum!
- Wine. Not only is the wine bar inside long and open waiting for me (and you), it offers over 120 bottled wines, over 30 wines by the glass and for purchase. This just solidifies the entire concept for me.
- Dessert. I can’t even express my love for their dessert menu. Some restaurants bring the dessert menu and turns out not one item is appealing. Or, they’re out of one item. With eleven delectable dessert options, I am in heaven. In fact, if the other menus weren’t so awesome, I’d be fine with just wine and dessert. Milkshakes, cookies and creme, berries with red wine syrup, flourless chocolate tort, flourless chocolate tort, flourless chocolate tort….I’m guessing that’s similar to the chef’s famous chocolate bar that I devoured (all but the nutty part – allergic) above. So decadent and rich, just like I like it!
- Service. Their website even highlights their standard in the highest level of service, and I would say we received nothing less. From the personal tea pouring to the manager stopping by each table asking how everything was, it was nice to feel taken care of without invasive interruptions.
You can always tell that a restaurant has legs when you can’t even make a decision on what to order because everything looks so good. That means, either 1) you order everything then come back for your favorites, or 2) you have to come back to try the things you didn’t get to order this time around. I can’t wait to go back to Eleven Plates. Take a little drive to 360 and endulge. I want to hear what you order and what I should go back for!