"Eleven is FABULOUS!"
I like to seek feedback from people I trust anytime I'm visiting a hotel or restaurant for the first time. Whenever that feedback comes in the form of highly descriptive, fully capitalized adjectives, I'm going to take notice.
Eleven at the Reunion Resort combines two of my favorite things. By day it is a gorgeous rooftop pool, perfect for those like me that are highly allergic to water parks. By night Eleven transforms into a modern - dare I say hip - restaurant, with one of the best views in all of Orlando. Show me a more perfect combination, and I'll show you something that doesn't exist.
The weather didn't cooperate with our plans for afternoon cocktails by the pool, so we opted for an early dinner instead. The light mist in the air made dining alfresco out of the question, but the cozy lounges inside were a suitable back up plan. Yes, I just used the word cozy in a sentence...
Those looking for more traditional seating will find it in the open dining room. Floor to ceiling windows show off the million dollar view, while the small open kitchen brings guests into the action.
Since we missed out on our afternoon cocktails, the first order of business was removing the space between me and Manhattan. Our server made an excellent first impression by getting my rather specific order dead on, without the use of pen and paper. 4 out of 5 miss one element or another...
|Makers, Straight Up, Easy on the Vermouth, Stirred Not Shaken|
While Eleven offers a full service menu, the atmosphere is just begging for tapas style dining. Sitting in a comfortable lounge, while sipping on well crafted libation, doesn't exactly put one in the mood for a plate of salmon. Small plates were the order of the day, and the menu at Eleven had plenty of great options.
|Pretzel Bread with Honey Mustard Butter|
I started with the Laughing Bird Shrimp Tostadas, which were a bit messy, but quite delicious. The trick to avoid wearing most of this dish is to take the shrimp off the tostada, and add one with each bite.
MJ's first round was the Grilled Romaine Salad, which from the bite I stole was also a hit. Of course, anytime you put a soft boiled egg on something chances are I'm going to like it. What I found fascinating about this plate was how it started off looking like this....
And turned into this....
Next up for me were the Spicy Jerk Chicken Empanadas. This dish was beautifully presented, but didn't live up to anything in it's name. There was no spice to speak of, and the jerk flavor I expected was instead overwhelmed by the mango chutney. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed them thoroughly, I just think they should be renamed Chicken Empanadas.
The wife's next round seemed a little off kilter at first, but as soon as I tasted her Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese, I was a bit jealous. I think she ordered it simply because of the current iPhone commercial where Zooey Deschanel asks Siri where to find tomato soup, but regardless of her motivation, it was a great choice.
Since we were getting a bit full, we decided to share our last plate of the evening. I had decided the moment we sat down that the Kobe Beef Sliders would be on the table at some point, and stuck to my guns despite MJ's other suggestions. Success was guaranteed here, because I'm a fan of anything with the word "Kobe" involved, unless of course it's followed by "Bryant." But I digress...
Reunion's location on the outskirts of Orlando proper has helped make Eleven a bit of a hidden gem. Move this place a few miles closer to the city, and every hipster in the Central Florida area would proclaim it the best spot in town. And I would agree with them.
With a diverse menu, laid back atmosphere, and a view that can't be beat, Eleven blends a bit of South Beach into Orlando for a unique dining experience. I'm not one to toss around all caps adjectives lightly, but there's no denying that Eleven is indeed FABULOUS.
~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~