Q• My husband and I were dining at Eleven Eleven Mississippi recently and enjoyed the Wild Mushrooms With Pecorino Polenta and would like to try to make this dish at home. Would it be willing to share the recipe? — Judy Harmening, St. Louis
A • When it comes to winning flavor combinations, this dish from Eleven Eleven Mississippi gets high marks. The silky polenta benefits from mellow garlic and from the incorporation of two cheeses — pleasingly sharp Pecorino, a granular cheese made from sheep milk, and from earthy goodness of a little goat cheese.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
The polenta is totally satisfying on its own, but when topped with a mixture of shallots, garlic, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and fresh spinach with white truffle oil tossed in, it’s easy to see why this dish is a year-round customer favorite. The dish isn’t hard to make, although its rich, complex flavors would seem to hint otherwise. It came together in under an hour. With preparations done in advance, the make time could probably drop to 30 minutes.
“We originally served this dish in the fall, but when we took it off the menu, our customers urged us to keep it, so it’s a standard now,” manager Bob Colisimo says.
With its Tuscan-inspired dishes, continental ambience and spacious informal patio, the restaurant gained a loyal following of regulars since first opening in 2003.
During the pandemic, Colisimo and his staff have made good use of the large patio with its sunny yellow sails above and planters full of herbs and flowers. In a city hungry for outdoor spaces, the patio is open from 11 in the morning through the evening. “We don’t close between lunch and dinner, so if people come in at 3 in the afternoon to get away from the prime lunch and dinner hours, we are serving,” Colisimo says.
The restaurant also developed a robust curbside program. “Curbside has been a great addition to our service. Monday through Thursday, every week, you can have curbside pickup for two or for four guests. The menu changes every two weeks. We also have an opportunity then to get some great wines to go at 50-percent off each week,” he says.
“People call and ask if we’re serving in the dining room, and we are, with all tables socially distanced. Our staff wears masks, as do our patrons when they’re not eating or drinking.”
Look for carefully orchestrated special events this fall at Eleven Eleven, including the second annual round of Bob’s Honey dinners in October. Every course in the three-course meal contains hyper-local honey from hives very near Eleven Eleven’s location that are tended by Colisimo, who wears his beekeeper’s hat for this fun series. “We also have honey tastings of both spring and fall honey so people can actually taste the differences — every season is different,” he says.