Monday, April 25, 2011

The Crab Cake is a MUST at e11even

I was invited to a tasting at e11even two weeks ago and like any tasting event, I prep by eating a very light lunch since there's usually a ton of food at tastings, and this one was no exception. Hey, I'm not complaining though ^_^  I really enjoyed the food at e11even (they serve classic North American dishes with a twist) especially the crab cake, which is, get ready, THE BEST CRAB CAKE I'VE EVER HAD. That's right people! But more about that later =D

e11even is Maple Leaf Square Entertainment's follow-up to Real Sports Bar and Grill and is a fairly new restaurant that opened back in November 2010. Although new to the restaurant scene, e11even has already created quite a buzz on Twitter; similar to School (@schoolville) and Table17 (@table17), e11even (@e11evenToronto) is very active on Twitter - they engage with everyone . Love that.

The decor at e11even is very modern with dark wood, contemporary furnishings, and plush banquettes. Once you're inside e11even you will see this beautiful bar. 

I was seated at this very long, 20-person communal table made from excavated hemlock timbers. This table stands out in the room; the rustic feel as well as the pure size of it makes a really strong statement.

How cool is this? Wine list via iPad. Over 600 bottles and 30 wines by the glass from e11even's wine cellar. I had so much fun playing with it =)

We were given cocktails right away; perfect after my stressful day at work! 

Pretty in Pink (left) - Absolute citron, Strawberry, Guava
Sunset Boulevard (right) - Sparkling wine, Passion fruit, Cassis

Master Sommelier Jennifer Huether and Assistant General Manager and Sommelier Jonathan Gosenhauser giving us an introduction to e11even.

Jennifer showing us the cool features of the iPad wine list. Just so you know, e11even is working on incorporating Google Earth into the iPad wine list so that when you choose a particular wine, information and pictures of the winery will also be displayed.

The four wines we had throughout the night include: Rose -> Red -> White -> Dessert. We had it all ^_^

We started off with bread and this bread was so good I probably ate half of it. I knew it wasn't smart to stuff myself with bread but I couldn't help it! Made perfectly round, it had a lovely golden brown colour with some salt sprinkled on top, all of that, then spread some butter inside the soft doughy centre... it was all too hard to resist.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Crisp Tortillas - I love spinach & artichoke dips! I always can't help but to order it whenever I see it on the menu. The taste and flavour of this dip was great - lots of spinach and artichoke. However, I would've preferred it to be a bit thicker.

Sheep's Milk Ricotta with Fresh Herbs and Grilled Country Bread - I really liked this appetizer as it is not something you will find on a menu. The ricotta was light and fluffy and very spreadable on the bread. The olive oil and herbs swirled with the ricotta really heightened the flavour of the ricotta too~

Crab Cake with Mustard Remoulade - So yes, hands down, the best crab cake I've ever had. Before even going into how it tastes, just look at the presentation and the pure height of the crab cake!

When I cut open the crab cake, all I see were chunks and chunks of crab meat. It was then that it hit me; the whole crab cake was all crab meat, nothing else, held together only by panko crumbs =D All I taste were fresh crab meat, large pieces it. I also swiped some of the mustard remoulade with each bite...and between bites, I would take some of that  fresh salad on top. MmmmMmmm goooooood!

Kobe Meatball in Tomato and Parmesan - This 10 oz Kobe Meatball is really something. I mean, I couldn't take my eyes of it lol - this gigantic meatball showcased by itself in its own cast iron pan was a feast on the eyes. The meat was tender and juicy, the zesty tomato sauce was thick and tasty :)  I thought the meatball itself could use a tad more flavour / seasoning though.

Double Cut Bacon with Maple Sherry Glaze - So tasty. Another unique appetizer to e11even. How can something so simple taste so good? Oh..of course it's BACON.

The savoury bacon and the sweetness of the maple glaze worked perfectly together. Just imagine, cutting this thick piece of bacon slowly with a knife and fork, savouring each bite...

Tuna Tartare with Avacado and Celery Salted Potato Gaufrettes - Another favourite of mine that night. I love tartare and I have never had it with avacado before. I was a bit weary at first because the texture of tartare is kinda sticky and avocado a bit "mushy" so I didn't know how it was going to be together....but yeah, it totally worked. The buttery avacado gave a refreshing and cool sensation to the palette and actually complimented the tartare very well. The sweet soy sauce glaze also worked, may seem odd again but just think of sashimi and soy sauce. Works right? =P O and of course there are the house-made celery-salted potato chips if you are craving some munchies in between~

House Smoked Salmon with Toast Points and Chef Sauce - This is not your typical smoked salmon from Costco guys, so no, it is not those thinly sliced ones you get from a package (not dissing those of course because I love those too hehe). But yeah, this is actual thick salmon meat that has been smoked in-house. I was pleasantly surprised at how soft and juicy the salmon was, not dry at all. Spread some of that Chef Sauce on the glistening salmon, place it on top of the toast, and you're good to go.

After all that food, Jonathan brought us to see the kitchen. This picture was actually taken from e11even's dining room - people seated there can check out the action in the kitchen from the mirror hanging from the top. Very neat.

Burgers. Which reminds me, I gotta try their "Maple Burger with Guinness cheddar, double smoked bacon, and roasted garlic aioli"!!! =P***

Private tour of the kitchen =D

We then proceeded to the wine cellar. Endless bottles of wine...row after row...after row...

Jonathan showing us some sabres. Unfortunately, no sabrage action that night.

After the tour, we were back at the communal table for dessert. 

Key Lime Pie - I'm not a key lime pie person so I'm not going to comment as I didn't eat this (I would normally try it but I was already really full so I gotta be selective k).  I'm also not a whipped cream person; I know, shocker right, you're probably thinking "who doesn't like whipped cream???" Well, me. 

New York Cheesecake - Cheesecake, I'm good. I really enjoyed this cheesecake because it was soft - wasn't too dense or hard, it was easy to cut through with a fork. Perfect amount of cheesy-ness.

Warmed Nut Brownie - I ♥ brownie and ♥ ice cream so obviously this was my kind of dessert, yeah you know, the warm ooey-gooey kind ^_^ This brownie was fantastic - the brownie was moist and chocolatey, the ice cream was creamy and lightly drizzled with caramel sauce; I also liked the addition of nuts which gave a nice crunch.

Now that I've talked about all the food, it is time to finally show you what's cool in the ladies' washroom:

Toto toilets. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiice ^_*

Yes, in case you're wondering, I brought my DSLR to the washroom lol

Anyway, I refuse to end my post on toilets!

The appetizers I had at e11even were all delicious. The crab cake trumps all but other favourites of mine include the double cut bacon and the tuna tartare. I think a visit back to e11even for their entrées is a must.

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