First off, a big, BIG THANK YOU goes to our friends Hannah and Chris for giving us the gift certificate that prompted our visit to this fine restaurant on Friday night.
We had been looking forward to Friday night for months. Last night was the premiere of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. We are huge Tolkien fans and love the Lord of the Rings series. We decided to make a night out of it by adding dinner as well. After some deliberation, we decided a matinee showing followed by a late dinner would be the way to go. If the movie was good, we could discuss it at length over a nice dinner, if it was a bomb (I’m talking about you M. Night Shama-lama-ding-dong and your The Last Airbender), we could salvage the evening with a great meal.
However, between various stresses of the week and the tragic school shooting in Connecticut yesterday, we weren’t really in a jovial mood going into the movie, and it we still were a little down at dinner, even though the movie was excellent.
With all that said, we had a marvelous dinner. We were seated at a cozy table on the upper level of the restaurant with a view of what was going on in the kitchen. I really enjoyed seeing the pizzas going into and coming out of the wood fired oven. When I go back, I’ll have to give those a try.
I will say, that since I’ve started blogging about restaurants, I have come to pay closer attention to the look of the restaurant and my overall comfort level while dining. I found two things I really liked about 11 11 Mississippi, and one thing I didn’t. First, my chair was super comfortable. I will admit, I prefer booths to tables in restaurants. I prefer cooshy comfort over hard wood any day. But, these chairs were incredibly comfortable. It made me want to settle in for a long meal. Second, I found the restaurant to be appropriately warm. Usually I don’t care about warmth that much, but my lovely wife HATES being cold. When we go into a cold restaurant, it becomes a major topic of discussion and distraction. She will then proceed to go into Eskimo mode, putting on whatever coat she has at the ready. That always bugs me. 11 11 was extremely pleasant. I even commented on it at the end of the meal how nice it felt in there.
However, we were sat at quite possibly the darkest table I’ve sat at in a long while. I am not Gollum. Give me light please. We looked around and saw that other portions of the restaurant were well lit, and it was a bit annoying. Sadly, our food pictures didn’t turn out well for this post.
Other than that minor quibble, we had a great experience. Our waiter was excellent, rattling off the night’s specials with ease, and delivering prompt but unobtrusive service throughout the evening.
We ordered a couple of glasses of red wine, (Sadly, not from the Southfarthing) and ordered the Fontina Fonduta, an Italian take on cheese fondue. Before that came out, we enjoyed the focaccia bread that came with crushed garlic and oil.
The Fondue came with toasted wedges of bread, and was a nice start to our meal. I did notice at this point that I was falling into the “Filling up on bread trap” and left some of the appetizer uneaten.
Since we had a rather large gift certificate, we went all out on our meals, ordering the 12 ounce ribeye and a special of the evening, Porchetta.
Porchetta is a boneless pork roast that is stuffed with various herbs and roasted over a wood fire. It had a layer of crispy skin on the outside, and was served with its own pan drippings, atop a portion of Yukon gold mashed potatoes and green beans. It was fantastic. Some bites of pork were fork tender, and had a very full flavor, much richer than your average store-bought pork. I am not sure if it was a heritage breed hog, but it certainly showed how much flavor pork can have.
With that said, the lovely wife’s ribeye was even better. Served with a gorgonzola butter, it was perfectly cooked to her order of medium. I have a theory about beef. Outstanding beef is pretty much better than any other meat, however, most beef is just alright. This was outstanding. The lovely wife even commented, “I don’t usually eat fat. But this fat is amazing.” Yes. Yes it was. Spoken like a true dwarf.
When all was said and done, we were two satisfied hobbits. All Bilbo Baggins wanted was a quiet hole, a warm fire, a comfy chair, good food, and good company. He would have felt right at home at 11 11 Mississippi.
And so did we.