Jacksonville Luxury Living — 5th Anniversary Issue
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11 Reasons To Meet Me At Eleven South
Monica S. Geraci

1. The Atmosphere

The spirit of the modern space is sophisticated yet comfortable, making you feel welcome to kick back as if you are relaxing in your own living room.
You are surrounded by calming earth tones and elemental statements, such as the flowing waterfall wall made of imported Italian tiles behind a distinctly stocked bar and tables made of vibrant, yellow Silestone quartz.

There is also the modern appeal of flat-screen televisions and a long, curved bar. Candles are romantically flickering, and there are comfortable throw pillows to relax with as you dine.

2. The Open-Flame, Mesquite-Wood Grill

You can hear the spark of the flames and watch them dance while inhaling the warm, delicious aromas. Used to prepare many of the menu favorites, the grill adds a unique and authentic flavor.

3. The Menu

The core menu is based on freshness and is cutting edge.The dishes are healthy yet decadent, with bold, playful flavors.

Try the seared Kona Kampachi with sautéed julienne vegetables, fresh ginger, grilled pineapple, wakame salad and Kona coffee beurre blanc or the pecan-crusted rack of lamb with warm wild rice and orzo salad, grilled asparagus and chimichurri drizzle.

There are also many exciting lunch options to try, such as the planked wild salmon with sweet and sour mustard glaze, asparagus and Yukon potato puree, or you can quiet your craving for your favorite burger with the mesquite-grilled tenderloin burger with endless options, like fresh grilled mushrooms and crisp bacon with a satisfying side of pommes frites or fruit and yogurt.

4. The Service

The team is attentive and accommodating. There are many repeat guests for a reason and good service is one of them.

“The core purpose in everything we do is to make our guests happy, and our philosophy is to create an environment where you feel like you are entertaining in your own home,” said John Nagy, managing partner. “We can go white glove or create an upscale version of a sports night.”

5. The Taste

With a rich repertoire of appetizers inspired by Mediterranean traditions, the fare is gourmet, flavorful and tantalizing. My first dining experience began with the focaccia caprese, which consists of freshly baked, caramelized onion focaccia with bright heirloom tomatoes, house-made mozzarella, fleur de sol, fresh basil pesto, first press olive oil and aged balsamic.

My next dish was the “Amalfi Coast” pasta with succulent mussels and little neck clams; warm, blistered tomatoes; house made spaghetti enriched with a subtle white wine butter sauce; and aged Parmesan. As visions of Italy danced in my head, I tried the black mission figs stuffed with Gabriel Coulet Roquefort cheese beautifully wrapped with prosciutto and roasted with aged balsamic. This was just the beginning of my fantastic culinary adventure.

The line caught wild salmon tartar with California Osetra caviar, crème and fraîche atop marinated cucumber slices instantly became a favorite. The “carne asada,” a dish of marinated, grilled and sliced flank steak was tender and moist and perfectly paired with jalapeño-honey cornbread, pico de gallo and finished with poblano sauce.

Each was stunning in presentation, especially the Colossal crab and fennel flan with Hawaiian tuna tartar topped with a playful potato nest and a bit of cilantro oil. My grand finish was the grouper BLT, a perfectly cooked fillet of grouper delicately wrapped in savory bacon against a lightly fried yellow tomato with a focaccia crouton.

The food was well thought out and well designed with flavors bringing out the best in each other, like a good marriage should do.

6. The Wine List

The wine list is a sourcebook for the enthusiast, and the art of pairing food with wine has been honored and perfected at Eleven South. The staff is very knowledgeable and you can put your trust in them to select the most superb wine to perfectly complement the components of your dish.

Whether you are in the mood for a clean, crisp white or a ripe, fullbodied red, you are sure to find it here.

7. The Artisanal Wine & Cheese Club

On the first Monday of each month, you can look forward to a delicious cheese tasting event where your senses will come alive. You will explore the world of artisanal handcrafted cheeses accompanied by a divine wine pairing.

8. The Cocktails & Appetizers

Meeting for a drink was never so excellent. Unwind with an Ocean Breeze martini with Grey Goose vodka, fresh red grapefruit juice and basil infused simple syrup and grab a gourmet bite of lobster mac and cheese or the beautiful tomato bisque.

9. The Events

With events like celebrity Chef Pom’s Thai Bistro Night; Best of Sonoma Wine Dinners; Champagne, Caviar and Vodka Parties; and King Estate Wine Dinner, it’s no surprise that www.elevensouth.com is a bookmarked favorite of mine. Reservations are recommended for these popular events.

10. The Passion

To keep up with cutting-edge trends in exquisite fare, the proprietors often travel to hot spots like Italy, New York, San Francisco, Oregon and Washington “to see what’s next and bring it back to Jacksonville,” said Nagy. There is plenty of buzz about their newest endeavor, N’Town Bistro, in Avondale set to debut later this year.

The restaurant features a variety of “little plates” to give you the chance to try an array of palate pleasers. The space is shared with Emly Benham’s, an upscale boutique, and will be a fun experience to enjoy great food, wine and shopping.

11. The Location

Appropriately located near the ocean on 11th Avenue South in Jacksonville Beach, it is a great destination and meeting spot for lunch or dinner.

Thoughtful, innovative and adventurous, the cuisine invokes thoughts of the Mediterranean in a new, fresh way. Ever-evolving Eleven South Bistro proves to be a new and unforgettable experience every time.