The restaurant, which bills itself as a “modernistic interpretation of home grown dishes and an educated service staff,” opened this October in O’Fallon. It’s an upscale establishment, offering Dom Pérignon on its wine list and truffles in its butter. Yet its menu is presented like a school-play program. And the dessert menu? It’s an index-card-sized piece of paper as well, probably printed six to a sheet from that same office ink-jet. Granted, a menu does not make or break a place. It does, however, call into serious question the proprietors’ judgment for putting so little thought into a diner’s first impression.
Eleven65 brings upscale dining to O’Fallon. The menu consists of well-executed American dishes interspersed with standard bar fare, pizzas and pastas. Especially noteworthy are the bibb salad, a Mediterranean-inspired mix of chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese, and the mushroom ravioli, stuffed with duxelles and sprinkled with sliced exotic mushrooms all resting in a slightly sweet Madeira wine broth. The Cornish hen is given a warm spice with a garam masala rub, and the green harissa marinade on the salmon, although light, jazzes up an otherwise simple piece of fish. Eleven65’s pastry program is studded with creativity; the dulce de leche mousse with pretzel ice cream balances sweet and savory with bits of chocolate sable dough, Nutella ganache and caramelized sugar cake. The atmosphere lacks the upscale feel of the food, however, leaving diners to feel more like they are in a sparsely decorated office building than in a showroom for fine cuisine. With the food and service fundamentals down, however, this should be an easy fix.