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You can count on Eleven at Reunion

Posted on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:22 am

By Peter Covino

A&E Editor

You probably already know about Reunion Resort.

It’s that AAA Four Diamond getaway that’s only about a dozen miles from downtown Kissimmee, but seemingly light years away from the usual hustle and bustle of Central Florida.

With some 2,300 acres of landscape and nature, its no wonder that most people don’t even realize that there are three golf courses, inside the resort (including one rated one of Florida’s best by Golf Week Magazine), along with multi-room villas, luxury suites and more.

It’s a great place for a weekend retreat or longer, when you just have to get away from it all.

But if you don’t have time for a weekend right now, you can just have one memorable night at Eleven, the rooftop restaurant atop the resort’s 11-story Reunion Grande Tower.

The staff at Reunion invited a group of food writers to the restaurant recently, not only to acquaint them with the restaurant (as well as its nighttime views of fireworks from the theme parks), but to meet Jacob “Jake” Brenchley, the new Chef de Cuisine at Eleven.

Simply put, “Chef Jake” is the man who is putting a whole new spin on what has been a steakhouse restaurant, with an all-new menu.

Brenchley seems to be a quiet guy, with an impressive culinary background, who lets his food do the talking.

The chef, who has been the man in charge of Eleven for about three months, has spent much of that time working and reworking that new menu at Eleven, which now includes everything from Alaskan Salmon and Sea Bass, to its more traditional Black Angus steaks selections.

“I want to give you an idea of what we are about,” he said of the menu sampling, which started with some shrimp and fresh mussels hor d’oeuvres, served poolside, where a perfectly-timed sunset served as just one more appetizer for the meal ahead.

Dinner is a leisurely-paced affair at Eleven. If you have the time, and memorable evenings should include lots of time, stop at the Grande Lobby and Sushi Bar for a cocktail and some freshly prepared sushi. Chef Ha, is renowned for both his sushi and showmanship.

But don’t linger too long, so you don’t miss that sunset that awaits 11 floors away.

Up at Eleven, you can dine in the either the formal dining room or poolside, for a never-ending nighttime view.

The “Meet the Chef” preview dinner featured four memorable courses, and, of course, Chef Jake to talk a little about each of the night’s selections.

Dinner started with Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, a “For the Table” offering from the new menu. The artistic, pretty as a picture, selection, featured the Wagyu beef, served with baby fennel, foie grass cream and gooseberry, creating a really nice blending of flavors. The menu version of the carpaccio, features some different accompaniments, and is priced at $15.

Next was Roasted Halibut, an elegant seafood creation featuring lobster, almond milk, English peas, ramp pesto (a wild leek) and preserved lemon. It was perfection. The halibut is not on the new menu, but Chef Jake said it is a good example of what to expect.

From the grill, came the 1855 Rib Eye, dry aged for 21days. All chophouse steaks are seasoned with Chef Jake’s 11 spice blend (green peppercorns, pink peppercorns, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, garlic powder, chili powder, star anise, fennel seed, sumac and smoked paprika) making for an extraordinary steak.

Chef Jake also points out the menu’s 11 hot ingredients (sourced from local farms and vendors including everything from Florida grown corn to the Chipolinni Onion) make dining at Eleven something special.

Other House Creations items include Alaskan Salmon, Sea Bass, Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Chicken and Tenderloin Short Rib Burger. The House Creations selections include some of those 11 hot ingredients including Rainbow Heirloom Carrots, Anson Mills Grit Cake, Brentwood Corn and Sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke).

Side orders at Eleven are called Accompaniments and include Creamed Corn (Brentwood Corn with grilled scallions); Chipolinni Onion Whipped Potatoes; Pancetta Roasted Brussels Sprouts; and Port Braised Mushrooms (rosemary pesto, fennel and fine herbs).

The dinner ended on a sweet note with a large serving of Preserved Raspberry Crumble, a nicely tart selection created from whipped brie gelato, rose peddle sugar and mint spun sugar.

The menu at Eleven is not extensive, and that is probably a good thing because it looks like it just means more time and care has been spent of Chef Jake’s individual items.

In addition to the entrée selections, there also are Soups & Greens (Lobster Bisque, Sherried Onion Soup, Arugula Salad, Heirloom Tomato and Burrata) and other For the Table items like Filet Mignon Eggroll, Sizzling Roasted Garlic and Crispy Calamari.

Eleven is indeed a popular number at the restaurant. Not only is the restaurant located on floor number eleven, but the Chef Jake also uses an 11-spice blend including green peppercorns, pink peppercorns, chili powder, sumac, smoked paprika, coriander, star anise, cardamon, fennel seed and cinnamon to enhance the culinary experience. And that’s in addition to those 11 hot ingredients previously mentioned.

Reunion is is located off of the Osceola Polk Line Road. For more information or to make reservations visit www.reunionresort.com.