On this Flavor of the Week, Melissa Hall is on a journey not just for delicious food, but an experience that is sure to delight all of our senses. She finds herself eating on a bridge, in a valley in the Ozark Mountains, at the truly unique Eleven at Crystal Bridges.
The museum's mission is to combine art with the beauty of nature, and the experience you will get at Eleven, the restaurant, is not only art and nature, but incorporating the experience of food as well.
Chef Bill Lyle keeps the menu small to specialize. Three nights a week he is creating dishes that will please not only your palette, but presents it as beautifully as the art work that inspired the dish. He does this all while preparing it in the High South style.
"The High South Movement was something that was kinda coined here in Bentonville from a number of chefs in the downtown area. It's the edible culture of the Ozarks. It's taking not just the edible culture and the way we grew up here and the recipes our grandparents cooked for us and passed down generation to generation, but it's also the wide variety and the vast array of food and product that are available to us, the produce, livestock, fruits and grain. And also combine that with the new cultures in the area that have moved in."
All of this is reflected on the uncommon menu. The chef has used his life experiences fused with the High South Movement to prepare dishes that you will find nowhere else. Something new and unique is exactly what you'll find. Not only do the seasons influence the menu, but the art in the gallery does as well.
Currently, the Frank Lloyd Wright house is the Chef's inspiration for his tasting menu, each course modeled after different aspects of the astonishing piece of architecture. Such as dessert, a Deconstructed Cheesecake.
But this eclectic experience isn't just for the adults. They also feature a tasting menu for children as well. It's a three-course menu so they can eat right alongside their parents. It starts with some healthy fruits, some nice cheese and crackers. Then they have an option of pasta, chicken breast, or grilled cheese. They then have a dessert option so they can have a coursed meal right alongside their family.
It's an experience for every sense, the lights reflecting across the water, the music subtlety playing in the background, and the decadent dishes prepared fresh to order.
Try to stop by for Culture Hour, which features drink and appetizer specials, or come in on Thursday evening when you find different specials featured.