The eleven14 Kitchen is located within The JHouse which is a former Howard Johnson’s hotel (thus the “J” in JHouse) that has been stripped to the shell and rebuilt into a unique boutique hotel and restaurant that opened in May of 2012. After an extensive renovation, designed to a modern upscale contemporary specification, this extraordinary hotel offers 85 high-tech, but stylish guest rooms and suites. In the room, guest can use the in-room Apple iPads control all of the technology within the room from the comfort and convenience of their bed.
The JHouse celebrates the country’s only truly home grown art form – jazz – every Wednesday with live performances by the tri-state area’s most accomplished musicians. Join us every Wednesday for an evening of toe-tapping rhythmic syncopation in the stylish comfort of our bar / lounge, where you can also savor another art form – the food and drink of eleven14 Kitchen restaurant. Jazz at The JHouse, a weekly musical must!
Photo Credit: Robb Report
We had the chance to dine at eleven14 Kitchen a few weeks ago and tried samplings from the bar menu, some signature cocktails and also a tasting of their dinner menu. We also met with Chef François Kwaku-Dongo and learned about his background and how he comes up with his dishes.
Chef François Kwaku-Dongo menu features “Seasonal American cuisine with an international twist.” His creative dishes focus on the use of organic meats, local cheeses and seasonal produce.
The eleven14 Kitchen is located off the lobby beyond a lounge area and hidden by a glass enclosed gas fireplace. As you enter the restaurant you will eye an open pantry lined with pickled vegetables, infused vinegars and oils, & an array of freshly baked pastries & desserts. As you continue taking in the views, you will spot the sushi bar at the end of the bar. The bar is back dropped by a stunning wood-burning open hearth, clad in custom copper panels. A spit on the hearth is used to roast some of the meat. The dining room is a mixture of furnishings with warm leather and color throughout that radiate a lively, but relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.
During warm weather one can dine outside in the garden area that is enclosed by a canopy of vines. The outside patio has a glass enclosed gas fireplace and a water fall damping the sound from the road. The outdoor dining and bar can be used for a good portion of the year because of the system of trellises and heating units.
The extensive Wine Cellar is off of one of their private dining rooms.
As we chatted with our hosts, we sampled three different freshly prepared sushi, which was recently added to the menu. The ones we tried were not your typically sushi, loaded with rice, but full of fresh ingredients. Their sushi bar is located at one end of the regular bar and is viewable as you enter the restaurant / bar area. We enjoyed the multi-flavors of the J House Roll: salmon, tuna, cucumber, avocado, seaweed salad, wrapped in rice paper; Tuna “Sandwich”: spicy tuna, lobster, and sparkled with panko crunch; and Red Dragon; tuna carpaccio, avocado, scallion, and panko crunch.
The eleven14 Kitchen bar menu includes signature cocktails including the “B&B Bourbon & Beer” and “Before the Open.” Wendy and I shared “Rub to the Sun” cocktail, which consisted of Patron, Aperol, grapefruit, and habanero juice.
Adjourning to our table, we started off with bread sticks that all came looking like a “J”. These tasty and had a crunch to them. Chef Kwaku-Dongo started our tasting off with Oyster Gratin topped with Osetra Caviar. The fresh, succulent oyster was covered by a house made mayo sauce containing super thin shivers of Napa cabbage, kale, and arugula. This was then slightly grilled and topped with Osetra caviar. The mayo was slightly tangy from the cabbage, but did not hide the oyster, whereas the caviar added just a hint of salt.
The Late Harvest Corn Agnolotti with Parmesan Truffle Sauce was quite delicious. The ravioli was cooked al dente. The parmesan truffle sauce was little enough so that it did not detract from the delicate flavor of the sweet late harvest corn. The truffles added a slight earthy aroma and taste that added depth to the dish.
eleven14 uses the hearth behind the bar to roast the duck for the Peking Duck Sliders. The duck was full of flavor sandwiched between a excellent toasted brioche bun
Moving on, we had Pan Seared Blass Bass with Mediterranean Fish Soup. The fish soup was loaded with flavor and the perfectly cooked sea bass had a crispy skin for added crunch. Hidden within the soup was a small crab cake to enhance the culinary delight of the dish.
Our final savory dish was Mustard Crusted Beef Short Rib with Mascarpone Enriched Potato and Natural Jus. The meat was a large chunk of tender and delectable beef with a slight tang from the mustard crust. The potatoes were smooth and creamy with the mascarpone cheese giving them a velvety taste.
We had a variety of wines to accompany our tastings, including Sancerre, Hess Select Pinot Noir, and Newton Cabernet Sauvignon.
For dessert we treated to the Eleven14 Chocolate Tastings in Three Flavors. Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate or one could call it: Chocolate Lovers Delight.
To end a great night of dining at eleven14 Kitchen, try some BV Muscat de Beaulieu or an Espresso as we did.
Eleven 14 Kitchen
1114 E Putnam Ave
The bar appeared to be a hot spot as it was extremely busy for a Wednesday night and bursting with energy and activity. People were enjoying themselves not only at the bar, but in the nearby lounge areas, chatting with friends while listening to live jazz music. The food was infused with multiple layers of flavor, enticing the taste buds to ask for more.