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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 / 12:13 PM

Take That, O’Fallon! Eleven65 Plants a Gourmet Flag

Take That, O’Fallon! Eleven65 Plants a Gourmet Flag

A new restaurant in O’Fallon, Mo., Eleven65 will be 8,000 square feet. That is, shall we say, large.

According to Hal Sparks, who will serve as assistant general manager and sommelier, the restaurant will seat 320 (380 including the patio).

Whoa.

When you hear about a plan that ambitious, you find yourself gulping in vicarious fear. How will Eleven65 put the butts in the seats?

“I’m not nervous,” said Sparks. “I think we have a fantastic product and we need something different in O’Fallon.”

Sparks, a former garde manger at Prime 1000, is referring to the mission and the menu of his eatery, scheduled to open on or about May 22 in the former J. Buck’s space.

The former is to be "as local and seasonal as possible” in sourcing the ingredients, said Sparks (right). “As far as I know, no other restaurant else has a truly seasonal menu in St. Charles County,” he said.

The latter is a mix of small plates and entrees with highlights like a slider trio of chorizo with crispy shallots, pulled pork with pear/fennel slaw, and Wagyu beef with bacon and gorgonzola. Clams are prepared with caramelized fennel and onion, garlic, white wine, and pesto, and served with a grilled baguette to mop the juices. A Reuben features house-cured corned beef as well as house-fermented sauerkraut. A spinach salad is made with heirloom spinach, wild mushrooms, pepitas, Parmesan, fried shallots, and a bacon/stone-ground mustard vinaigrette.

Flatbread pizza toppings include a number with smoked duck breast, poached pear, garlic-cream sauce, and a Balsamic reduction. Braised short ribs are deboned and surrounded by a moat of creamy avocado polenta and Moroccan Argan oil. Salmon receives a blood orange/kumquat glaze. A “Hog Wings” app, turning up with greater frequency on local menus, consists of pork "wrists" (better known as shanks) slathered in barbecue sauce.

Desserts include a tarte Tatin made with rhubarb and ginger, a crème brulee made with kumquat and cherimoya (a tropical fruit beloved by Mark Twain), and  – get this –  Meyer lemon gooey butter cake. 

The executive chef will be Eric Brown, formerly of the Wildwood Pub & Grill, the canteen at the exclusive Racquet Club, and Cardwell’s at the Plaza.

This sounds like plenty of reasons for foodies to get over the “shlep barrier” and trek across the Missouri River to St. Charles County.

Sparks said that the wine and bar service will be something special, too. “It’s unusual for this area to have a sommelier,” he said. “We want to do a spectacular wine program with great pairings.”

“I’m one of the youngest sommeliers in the U.S.,” the 21-year-old added. “I’m going for my ‘Level Two’ in July, which would make me youngest Certified Sommelier in the U.S.”

As far as cocktails, “I like what BC’s Kitchen has done in Lake St. Louis,” said Sparks, “a bar program that’s unique, with old and creative cocktails, from the Sidecar (left) to the ‘Zombie Apocalypspe.’ We’ll be infusing vodkas, making our own simple syrups, and pouring local beers like Six Row, O’Fallon, Schlafly, and Kraftig.”

Eleven65 will employ mixologist Casey Scott Gryder, said Sparks, who opened Buddy Guy’s Legends from behind the bar in Chicago.

His father, David Sparks will be the owner.

Eleven65
Scheduled to open about May 22
1165 Technology
O’Fallon, Mo.
636-329-0065
www.facebook.com/Eleven65

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