contributed by Katy Morris
With its elegantly cozy ambiance, welcoming staff, and a distinctive menu chock full of locally sourced, seasonal options with a global twist crafted by renowned Chef Francois Kwaku-Dongo, the eleven14 Kitchen hits all the marks for a great dining experience.
Kosher Like Me was invited to try out the restaurant, located in Greenwich, CT, at JHouse Hotel. We were delighted to learn that Chef Francois had created our very own vegetarian line up, taking us on a colorful veggie-loaded journey of American dishes inspired by cuisine from across the globe.
Born and raised on a cocoa farm in West Africa, Chef Francois had never even thought of cooking – that was the traditional job of his mother and sisters. Little did he imagine that many years later he would be working alongside the one and only Wolfgang Puck and serving celebrities on a nightly basis in West Hollywood.
Lucky for Fairfield County, Chef Francois is now at the helm of the Greenwich eatery and has taken his years of food experiences and combined them with fresh, New England inspired offerings to create delectable and diverse dishes.
“I have created a melting pot of cuisine from all over based on the farm to table concept. I hope that it brings people together and ignites memories and experiences,” the Chef explained.
Our tasting was appropriately accompanied by vibrant live jazz in the background. Jazz is said to be one of the most significant musical expressions in American culture and is derived from beats and melodies originally from African, American, and European music. Similarly, each dish at eleven14 incorporates elements of Italian, Asian, American, and even African cuisine.
To whet our appetites, we started with deliciously crunchy J-shaped rosemary flatbread and Parmesan encrusted breadsticks paired with olive oil.
Next came a petite portion of faro and lentil, topped with wild mushrooms. This was surprisingly hearty with a nutty flavor.
Then, out came what was my favorite dish of the night – an avocado, roasted butternut squash & candied walnut salad with a unique beet vinaigrette. What a perfect combination of textures and tastes: buttery, sweet, crunchy, savory, and even a little tangy from the dressing. I was delighted that Chef shared the recipe (below).
The harvest tomato soup, topped with a mini vegetable crouton (made with squash, eggplant, and zucchini) and adorned with a beautiful purple pansy, was delightfully creamy. The original crouton contrasted with crispy crunch.
Our main dish was a colorful medley of sautéed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts), with tasty spring rolls, on top of pickled radish and dressed in a sweet and sour sauce. This Asian-inspired plate had a welcome kick from the cayenne pepper used in the sauce.
Just when we thought we were done, Chef Francois presented us with a sampling plate from The JHouse’s Chocolate Lab . He kindly walked us through each sweet morsel: an apple tart with cinnamon, sea salt, and caramel; a trio of house made fruit sorbets; a mini NY style cheesecake with brown sugar brulee topping; an old-fashioned carrot cake.
Our favorite, the eleven14 chocolate cake, is made with the world’s first country of origin chocolate made and grown in Ghana from the Chef’s own family cocoa farm in the Ivory Coast. How’s that for farm to table?
Unfortunately, I dug in quite quickly and couldn’t get that shots. Mea culpa.
While the dishes we had were not on the regular menu, Chef assured us that they would happily accommodate any vegetarian requests and can recreate dishes similar to the ones we enjoyed here.
Thank you to Chef Francois and the staff at eleven14 for a great night and for providing this recipe for our readers.
(inside the J House)
1114 E. Putnam Ave, Greenwich, CT 06878
open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week
check out their website for specific hours and directions.
This recipe is parve (dairy free), gluten-free and vegetarian.
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp. honey
- ½ avocado, diced and sprinkled with salt
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 4 ounces walnuts (about one heaping cup)
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Remove the ends from squash. Cut lengthwise, and discard seeds.
- Slice squash into ½ inch circles/semicircles.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake 35-40 minutes, until squash are tender but not overly soft/mushy.
- Once Squash is finished, remove from oven, and cut into cubes while still warm.
- Drizzle honey on top.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In medium sized bowl mix together sugar, cayenne and salt.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Add the walnuts and blanch then for three minutes.
- Drain well, then immediately roll the walnuts in the sugar mixture until thoroughly coated. The sugar will melt slightly.
- Transfer the walnuts to a baking sheet or pan and bake, stirring occasionally, until they are a deep golden brown (about 10 minutes). Note: watch carefully because sugar can burn easily.
- Gently mix roasted squash, avocado, and candied walnuts together, Toss with vinaigrette(below)
Recipe courtesy of: eleven 14 Kitchen, Greenwich, CT
- 1 beet (fresh, peeled, and trimmed)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- Cut the beet into thin wedges, toss with 1 tablespoon oil
- Place in pan
- Bake at 400F for 35 minutes, or until tender.
- Cool for 15 minutes.
- Process beet, remaining olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a food processor until smooth.
- Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, discarding solids.