Crush Eleven at Downtown Melbourne Review

Crush Eleven has been a foodie favorite on the Space Coast for years. However, in January they decided to shake things up and leave Cocoa Village for Downtown Melbourne. The new location has an extended bar and small plates menu, and also added a lot to this historic downtown. I am very happy that they are a lot closer to me as this is one of the best restaurants around. Whether you come here for appetizers or a full meal, it is a delicious and sophisticated experience.

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The Bar at Crush Eleven

The first time we went, we were just checking out the bar. Downtown Melbourne is a big going out spot with weekend favorites like Mainstreet Pub and Matt’s Casbah. There are not any places doing craft cocktails though, so Crush Eleven is able to fill that niche. They have a gorgeous bar area with lots of room, which is an improvement from their last location. They offer an extensive wine list and local craft beer, but the innovative cocktails is where it’s at.

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I got the Tumeric Moscow Mule and Andrew got the Roasted Serrano and Blackberry Margarita. These are typical orders of ours as Andrew is on a tequila kick and I love a splash of ginger beer in my cocktails. However, we were blown away by these drinks! The moscow mule was especially gingery, with a hint of spice from the tumeric-ginger-lemongrass syrup. It also came with a piece of candied ginger. I decided to take a bite of it and I was surprised at how good it was! It’s definitely a unique taste, but the sugar coating on the ginger makes it less bitter.

Crush Eleven Downtown Melbourne

However, the margarita was the drink of dreams! For us it had the right balance of sour, sweet, salt and a bit of spice. The repesado tequila is infused with serrano peppers which add some heat, but there is no after burn from the spice at all. The blackberry puree really added some texture to this drink and also gave it a juicy feel. A drink like this will make you never tolerate a store-bought margarita mix again!

Crush Eleven Downtown Melbourne

I remembered how good Andrew’s margarita was and ordered it on our next visit. A few months later, I am happy to report, it is still of the highest quality and probably the best margarita in town. Andrew was still wanting to relive our trip to Hawaii though and ordered the Macadamia Pineapple Mai Tai. Neither of us drink rum often, so we weren’t sure what to expect from this drink, but it ended up being awesome just like the rest. The rum is infused with pineapple, which really elevates the drink, just like the margarita. Crush Eleven offers over ten different distinct cocktails, and the three we have had were amazing. Now we want to go back and try them all!

Crush Eleven Appetizers

We could not resist an appetizer on our first visit, so we opted for the pierogies. You do not see pierogies very frequently and these are pretty different than the average sauerkraut variety. Crush Eleven’s pierogies contain a mixture of potato, cheese and prunes and have a brown butter sauce and toasted walnuts on top. I was skeptical about the addition of the prunes, but it turned out to be a tasty combination. The brown butter especially tied everything together and made for an excellent appetizer. It’s small plate that leaves you wanting more, but we had to wait for our next visit.

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For dinner, we got a chance to try more of the menu. This time as an appetizer we started with the Chicken Chicharrones. They are basically pork rinds, but of the chicken variety and come with a side of “comeback sauce”. This is another appetizer that I really do not normally get, but this restaurant has so many intriguing options that brings out our adventurous side.

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The Chicharrones are served in a large cone, with more than enough to split between two people. It was a great way to start the meal off with a crispy, salty snack. The sauce added a tangy touch. It was some sort of mayo based sauce, but it was on the lighter side, so I did not mind as much as other mayo sauces. Other popular appetizers here include the Crab Stuffed Piquillo Peppers and the Fried Green Tomatoes. I really want to try the popcorn soup next time as well!

Crush Eleven Entrees

For our main course, we each got an entree and then one side for the two of us. This ended up being more than enough food. I went for the Crispy Skin Salmon, where Andrew went for their classic Sriracha Marinated Flat Iron Steak. Both dishes were outstanding. The salmon was cooked to perfection and placed on top of a white bean and fennel salad and a tomato nage (like a broth). The dish worked really well with an appealing blend of spices and textures, along with the crispy skin and the bean salad.

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Andrew loved his entree too. He always enjoys a good steak and this was one for sure. It comes with a side of avocado smashed fingerlings and these were delightful. It was very similar to mashed potatoes, but lighter and more flavorful. The dish was finished with a demi-glace making for an amazing meal. This was a lot larger of a portion than the salmon, probably a bit too big for me. Your entree size  depends on what the side is, as some are very light and others come with a more hearty accompaniment.  The shrimp and grits and ribeye are other favorites that we need to try in the future!

For our shared side, we were really torn between the street corn and the cheddar mac and cheese. Both options are starchy, cheesy sides with a twist. We decided on the slightly healthier street corn with cojita cheese, cilantro and serrano and we were not disappointed! This was an awesome side dish and was actually pretty spicy, even for us! I am glad to see they aren’t afraid to have spicy dishes, since I know we do not live in an area with the most adventurous clientele.

I still am craving the mac and cheese though, as it is tater tots on top! It sounds kind of ridiculous, but also amazing, since who can resist mac and cheese AND potatoes?! The street corn and our entrees made for a large meal so we did not get dessert that night.

I can’t find a single negative thing about this restaurant, and am just so excited they came to Downtown Melbourne. The entree prices are in the $25 to $35 range, with the exception of the $49 ribeye, and I think the quality here makes it worth it. The cocktails are pretty pricey, but they taste ten times better than any other drink around, and the beer selection is affordable. The bartenders and waitstaff took excellent care of us on both visits and made it an extremely enjoyable experience. If you are looking for a nice dinner out, Crush Eleven will not disappoint!

They also offer brunch on Sunday from 11 AM to 3 PM that I would like to try soon. I will update this review once I do, although I am doubtful it will be anything less than delicious. The Cheddar Biscuits with maple pork belly butter sound right up my alley!

Check out this blog post for more ideas for experiencing nightlife in Melbourne, Florida!