8Eleven Modern Bistro Serves Up One of the Best Meals in the State

*I received a complimentary meal for the purpose review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

I haven’t been doing a lot of traveling this year - way less than in a typical year. But, it’s not a typical year - that’s for sure. I’ve been easing back into traveling with several day trips and this weekend got away for just my second hotel stay since the onset of the pandemic. 

I’m visiting the Union Club Hotel, which is owned by Purdue University and recently re-opened following a $35 million renovation. The boutique hotel is beautifully decorated with modern features and decor, but a nod to the past in photography, woodwork and academic logos worked into the design. 

The hotel first opened in 1929 as an addition to the Purdue Memorial Union. Additions were made over the years and the last large-scale renovation took place in the 1980s. The iconic building will be part of the hands-on learning laboratory for students in the Hospitality and Tourism management program scheduled to begin next year. 

The hotel is managed by White Lodging, one of the largest hotel development and management companies in the country with over 80 premium-brand hotels. White Lodging was founded by Purdue alum Bruce White and the company is based in Northwest Indiana.

Along with the re-opening of the hotel comes the introduction of new dining options and as part of our visit, we enjoyed a meal at 8Eleven Bistro, a full-service, upscale French/American-inspired eatery named for two NASA missions (Gemini 8 and Apollo 11) commanded by Purdue alumnus Neil Armstrong. 

The menu includes a number of classics and some updated versions of favorites, all in super high-quality form. Among the starters are crab croquettes, burrata, duck rillette and roasted bone marrow. We tried the oysters and gulf shrimp cocktail, which were both superb.

A number of salads are offered - a golden beets and apple salad, a grilled tuna salad, a frisée salad and more. We had a hard time making a decision on entrees with some more casual options like a Prime Rib French Dip and Brush Creek Ranch Wagyu Cheeseburger, pastas like Truffled Spaghetti and Wild Mushroom Bolognese and some impressive seafood entrees, like Ora King Salmon and Diver Scallops. I finally settled on Halibut, which was cooked to perfection and flanked with heirloom tomatoes, fennel and sweet peppers. My husband couldn’t resist the special - Filet Oscar,  which he ordered cooked medium and was topped with generous amounts of lump crab and dripping with delicious hollandaise over asparagus. He said it was one of the best steaks he’d ever eaten and I of course, sampled it, too and I completely agree. It’s definitely one of the best meals I’ve had this year and 8Eleven will definitely be added to my list of top eateries in Indiana. I’m planning a revisit for breakfast in the morning and I can’t wait.