Eleven Madison Park
Eleven Madison Park: Above – dry aged veal with ramps and bone marrow
**NOTE** The restaurant was lit ONLY by candle light and NO flash allowed. So i had to REALLY edit these photos. Sorry about the quality, but you get the general idea of the presentation and plating.
With a myriad of accolades, including fifth best restaurant in the world on “San Pellegrino – World’s 50 Best Restaurants” and three-stars from The Michelin guide. One would immediately attribute phrases like: innovative dishes, highest of quality food and impeccable service. And after reading numerous reviews, this is what i anticipated from my dining experience at at Eleven Madison Park.
Eleven Madison Park: Above – lobster butter poach with dandelion and ginger
Upon stepping through the gold polished revolving doors at Eleven Madison Park, into a muesem-like setting, I instantly felt overshadowed by the infinitely high ceilings and expansive bi-level space. At first glance, i observed the densely lit dining room. There were two small votives, perched on each white table clothed covered table, which cast the only light throughout the dining room.
I heard the clinking of silverware and chattering of voices, as the host escorted us through the restaurant. Which eventually led us to our leather, crescent shaped booth. Which permitted us panoramic views of the entire first floor dining room, which set the stage for our three-half hour dining experience.
Eleven Madison Park: Above – Radish Salad with Pike and Nasturtium
It was a whirlwind of courses from start to finish, fourteen to be exact. Each of the fourteen courses, stimulated the senses. Beginning with the “Radish Salad with Pike and Nasturtium.” Thinly sliced radish, fanned into a flower shape, with a filling of sublimely buttery pike (fish) and garnished with one simple petal of nasturtium (edible flower). The combination of ingredients were refreshingly light and uncomplicated. And was a strong introduction to Eleven Madison Park’s meticulously crafted menu.
Eleven Madison Park: Above – “caviar benedict” roe, egg, ham and asparagus served with house Made English Muffins for the Benedict (not shown here)
One of the most innovative courses of the evening was the “caviar benedict” roe, egg, ham and asparagus, a playful take on the classic eggs benedict. Served in a caviar tin, layered with a chilled asparagus terrine, uniformly cut rectangle pieces of smoked ham, topped with a velvety white poached egg and finished with a teaspoon of roe that burst with briny sweetness with every bite.
Eleven Madison Park: Above – “carrot tartare” shredded carrots and condiments, served with rye crisps
The most intriguing course of the evening was the “carrot tartare” shredded carrots and condiments. A member from the kitchen would roll a pushcart to each and every table for this course. He would then proceed to offload a dizzying array of ingredients, which included a meat grinder.
However, it was not meat he was grinding, but a carrot. Yes, a carrot!?! While grinding the carrot he would explain the course and the condiments associated with the course. We were instructed to combine the condiments with the shredded carrot, “carrot tartare” and spread the “tartare” on rye crisps. Overall, the entire course was rather anticlimactic. Basically, it was shredded carrots impersonating as raw meat. Save it for the vegetarians, give me the MEAT.
Of the fourteen courses, four were desserts courses. Which included a chocolate course called: “Name That Milk,” which involved an interactive “game.” The “game” consisted of four bars of chocolate, each with a different symbol represented on the wrapper, a pencil, a business size card with an outline of a goat, sheep, buffalo and a cow and the four symbols from the chocolate bar wrappers.
Next, we tasted each piece of chocolate to determine what animals milk it was made from. We indicated this, by drawing a line from the symbol, to the outline of the animal. Once all four animals and symbols were identified, we flipped the card over for the answers. And this completed the game.
These are just a few of the highlights from Eleven Madison Park; experiences that really took dining above and beyond the average night out.