Reeling back to the memory of Eleven Madison Park, (November 2016), the experience didn’t just deliver dish after dish of compelling food, but it was a time with many seductive heights that brought beautifully sourced local ingredients to an elevated level. The restaurant, originally opened in 1998 and was owned by restaurateur Danny Meyer. In 2006, Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara began working at Eleven Madison Park and in 2011, they took it over from Meyer. Over the years, Eleven Madison Park has received numerous accolades, including three Michelin stars. It currently holds the top spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
You can’t help but to admire the iconic views in the surrounding area.
The mushroom tarte with black truffle relish, garnished with a truffle disc, was a little beauty and could have been inhaled by the dozen. Easily.
The truffle story continues with this crispy Maltesar sized beignet packed full of the stuff with nutty spelt.
Honeynut squash with sage and cinnamon was magnificent, sweet, nutty and aromatic, all at the same time. The caramelised sugars of the squash glistened from the brown butter that seeped into the expertly carved chess board pattern of the vegetable. The oven fresh pastries it came with, presented in its own sleeve to contain the heat within – had one job in mind, to be the crispy yielding vehicle to carry the squash into your mouth.
Seeds were added for texture.
Soon followed was 11 Madison Park’s signature, I swooned over this dish before even stepping foot in the restaurant. The lavender honey glazed duck, with delicate bundle of pickled daikon and cherry compote. The bird is roasted whole, which is frequently basted with a glaze of lavender honey, and the crispy fat rendered skin is peppered with a melange of aromatic spices from fennel, coriander and cumin. The flesh itself wasn’t the most tender I’ve tried, but what it lacked in succulence, it made up for it in flavour. That it had in abundance and it developed deeper the more you chewed. Wonderful work.
In a fish scale ensemble…
The next course were beautifully dressed salad leaves with slithers of apple accompanying some seriously good pastry – the apple tart, warm from the oven, oozing strong cheddar, that was balanced out by the tender sweet apple. There was tonnes of finesse in this course. We rated it.
The baked Alaska with citrus and vanilla, flamed with strong rum was an exciting feast for the senses. It was dreamy and shined in the already exceptional company of the other courses. The gripe on this one though, was that we weren’t served the entire pudding. Just a scoop. My curiosity got the better of me and I asked what they did with the rest of it, the answer wasn’t pleasant… “We throw it away”. I immediately asked them to bring the rest out, we saved it from the bin and relished the last helpings! I truly believe as paying guests we reserve the right to finish our baked Alaska.
Onto the petit fours, we played a game of name the milk in the chocolate with four anonymous bars, the wrappers marked were different leaves to distinguish them. We had to guess after tasting each one, then match them to animal we believed the milk came from. It was a fun, interactive way to end the meal.
When did I go? November 2016
The damage: Expect to pay $315 per person + drinks on top (£230-£250 per head)
The good: The entire meal oozed technique, taste and texture. Some things I’d come back for were the caviar, duck, honeynut squash and that salted chocolate pretzel. That’s not to say the other dishes were bad, none of them were to be honest, and trust me, it was hard to pick from such exceptional company. The exquisite service deserves a special shout out too as they enhanced the sense of occasion.
The bad: It’s not a cheap meal/experience, and there’s probably too much hype for the substance. And seriously, let the guests eat the whole baked Alaska.
Would I go again? Yes
Address: 11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010, USA
Phone: +1 212-889-0905