Eleven Madison Park, NYC 5

February 18, 2010

On February 10, 2010, in one of the biggest snowstorms to hit New York for several years, we met Pat and Karl for dinner at Eleven Madison Park.  Linda and I arrived first; after we were seated, the Champagne trolley was wheeled over.

Linda ordered a glass of Pouillon, Brut Vigneron, Premier Cru, a special disgorgement for Eleven Madison Park, equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 2005 as well as a Solera started in 1997. I had a glass of André Clouet, Un Jour de 1911, Grand Cru, a Pinot Noir multi-year micro-cuvée from Bouzy.  Both were excellent, mine a bit rounder.

The restaurant’s warm gougères arrived to nibble on with the Champagne.

There were more gougères after Pat and Karl arrived. We contemplated the menus and decided to order the $88 Three-Course Prix Fixe rather than the $125 Six Course or $175 Eleven Course offerings. After some discussion with the sommelière, we ordered a bottle of 2007 Eveshem Wood (Oregon) Pinot Noir. It had good Pinot Noir characteristics and went well with our varied cuisine to follow.

 The hors d’oeuvres plate arrived with five delicious tidbits for each of us including the perpetual sweetbread purée faux carrot. On the right is an heirloom beet marshmallow that was light, lovely and not too sweet.

Bread was put on our bread plates. An amuse-gueule of porcini velouté with a brioche bun arrived. Very nice.

Pat’s first course was
Nova Scotia Lobster
Poached with Piment d’Espelette, Celery and Meyer Lemon

She wrote: My lobster dish was delicious. It was very accommodating of them to make a smaller portion to serve as an appetizer portion. The sauce was very delicate and the vegetables not overcooked.


Linda started with
Lynnhaven Farms Goat’s Milk Ricotta Gnocchi
with Artichokes, Taggiasca Olives and Bacon

She wrote: These unusually-shaped gnocchi were superb. The thin slices of artichoke and the sauce went well, creating a bravo pasta.

Karl had
Heirloom Beets Salad
with Lynnhaven Farm Chèvre Frais, Rye Crumble and Nasturtium

Karl really liked the heirloom beets, especially the attractive arrangement on the plate

My first course was
Knoll Krest Farm Egg
Slow Cooked with Vin Jaune, Winter Mushrooms and Everglades Frogs’ Legs

This was nice and quite subtle. The various mild flavors did not need a stronger contrasting element, but a crunchy wafer or something to provide a textural contrast would have been nice.

Pat’s main course was
Elysian Fields Farm Lamb
Herb Roasted with Sheep’s Milk Yogurt, Cumin and Chickpeas

She wrote: My Elysian Fields Farm Lamb was very tender and cooked correctly. 

Linda went on to
Four Story Hill Sweetbreads
Sautéed with Artichokes, Black Truffles and Smoked Marble Potatoes

She wrote: The sweetbreads were light and succulent; the whole dish was excellent.

Karl had the
Atlantic Black Bass with Bouchot Mussels, Bay Scallops, Hawaiian Blue Prawns and Chorizo

I would think that the chef could come up with a better name for this good combination; none of its ingredients are in a traditional bouillabaisse. Karl enjoyed it; he said it was like a seafood risotto.

My main course was
Black Angus Beef
Bone Marrow Crusted with Braised Root Vegetables and Sauce Bordelaise

The beef was top quality, flavorful and tender, cooked just as I like it. The various winter vegetables let the beef shine. On the side was a little bowl of puréed oxtail topped with a creamy foam. This enhanced the beefyness of the whole dish.

Instead of dessert Pat and Karl enjoyed the cheese trolley. After giving their general preferences, they let our excellent captain, Eamon, select for them and they were very happy.

Pat wrote: The cheese selection was wonderful, but especially the dessert wine that Eamon helped me select to accompany it.

Linda’s dessert was  
“Caramel Apple”
Toffee, Walnuts and Granny Smith Apple Ice Cream

She wrote: The apple log and spheres had scrumptuous varying flavors. Very clever and different. Bravo. 

My dessert was
Tahitian Vanilla Soufflé
Vermont Quark and Passion Fruit Sauce

The soufflé had a perfect light texture with elegant vanilla flavor that was a good base for the passion fruit.  Mmm.

The Swiss chef, Daniel Humm, came by to chat. In our four previous visits to Eleven Madison Park we had never seen him in the dining room. Because of the snow storm, only half of the tables were occupied about 8:30 and parties in the two private dining rooms had been cancelled, so I guess he had plenty of time that evening and thought that those who made it to the restaurant were dedicated eaters. He went around to every table and seemed to spend plenty of time with each set of diners. Pat and Karl spoke with him in German, which seemed to please him. Linda and I talked to him about his recent visit to Paris and various chefs there.

We were invited to visit the kitchen and to talk to the sous-chef at the finishing table. It is enormous with a big staff all seeming busy. I am sure they are well trained.

After the kitchen visit, we were taken to the comfortable little sitting area to the left of the front door. There were macaroons and a bottle of cognac that Eamon told us went well with macaroons. They seemed good together to me.

En route from the kitchen we noticed that the front of the restaurant had mostly filled up.  Diners were still arriving at 10:00 pm. This was explained when I got home by a 6:00 pm email in my inbox from the Danny Meyer organization saying that if you have had trouble getting reservations in its restaurants, you should call and come tonight as there were empty tables everywhere due to the snowstorm. Good marketing and helpful to Meyer’s NYC client list.

The meal was excellent and reaffirms my opinion that Eleven Madison Park is the best restaurant in New York. Of course, the three-course dinner could not provide the same experience as the eleven-course menu we had the last time, but one has to have prepared a large appetite and in be the mood for that. The welcome, the service and the ambience were outstanding, as usual.

To access all five of our Eleven Madison Park posts click here

The restaurant’s website:

One Response to “Eleven Madison Park, NYC 5”

  1. Laurent V Says:

    Great review, Michael; definitely a place I would like to visit again one day. The beet salad looks fantastic.

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