Eleven Madison Park, NYC 8
May 9, 2011
On April 9, 2011, Jo-Ann, Linda and I dined at our favorite New York restaurant, Eleven Madison Park. We started with glasses of Champagne: Pouillon Brut Vigneron, Premier Cru. The usual warm, light gougères arrived.
There is no longer a conventional menu. EMP explains:
“Our menu format is intended to offer an experience in which our guests can enjoy the inherent surprise of a tasting menu, while still maintaining some control. Dishes are listed solely by their principal ingredients, and guests are invited to make their selections, share any thoughts or preferences, including any ingredient dislikes, and allow us to design their meal from there.”
For our evening the grid was:
Striped Bass Salsify Crab Foie Gras
Cauliflower Egg Halibut Lobster
Chicken Pork Beef Squab
Cheddar Pear Grapefruit Chocolate
Diners choose one item from each row for each of the four courses. The four courses cost $125 in the evening and $74 at lunch. A tasting menu at $195 is still offered, but is only eight courses, as opposed to the former eleven. The new concept doesn’t give any written descriptions, either on paper or on the web, so I have written my own below and they will necessarily be incomplete.
The next amuse-gueule pair was a diver scallop ceviche with tangerine and dill and a rice cracker with fluke sashimi.
The lollipops were served; this time they were not frozen; they were goat cheese with beet butter on the outside: very good. Alongside were hot goat cheese croquettes with an herb dip.
Regular butter, delicious goat’s milk butter and fleur de sel were served with small, warm, brioche-like bread. It was more interesting than the usual small baguette.
We discussed the preparation of some of the dishes with our patient and informative waiter and made our choices.
We ordered a bottle of 2008 André Perret Saint Joseph Blanc, which was surprisingly elegant, but sturdy enough to go well with the first two courses.
The second bottle was a 1999 Domaine de Marcoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which was excellent.
The first course for Jo-Ann and Linda was
The orange and purple under the thin daikon radish slice on top are nasturtium and pansy petals. The crab between the two daikon slices was excellent.
My starter was
Pieces of braised salsify were dressed with mangalista ham and bulgar, an interesting light starter.
Jo-Ann and Linda went on to
The roasted piece of lobster tail and the “boudin,” or little sausage of lobster mousse, were a nice combination with the spring vegetables.
The lightly cooked piece of halibut was on a carrot butter with a pea purée alongside. The lightly steamed radishes had been halved lengthwise and lightly steamed; their leaves were delicious. Like the lobster course, this was a fine use of seasonal early spring vegetables.
Jo-Ann’s third course was
The tasty piece of beef was accompanied by a deep-fried sweetbread, potatoes and pearl onions.
The tender squab breast, top left, and confit leg, combined with “variations” of sweet potatoes, including a purée, were perfected by a chunk of smoked foie gras. Superb.
The round piece of loin and the square piece of pork belly were accompanied by peas, pea shoots, carrots and mint. There was a pork reduction glaze underneath.
There was a surprise pre-dessert, served from a cart wheeled up to our table: an updated version of the old New York delicatessen classic, egg cream. Malt vanilla syrup was put in the glasses with Ligurian olive oil, milk was added and it was all mixed by a strong stream of charged water from the soda siphon.
It was a fun and refreshing palate cleanser.
Jo-Ann’s dessert was
Linda and I chose
The Wisconsin cheddar (left bottom) and Vermont cheddar (top) were top quality. They were accompanied by crab apple jelly and a light cheddar biscuit.
A bottle of excellent cognac was put on the table along with the mignardises.
We lingered over these for a while, enjoying the glow from our meal.
We were given two bottles of the house granola to take home.