The meal I was most looking forward to on our NYC trip was Eleven Madison Park. With many accolades including three Michelin stars and ranked #10 on San Pellegrino’s list of the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants”, I was expecting nothing less than a stellar meal.
Reservations here are accepted exactly 28 days in advance. Their reservations office is open from 9am to 6pm Monday through Sunday and if you’re looking for a dinner reservation, you better call exactly 28 days in advance. Mike and I both tried calling right at 9am, 28 days in advance and had no luck securing a dinner reservation so we settled on lunch. However, I recommend checking Opentable.com too since. Later in the day, I found a 5:30 reservation.
They only offer a 16-course tasting menu for $195 at Eleven Madison Park. The menu is the same regardless if you go for lunch or dinner. I’m glad we were able to secure a dinner reservation since it’s a marathon meal – around 3 ½ hours long and I was pretty much ready for bed after the meal. Major food coma.
If you have special dietary restrictions, they’d be more than happy to tailor the menu to each individual. Just inform them of any allergies, ingredient preferences or dietary restrictions after being seated. Mike’s been sensitive to gluten lately and they were able to easily swap out gluten items like bread for gluten-free bread. Initially we were afraid he’d get a completely different meal but I was impressed by how easily they were able to swap out the gluten while giving him the same experience.
Right from the get-go, the service was fantastic and everything you’d expect from a three Michelin star restaurant. I loved how the atmosphere didn’t feel pretentious and never once did we feel out of place.
Since it was a 16-course tasting, I’ll try to keep this post short and sweet. Here goes!
Cheddar – savoury black and white cookie with apple. It was a great take on the classic black and white cookie and was a nice little bite to start off the meal.
Oyster – wood sorrel, buckwheat and mignonette. Fresh, light and delicious!
Jonah Crab – with avocado, finger lime and cucumber
Sea Urchin – custard with apple, sea urchin tongue and chervil. It was such a delicate dish that just melted in my mouth. Loved it!
Clam – surf clam with Morcilla sausage and celery root
Clambake – with whelk, Parker House roll and chowder. I loved the playful presentation of this dish. Our server poured hot water over the coals causing the steam to heat up the chowder inside the teapot.
Rolls – served with cows milk butter, beef butter and sea salt
Foie Gras – seared with sunchoke, dates and water chestnut. At the beginning of our meal, our server asked if we wanted our foie gras course served hot (seared) or cold (terrine). I decided to go with the seared foie gras while Mike tried the terrine. The hot version was definitely the better between the two.
Foie Gras – terrine with bitter greens, pear and anchovy. While it was a good terrine, I’ve had better.
Carrot – tartare with rye bread and condiments. After the foie gras courses, our server brought over a meat grinder and attached it to our table. Needless to say, Mike and I gave each other very puzzled looks. Turned out, this was for our carrot tartare course which was ground in front of us.
It was served with an extensive array of condiments including apple mustard, sunflower seeds, pickled quail egg, smoke dried mackerel, chives, pickled mustard seed, horseradish, apple, salt, carrot jalapeno (my favourite) and mustard oil.
When I first heard “carrot tartare”, I didn’t have high expectations but it turned out to be really tasty! I enjoyed the freshness of the carrot and the delicious condiments which really made the dish.
Lobster – poached with rutabaga, pear and lovage bisque
Salsify – roasted with apples and black sausage
Beef – grilled with mushrooms, Amaranth and bone marrow. At the beginning of the meal, we were asked if we preferred beef (140 day aged beef) or duck. We decided on the beef which was incredible and the addition of the hen of the woods mushrooms just made it a really earthy dish.
The beef was served with a side of braised oxtail and foie gras whipped potato. Oh-so-decadent!
Greensward – pretzel, mustard and grapes. Another playful presentation! We were presented with a picnic basket and our server simply said “everything you need is in this basket.”
Inside the basket, we found some cows milk cheese, butternut squash mustard, pretzels, grapes and a delicious bourbon barrel aged cider.
Malt – egg cream with vanilla and seltzer. We watched as a server came by and prepared our egg creams table side. I’ve never had an egg cream before and was pleasantly surprised. Very tasty!
Maple – bourbon barrel aged with milk and shaved ice. This light and refreshing dessert was perfect for a 16-course meal.
Earl Grey – sheep’s milk cheesecake, honey and lemon. Another wonderful dessert for the tasting as the cheesecake was actually aerated, making it extra light!
Pretzel – chocolate covered with sea salt
Chocolate – sweet black and white cookie with apricot. Coming full circle…ending with the classic black and white cookie!
At the end of our meal, we were given a jar of granola for the next morning as well as two chocolate bars which had a little card saying “Happy Anniversary.” It was the little touches like this that made the whole experience so memorable.
While some dishes were better than others, there wasn’t anything I didn’t enjoy. The courses contained unique elements and were presented in such a fun and interesting way – there was a lot of excitement for what was coming next. The meal consisted of a perfect progression of dishes and I loved that the desserts were so light. I can honestly say that my meal at Eleven Madison Park was one of the most memorable dining experiences I’ve had!
At a glance:
• Three Michelin star restaurant; #10 on San Pellegrino’s list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2012
• Only one option – a 16-course tasting menu for $195 (offered for lunch and dinner)
• Reservations are accepted 28 days in advance; If you want a dinner reservation, call them exactly 28 days in advance when the reservations office opens at 9am
• One of the most memorable dining experiences I’ve had
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4.5 stars
• Service: 5 stars
• Atmosphere: 5 stars