Eleven Madison Park is a four-star restaurant. It was just named the "Most Outstanding Restaurant in America" by the James Beard Awards this year. I stopped by last week to check it out for myself.
The space is gorgeous. Huge two-story windows let you look out onto Madison Square Park. The room is spacious, sprawling, and beautiful. The service is top notch. The waiters work the room as if they are in the ballet, sweeping and sashaying by to fill your cup with water or give you homemade bread. The food is exquisite. Chef Daniel Humm knows what he is doing. This is four-star dining.
The five (that's right five) amuse-bouche I had were outstanding. First was a chilled pea soup with buttermilk snow and a ham crisp. Refreshing, a perfect starter to awaken my senses.
Next was the fluke and scallop. The fluke, with basil and meyer lemon, rested on a rice cracker. The scallop, ceviche-style, accompanied by tangerine. Two fabulous bites, just as refreshing as the previous one.
A beet lollipop served with goat cheese croquettes, and served with a watercress and chive sauce, was playful, ingenious and amazing.
My favorite dish of the night came next. I'll never forget this dish til the day I die. It was a sea urchin cappuccino with king crab and apple. After one sip I moaned with ecstasy, and started to tear with joy. If you have the opportunity to consume this cup of love, do it!
I was also served a great amuse of smoked sturgeon sabayon with chive, and caviar on a fingerling potato with créme fraiche. (It was great, but I was still fantasizing about that sea urchin cappuccino, I forgot to snap a photo)
My first course, that I ordered was foie gras. It was served two ways for me. A terrine with rhubarb and pickled ramps, was fabulous. Also, served as a sabayon with bread was great too. I loved the use of rhubarb with the dish, it was the sweetest rhubarb I'd ever encountered, it almost tasted like strawberry.
My next course of lobster was served poached with carrots and vadouvan granola. It was a beautiful dish, and I loved the unique pairing of granola with the dish, to give it an earthy crunch.
Next came variations of pork served with cherries, onions, and guanciale. All the variations were perfectly executed, and it was a great dish to showcase the beauty of pork.
Before my dessert course, the sommelier came to my table and made an egg cream for me table side. This wasn't any ole egg cream though, this was the best egg cream you'll ever have in your life. Made with malt, vanilla, and olive oil, it was beyond mind-blowing!
My chocolate dessert came in the form of a tart with salted caramel and chocolate sorbet. It was stunningly fantastic!
The meal did not end there though, for after I completed the dessert I was taken into the kitchen, to a table, where I witnessed 35 chefs cooking away, and one came in front of me and created some sort of Aperol spritzer dessert for me. It was VIP all the way. The upside of dining alone. I felt like a king (a drunk king- the fabulous wine pairing had gotten me a tad buzzed, to say the least.)
The mignardises (a type of petit four) at the end of the meal were fabulous as well. Also, Elever Madison Park sends you home with a jar of homemade granola, which is truly awesome.
Is Eleven Madison Park outstanding? Yes. This is four-star dining at its best. If you are looking for an upscale experience, then this is the place to do it. All the food is perfectly and exquisitely executed, and the service is top notch. Go ahead and check it out, sometimes you just need to treat yourself.
Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10010