Whoa…Eleven Madison Park is as good as they raved about!
James and I were able to score a reservation at EMP around the holidays this year, and since Brad and Kylie were in town, they were able to join us. It was an unforgettable dining experience, and I can say it deserves its three Michelin stars and its #4 spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. The service, the food presentation, and most importantly, the flavors of the dishes were nothing short of amazing. The interior of the restaurant is really beautiful as well — it has an Art Deco design element to it with tall ceilings and large windows.
My favorite part? The fact that the tasting menu showcases ingredients that are so distinctly New York!
To start, we were served a box of cookies and they were not just any cookies though. Inside were savory cheddar black and white cookies with apple chutney. Yum!
For the wine part of the program, we chose two white wines, Riesling and Chardonnay from the upstate Finger Lakes region, and they both tasted wonderful.
Oysters with bulgur wheat and grape snow came next. I love the sweetness from the “snow”, which makes dish light, clean, and refreshing.
Shrimp with shaved foie gras and chervil foam and sea urchin. The dish was tasteful, elegant, and showcases the briny seafood flavors.
Smoked sturgeon and zabaglione were served in a hollowed out egg shell with chive oil on the bottom. It was creamy and decadent. They substituted the sturgeon with smoked mushrooms for James because of his fish allergy – the mix included hens of the wood, porcini, cremini, and honshimeji.
Then they brought a smoke-filled bell jar with slices of sturgeon resting over charcoal. On the side were poached quail egg, everything bagel toasts, pickles, caviar cream cheese, and cucumber.
The bread and butter course was served with venison trimmings, which came from the venison dish we decided upon and was served later on.
Foie gras with truffled purple potato puree and rye crisps was rich, buttery, and luxurious.
The next course was presented so uniquely! Carrot tartare ground at tableside with toppings like mustard oil, sunflower seeds, mustard seeds, shaved horseradish, picked quince, raw quail egg, sea salt, and chives. You can DIY your own tasty bite :)
The poached lobster was probably my favorite dish of the evening. The lobster is cooked in a browned butter lemon sauce with salty guanciale. The lemon juice and shaved brussels sprouts help cut the richness of the dish.
They brought out a whole roasted kabocha squash and cut it open for us to smell the aromatic herbs inside before serving it. It was served with candied pumpkin seeds, cranberry chutney, and rosemary sourdough on the side – such a lovely cold weather dish.
Venison with sunchoke and pear, black trumpet mushroom, a side of braised venison, puree potato, and truffles. This was initially presented table side as a tenderloin in an ash log, then they took it back to slice it. The tenderloin was lean, tender, but not gamey at all.
Another whimsical experience was presented in the next course: a picnic basket with cow’s milk cheese from Vermont Creamery (rind washed with beer), fresh pretzels, grapes, red wine Dijon mustard, and a bottle of wheat ale. And it’s filled with everything we needed for a picnic – picnic blanket, bottle opener, and “paper” plate included!
Before the dessert course, we were served a vanilla bean egg cream made tableside with malt and seltzer. This is just so, so classic New York!
Fast forward 3 hours later…and we’ve come to the dessert portion of the show!
Red apple orchard sorbet with hibiscus. I love the sweet and tangy flavors in this course – bright and refreshing!
Sweet potato cheesecake with honey and chestnut is made with ingredients that are very common in savory winter dishes, which I love (especially chestnuts!)
Next came the chocolate-covered pretzels with sea salt, cinnamon black and white cookies (which were presented in a pastry box just like the savory black and white cookies we had in the beginning), and an entire bottle of apple brandy for us to enjoy as much as we wanted. Of course we didn’t finish the whole thing ;)
Last but not least, they gave us a mason jar full of fresh, organic granola for breakfast next morning! Salty, crunchy, flavorful, and best part of all…filled with chockful of crispy apple chips – the restaurant just won more brownie points from me.
And that’s all she wrote! This dining experience, along with the dining companions that made it special, is definitely one that I won’t soon forget. The menu changes seasonally, so I am curious to see what is on the menu in spring and summer.
If you have the opportunity to have one meal in New York? Make a reservation at Eleven Madison Park — I guarantee you won’t regret it!