Eleven Madison Park is one of the newest restaurants to be awarded 3 Michelin stars in New York, having been upgraded from its 1 Michelin star status in the 2011 guide to the coveted 3 Michelin Stars in the 2012 guide.
From my experience of the lunch that I had, it not only deserved to be the crown jewel in the Danny Meyer empire, it definitely deserved every one of those stars.
There are many plus points that led me to think highly of the meal. Food aside, the service was impeccable; It was hard to fault the attentive yet non intrusive service. A good gauge of how well trained the staff are, is to ask them questions about the ingredients or cooking techniques of the dishes. At EMP, the wait staff readily answers your question with confidence without having to scoot off to seek the opinion of a manager or someone from the kitchen.
The wait staff then goes on to explain that it will be best if the other ingredients on the dish are kept secret until the dish is presented to you. That said, food allergies are asked before-hand.
The 3 course menu costs US$57 and the 4 course option at US$74.
This post has been long overdue. I dined at EMP circa December 2010. (Sidenote: Danny Meyer is looking to sell Eleven Madison Park to Chef Daniel Humm and the restaurant’s general manager Will Guidera who are planning to finance the deal with financing provided by London based hedge fund GLG Partners.)
For your information, there are 7 restaurants that have been awarded 3 Michelin Stars in the recently released 2012 New York Michelin Guide:
- Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
- Eleven Madison Park
- Le Benardin (I’ve written an entry about my visit to LB here)
- Jean Georges
- Per Se
While perusing the menu (rather, while thinking which dish to select since every one sounds sooooooo appetizing), you are served a small serving of warm mini choux pastries. The ones that I had were topped off with fleur de sel (sea salt) which made for an excellent savoury start to the meal.
But, boy, were they addictive!
Chicken veloute and black truffle brioches
The first of 3 amuses to be served was the chicken veloute which was served along a black truffle infused brioche.
The chicken veloute was slightly savoury (think concentrated chicken stock) but it was really creamy and It was probably 7 degrees on that the day that I was at EMP so being served a warm cup of chicken soup tasted so divine.
The black truffle brioche was not any less stellar. Traces of VERY finely chopped black truffles can be seen topped on the brioche.
Smoked sturgeon sabayon
The second of the amuses was a smoked sturgeon sabayon that I really liked too.
I liked the presentation that the amuse came in. The sturgeon being smoked, it was naturally salty but in a pleasant way. Small bits of sturgeon could be found at bottom with chive oil.
The last of the 3 amuses was a White truffle sabayon with soft poached egg.
There was a hint of White Alba Truffles within the custard with a soft poached egg served within, topped with a foam of white truffles.
This was clearly white truffle heaven in a glass.
The complimentary breads served were good but unfortunately they were just that. The Rosemary and olive bread and French Baguette failed to excite the taste buds. Breads were served warm.
Served with the breads was a choice of Goats milk butter and Fleur de sel (Sea Salt).
So, I went ahead and chose the 3 course lunch menu, thus skipping the first course – which would have been a cold appetizer.
Poached decadently in pure butter, the lobster was cooked beautifully. No part of the lobster meat was over-cooked, thus remaining succulent with every bite, seemingly inviting you to have more.
The accompanying butternut squash purée paired well with the piquant spice jus. For a contrast of textures, roasted chestnuts were sprinkled around the dish.
The other elements on the dish included a slice of spiced bread and a slice of sweetened apple.
I chose PORK for my main course which was essentially a duo of Pork Belly and Pork Loin.
While I waited for the dish to arrive, the thought of whether the Pork Loin was going to be tough filled my mind. When the dish finally descended upon the white table cloth, seeing that it was slightly pink in the centre, I knew that my worries were unfounded. True enough, the pork loin was very tender.
Served with a small side of Sauerkraut, the acidity helped to cut through the richness of the pork.
The other part of PORK was the small but luscious brick of Crispy Pork Belly. The pork belly was the favourite item on this plate. Served with morcilla sausage and pearl onions, they added a layer of flavour that played along with sweetness of the jus.
Pre-dessert: Kir Royale
Before the dessert course was served, a pre-course was served.
A little background on Kir Royale – It is a popular French cocktail that consists of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) topped up with white wine.
EMP’s rendition of the Kir Royal was not served as a cocktail, but rather it was served as sharp tasting cassis sorbet with Champagne foam.
I must say that while not a cocktail by any definition, I felt like I was drinking up a glass of the cocktail, albeit in the frozen form.
I am not, by most accounts, a dessert lover.
However, I liked Coconut, being the 3rd and final course. Consisting of coconut vacherin, coconut yogurt, papaya, coconut sorbet, mango, pineapple and passion fruit sorbet, this dessert was so refreshing and light tasting that I finished it to the very last bit.
I mean, how can you not like it? Just the plating and the colours of the dish look so enchanting.
Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Park (at East 24th Street)
New York, NY 10010
LUNCH: Monday – Friday: 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
DINNER: Monday – Saturday 5:30 pm – 10:00 p.m.
Telephone: +1 (212) 889-0905
Note: Reservations are recommended to be made 30 days in advance. (Visit OpenTable.com to make reservations)
About the Author
Glenn Lee first published his first blog entry as HungryEpicurean in December 2009. Glenn is currently an accounting and finance undergraduate in the University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. Born and raised in the sunny island of Singapore, he is by and large, a foodie. Like his fellow Singaporeans, he loves to explore and savour the magnitude of flavours that the many different cuisines offer. He can be contacted at [email protected].