Eleven Madison Park - #3 on the World's best Restaurant List

Eleven Madison Park - 11 Madison Avenue, NYC, 10010

Eleven Madison Park was recently voted the third best restaurant in the world. Wanting to treat myself for my birthday, I (Mirko), was fortunate enough to get a weekend lunch reservation to try out their tasting menu. I opted for the tasting menu minus the matching wine pairing. This review will outline the different dishes that I had, but given the number of dishes, I will not go into great detail on each one.

The first thing that strikes you when you walk into Eleven Madison Park is the grandeur of the building. Subtly decorated with tables decked out with crisp white linen, this location is bright and airy and exudes an understated elegance that reflects the dishes presented.

Sitting silently at my table, I observe the staff go about their business. Their movements like clockwork, gliding across the restaurant floor tending to all patrons with an effortless ease. Now... onto the food!

Black and White Cookie
This was a variation of the traditional Black and White Cookie (a soft sponge cake-like shortbread, iced with vanilla and chocolate fondant) . This Black and White Cookie was a savoury cookie with apple and cheddar flavours.

Mixture of appetisers
The mixture of appetisers consisted of four dishes. Whitefish salad, fava bean croquette, morel with rye crisp and wellfleet oyster with caviar. All of these items were texturally different adding diverse elements with every bite. The oyster did not have any fishy overtones whilst the whitefish salad when coupled with the fish roe added salty bursts of flavour to every bite.

Cocktail
Caviar - Benedict with Spring Onion and Ham
The Caviar benedict was an Eleven Madison Park take on a traditional dish consisting of caviar, spring onion, ham and small English muffins. This dish used quail egg and the play of different textures was fun for the mouth.

Bread, Bread, Bread
Throughout the dining experience I was also presented with numerous amounts of bread. All bread was warm, crunchy and soft... delicious carb goodness.

After the appetisers were presented, my waitress presented me with options for the 'main' component of this dining experience. I opted for the Foie Gras, Lobster and Duck. 

Foie Gras
My first dish was the seared Foie Gras with sorell and fava beans. In my opinion, Foie Gras can sometimes be very rich, however this was not the case in this dish. The addition of the green elements helped balance it out and cut through the rich foie gras.

Private tour of the Kitchen!
As part of the overall experience, I was contacted prior to my reservation and asked whether there was anything that I would like as part of my experience. I asked whether I could get a tour of the kitchen and to my surprise, they obliged. It was so cool to see how the kitchen operated and whilst there, I was also treated to a shaved ice dessert made right in front of me!

Tour of the Kitchen
Shaved ice during my Kitchen Tour
Butter Poached Lobster
The butter poached lobster, as one would expect, was soft, sweet and melted in my mouth. The mash was smooth and creamy and added a nice salty element which balanced well with the sweet lobster.

Preparation of Asparagus at my table
To add to the theatrics of the dining experience, the next dish of asparagus was prepared at my table. The asparagus was poached in a pigs bladder to retain flavour and was then served straight to me.

Asparagus braised with potato and black truffle
In many instances, when poaching vegetables, if this is done for too long or not long enough, it can impact the texture and flavour of the dish. In this instance, the asparagus retained its colour and had a slight crunch before giving way to the soft inside. The truffle sauce was decadent in flavour and the small dollop of mashed potato also had a surprise of black truffle underneath. This dish, whilst looking very basic had a number of complex elements which could have overpowered each other if not properly executed.

Duck Broth
Next on the menu was the duck. Prior to the duck being presented, I was given the duck broth for tasting. The broth had a very deep flavour and from this, I knew that I was going to enjoy this dish.

Duck
My next dish was the honey and lavender glazed duck with spring onion and rhubarb. The duck was cooked to a medium rare with the pink flesh showing. The duck was soft and tender and had a number of pickled elements which added a nice element to the delicate flavours of the duck itself. The duck paired well with the red wine that I had on this occasion. This duck was served with a number of side dishes all of which were delicious.

Hudson Valley Camembert
After the main dishes were completed, we moved onto dessert. First off was the Hudson Valley Camembert with Rhubarb, Sorrel and Green Garlic. The baked camembert (inside each of the tiny brioche buns) were delicious. However at this point of the meal I was getting full. The addition of the tart rhubarb, and green garlic and sorrel pastes definitely assisted in cutting through the rich camembert mixture.  

Malt ice-cream
Next off the dessert menu was the malt ice-cream with pretzel and chocolate. The traditional combination of sweet and salty worked well in this dish with the different textures (smooth, crunchy and chewy) working in unison.

Chocolate and Cold Brew Coffee
To end the meal, each diner is presented with a box consisting of four different Mast Brothers chocolate to play a game called 'name that chocolate'. The aim of the game is simple, use the playing card to match the chocolate to the different animal milk used (goat, sheep, cow, buffalo). This is a fun way to end the meal... suffice to say, I am not great at determining the different types of milk used!

The cold brew was slightly sweet (given the different brewing method used) and was a great way to end the meal. 

Apple Brandy
At this point, I think that I was done, however I was presented with a final dish of a chocolate pretzel and apple brandy. The brandy is distilled by Eleven Madison Park and had a 40% alcohol content. This (finally) was a nice way to end the meal.

As a parting gift, I was provided with a personalised menu as well as a jar of Eleven Madison Park's in-house made granola to enjoy for my breakfast for days to come... delicious!

In total, this experience set me back approximately $400 (food, cocktail, wine and gratuity) included. The ambience, service and food was delicious and the restaurant is deserving of its number three ranking. Compared to other Michelin star establishments that I have been to, I would say that the dishes here err on the more traditional side - but there is nothing wrong with that. 

If you ever have the opportunity to try out Eleven Madison Park (or any other Michelin Star establishment), I would recommend that you do so. It's an experience that someone should have at least once in their lifetime.

Ambiance: 4/5 - elegant and understated. Lunch is a little more casual without some of the pomp that can be associated with such places.
Service: 4.5/5 - the staff were attentive without being overbearing.
Food: 8.5/10 - as one would expect from a restaurant of this calibre. Some minor points off as I would have liked some punchier flavours.

In total, OTCB gives Eleven Madison Park 17/20 chops On The Chopping Board. 


Eleven Madison Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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