The Tasting Menu at Eleven Madison Park – NYC

Eleven Madison Park is a gorgeous, gorgeous restaurant.  Pristine, clean lines, a flood of soft natural light.  I’d read a little about Eleven Madison Park’s history, steeped in the Danny Meyer tradition of enlightened hospitality, and its rise into the upper echelon of global fine dining.

It is one of New York City’s 3-Michelin-starred restaurants, now helmed by chef Daniel Humm and general manager Will Guidara, who bought out Danny Meyer some years ago and who have combined to somehow even further elevate the restaurant’s reputation.  Everybody I knew who had gone spoke in hushed, gushing tones about the immaculate service, almost more so than the food.  Their other restaurant at the NoMad is one of my favorites, with one mean roast bird.  If their more casual spot is churning out brioche-and-truffle-stuffed roast chicken, I had high hopes for what the flagship could show me.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Dining RoomThe meal started with a mysterious choice among four flavors.  Ignore the photo below.  I chose maple, which would appear at various points throughout the meal.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Flavor Choice The other theme to the tasting menu was an ode to New York’s culinary history.  A savory black-and-white cookie to start, with a cheddar filling.House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Savory Black and White Cookie AppleAnd then the decadence began.  An oyster with the creamy smoothness of savory vichysoisse, speckled with caviar.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Oyster Vichysoisse Caviar Scallops, with a shower of apple snow.House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Scallop Apple Pine Water Chestnut 3 House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Scallop Apple Pine Water Chestnut 2 House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Scallop Apple Pine Water ChestnutA duo of beef: first, a beef tartare dotted with caviar and packed on both sides with a luxurious spread of smoked bone marrow, tucked into a neatly cleaned segment of bone.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Beef Tartare with Caviar Smoked Bone Marrow House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Beef Tartare with Caviar Smoked Bone Marrow 2Then, a prominent ode to the New York deli: wonderfully marbled pastrami with pickles, rye, mustard, and a syrupy maple soda.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Pastrami House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Pastrami Sandwich House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Pastrami Pickles Rye Mustard House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Pastrami Pickles Rye Mustard 2 House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Maple SodaThe the next course: seared foie gras with sunchokes, hazelnuts, and Solera vinegar.  I liked the plating and the combination of sharp vinegar, crunchy toasted hazelnuts, and buttery sunchoke puree.  An elegant two or three bites, enough for a rich splash, a vignette.  And on the heels of several rich courses, it was perfectly proportioned.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Seared Foie Gras Sunchokes Hazelnuts Solera Vinegar House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Seared Foie GrasAt some point, I think it was here, that we took a guided break to step back into the kitchen.  The sense of order and meticulousness is apparent, the dedicated hum of cooks at their stations, the whirring, mechanical engine that drives the can-do ethos of “Make It Nice,” one of Chef Humm’s early English phrases and a phrase that adorns a wall in the pristine kitchen.  Our maitre’d told us that the kitchen operates 23 hours a day, in shifts of course, to handle the requirements of the full tasting menu during both lunch and dinner.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu At the Pass House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Dry Ice Dessert House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Kitchen TourA meringue cap over a citrus-y palate cleanser made with dry ice.House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Champagne MeringueWhen we came back to the dining room, we settled into the next course, a Waldorf salad made tableside.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Waldorf Salad 5 House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Waldorf Salad Tableside House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Waldorf Salad 4 House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Waldorf Salad 3House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Waldorf Salad 2 House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Waldorf Salad 6 House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Waldorf Salad 7This came with a jar of apple brandy, and a little surprise of savory-sweet granola in this two-bowl contraption. House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Apple Brandy House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Waldorf Salad GranolaNext up, lobster, uni, and razor clam – again served two ways:

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Poached Lobster Razor Clam Sea Urchin Uni House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Lobster Razor Clam House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Poached Lobster Razor Clam Sea Urchin Uni Kale House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Poached Lobster Razor Clam Sea Urchin Uni Kale 2The poached lobster was phenomenally tender, the kale leaf a strange dose of green to the sea, but anything in butter and what I think was an uni foam is more than acceptable.

A simple contrast of celery root, braised and puréed, with a black truffle jus.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Celery Root Black Truffle House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu SunchokeThis was followed by duck broth, with a gruyère crisp with sausage and mustard seeds.  I could drink that umami-drenched broth all day.  I liked the presentation as well, like a casual mid-day serving of tea.  Quite a remarkable tea.House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Duck BrothHouse of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Duck Broth 2A beautifully-dressed roast duck stuffed with lavendar, with the whole tableside presentation for which EMP is well-known, then sliced and plated with honey and rutabaga.  The duck was well-cooked, a tender medium-rare, more gamey than fat, but that lack of confit-soft meat didn’t exactly jive with the crunch of the oat crust was distracting.House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Roasted DuckHouse of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Roasted Duck Breast Lavendar Honey RutabagaA dose of fresh-baked rolls, accompanied by two butters, one made with duck fat.  Crisp and buttery, with a touch of self-applied sea salt.House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu BreadHouse of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Butter SaltI don’t have a shot of the picnic basket, but the next course came bundled up, a cheese course on our way to dessert.  Murray’s Cheese, a New York purveyor, had made an exclusive creation for EMP, this gooey cow’s milk cheese that you can spread on the pretzel baguettes with dried fruit.  The hardiness of the bread went well with the Greensward’s earthiness.  It was a pleasant transitional cheese, between the extreme saltiness of some cheeses I love (e.g. Délice de Bourgogne, Midnight Moon) and some stinky mushroom tones.House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Greensward CheeseHouse of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Pretzel Bread Dried FruitHouse of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Ithaca Beer Co Brown AleOn to the sweets: sweet potato curd with espresso meringue and orange sorbet.House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Sweet Potato Curd Espresso Meringue Orange SorbetAnd the baked Alaska, rum-scorched in another tableside display of precision.  I’m not a huge fan of meringue, but the Alaska was admittedly one of the most beautiful displays of meringue I’ve ever seen.  Some intricate Pokemon-level craziness.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Baked Alaska House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Rum House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Baked Alaska 2 House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Baked Alaska Rum Raisin MapleWe ended with a duo of semi-sweet bites: a sea-salt chocolate pretzel and a black-and-white cookie with cinnamon (not pictured).  And a double espresso, thank you.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Chocolate Sea Salt Pretzel House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Chocolate Pretzel House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu EspressoIf there’s anything about the Eleven Madison Park experience, it is the effortless and elegant thoughtfulness so seamlessly threaded into the dining experience, the ceaseless flow of crafted details and the dedicated thoroughness in their execution.  The art of service, summed up in this wordless, thankless exercise in precision and care:House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Pressing Tablecloths

Eleven Madison Park (website)
11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010
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Eleven Madison Park on Urbanspoon

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