NYC: Eleven Madison Park (Apr. 2013 #1): Mom’s Visit Meal #3!
Author: Victor and Jessie (yay, a guest blogger!)
Restaurant: Eleven Madison Park
Exec Chef: Daniel Humm
Date: April 7, 2013
Dinner: Mom’s Visit Meal #3!
As some of you know, my mom and my cousin visited me last weekend, and I decided to show her some of my favorite fine dining restaurants in the city. This is stop #3 of 4: Eleven Madison Park! (Unfortunately, the second post about Jungsik isn’t really ready yet, but I think I’ll just go ahead and publish this one. We’ll have another EMP post soon enough, so this will spread it out more.)
It got dark around the time we had the seventh course (brook trout), so the pics get considerably worse from then on. I’ll have better pics in the next EMP post; Monty’s taking me there for lunch ^___^!
CHEDDAR AND APPLE
Savory Black-and-White Cookie
Jessie: I really liked this! This was like an upper-class cheese Ritz sandwich. The texture was infinitely better than Ritz, and the cheese was clearly better… but it was the same, satisfying cheesy with a little bit of sweetness.
Geleé with Tarragon
Jessie: I thought this was really good. I liked the contrast of the cool gelatin with the creamy foie. It was really refreshing.
Shaved with Sorrel Snow and Apple
Jessie: So cold… it made my teeth hurt. It was also really sour. This was not my favorite, but, as a palate cleanser, it does its job.
Sabayon with Chive Oil
Jessie: So GOOD! I really enjoy seeing eggs cut like this, because I think it’s so AWESOME. The cream is very good, and I liked the sturgeon at the bottom. It wasn’t heavy at all, which I enjoyed.
Smoked Sturgeon and Asparagus with Everything Bagel Crumble, Quail Egg, Pickles, Caviar, and Asparagus Caviar
Victor: Here’s a closer look at the sturgeon and asparagus (which were fantastic):
Jessie: This was good, but it was a more difficult dish, in my opinion, to eat elegantly. I really loved the caviar cream cheese (I love caviar, and I love cream cheese—put ’em together, and you can’t go wrong!). It went well with the bagel crisp… it reminded me heavily of cream cheese and lox, but, obviously, more delicate and less heavy. The smoked sturgeon was good on its own, but I thought it kind of overpowered the cream cheese and caviar if eaten together. To be completely honest, I usually don’t like pickles, so it’s a high compliment when I say that I tolerated the pickles here. I liked the cucumbers, though; there was a little bit of sourness from being next to the pickles, but they were definitely not too pickle-y. The salad was good. I liked the quail egg, but I especially liked the crumble underneath. Major yums.
Seared with Sunchoke, Dates, and Water Chestnut
Jessie: Really good. Definitely richer and fattier than the terrine.
Terrine with Bitter Greens, Pear, and Anchovy
Jessie: I think I liked this better than the seared one because it felt lighter. Let me just say this—when compared to the other fine dining establishments Victor patronizes, I think EMP’s portion of foie is a LOT more reasonable. I can eat this much foie without fearing that I will be at risk of imminent heart attack—but not too much more.
Left: Flakey, buttery croissant-like roll
Right: Mushroom Butter
Not Pictured: Cow’s milk butter, duck fat butter, and salt
Jessie: So yummy. I love bread. This was good bread. It reminded me of a type of Chinese pastry… the kind that flakes off… mmmm…
Tartare with Rye Bread and Condiments
Instructions: Mix all the ingredients with the tartare and shave it over the multigrain bread!
Apparently, the rye bread and condiments are static, while the type of carrot they use changes at times, depending on what’s most in season.
Jessie: I thought this dish was super fun! I liked watching the carrot come out of the meat grinder. It was also interesting putting all the little condiments together. I wish I had the foresight to taste the things going in individually (e.g., the pickled quail egg—how do you pickle a quail egg?!?). As a whole, the dish was interesting and rustic. It wasn’t my favorite of the night taste-wise, but it was fun presentation wise. P.S. the person making the carrot was mad cute.
Victor: Whaaaat—whether the person making the carrot was super cute or not is totallllly irrelevant!
Smoked with Celery Root, Pink Lady Apples, and Lardo
Jessie: I really liked this. The trout was kind of salty, but it paired well with everything else. I didn’t love the wafer thing, but it was a nice contrast of texture. The trout was cooked really really well. It was really tender and yummy.
Victor: I really enjoyed this dish as well, for generally the same reasons Jessie did. Plus, the person who brought out the dish was really cute ^__^.
Roasted with Banana and Bacon
Aged for Two Weeks, Blazed with Honey and Szechuan Pepper, and Roasted with Tardivo and Marcona Almond
Duck Broth Made from the Trimmings of the Roasted Duck
Roasted Duck Served with Citrus Duck Jus
Jessie: YUM. Really really yum. I’m a duck-loving, duck-eating–kinda gal, and this was one of the best duck dishes I have ever had. It was just the right amount of fatty to make it juicy and delicious… The skin was crispy… It had cumin on it, and it reminded me a lot of yang rou chuan/lamb kabobs (which I love), so mmmm.
Duck Confit Braised with Foie Gras and Potato Mousseline
Jessie: Omg. So good. I think this was my favorite dish of the whole night. The top was light, creamy, and deliciously buttery. The duck confit and foie gras were rich to contrast with the top part. It was a perfect marriage—the Bonnie and Clyde of food. AMAZING. So good. (SO fattening). I ate it in two spoons. Literally. It was so good. I think any more would have been overbearing, so the portion was perfect, too.
Pretzel Bread, Mustard, Fruit Cake, and “Picnic Basket” Pale Wheat Ale
The cheese and mustard were both prepared with the beer, so the whole course kind of revolved around the beer, which is custom-brewed for the restaurant by Ithaca Beer Co.!
This was cute. I thought it worked well with the smoke course and the carrot course… It came off as a more “casual” vibe to fine dining if that makes any sense. It was a twist on casual home dining. However, these “casual” dishes were interspersed with the more traditional fine dining pieces, so I thought the theme wasn’t as apparent at the time… but, now that I think about it, it makes sense. I disliked the beer, but I normally dislike hoppy beers… I liked the pretzel, except it was burnt at the ends. The pretzel was soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. I liked the mustard a lot… though it could have been spicier, I guess. I also liked the cheese.
Victor stopped me from eating all the cheese (though I could have) because I hadn’t been to the gym for 3 days. Thanks for looking out for me, bro.
Victor: You’re welcome ^_^!
MALT (EGG CREAM)
Egg Cream with Vanilla and Seltzer
For those curious about the history of the egg cream, here’s the wiki!
Crème Cake with Apple Sorbet, Walnut, and White Pepper
Victor: This was a really interesting dessert. The taste of the celery was pretty strong, and the apple sorbet provided a slightly sweet flavor profile that complemented the celery. There were also really thin slices of apple that were probably marinated in celery juice. The texture was that of apple, but the flavor was that of celery. This seemingly simple dessert was definitely more deceptive than one would think haha. The dessert was sweet overall, but it wasn’t overpowering, and it was a dessert that my mom, who doesn’t like foods that are too sweet, enjoyed a lot.
Let me just say that I LOVE sorbet. As I have mentioned before, I usually think sorbets are a little watery. This was another non-watery, perfect sorbet. It was just sweet+sour enough… great palate cleanser. The little pieces of apple marinated in celery juice were cute… a little mind game that I enjoyed immensely.
Now for the crème cake. The cake was fine. I enjoy cake. But it was nothing to write home about. The crème, now, just tasted like tasteless whipped cream. I couldn’t taste anything except for fatty crème. It worked with the cake, to a certain degree, but I thought it was too much tasteless crème to tasty cake.
Cheesecake with Mango and Peanut
Jessie: This was like cheesecake-flavored yogurt (made me feel a bit healthier). This was AMAZING, probably because it was a combination of things I love (I love cheesecake, I love yogurt, I love peanuts, and I like mangoes). Another nice sorbet.
CHOCOLATE (MAGIC CARD TRICK)
Jessie: This BLEW MY MIND. Like HOWWWWW did they do this? The chocolate was yummy enough, but not spectacular. But the presentation was SOOOO COOOL. Victor’s cousin told me that this was a traditional sleight-of-hand… but so cool at a resto.
White Chocolate Pretzel Covered with Valrhona Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt
Victor: We finished the meal with some applejack, deliciously rich chocolate pretzels, and sweet black-and-white cookies!
Jessie: I don’t have much to say about this. The inside wasn’t as crunchy as a normal pretzel, which was nice… I’m not in love with salty chocolates… so I didn’t love it as much as I could have (didn’t stop me from eating all of it, of course…).
CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA
Sweet Black-and-White Cookie with Apricot
Jessie: I don’t really remember these… Sorry, Victor. I think they were good…