NYC: Eleven Madison Park (Apr. 2013 #2)
Author: Victor and Monte
Restaurant: Eleven Madison Park
Exec Chef: Daniel Humm
Date: April 13, 2013
I FINALLY got around to getting lunch with Montague here! The photos are better because of the lighting, too. Life is good.
I decided to play around and get vegetable dishes instead of foie gras or beef/duck.
Monte’s Thoughts: Last September I had heard a lot about the changes happening at Eleven Madison and thought it was really exciting that they were creating a narrative concept for the restaurant. I think the meal actually wasn’t that much of a narrative, in the sense that there wasn’t an elaborate story with lots of interaction between the restaurant and the diner. However, the food was wonderful in of itself (Hurrah!) and is all that I could possibly ask for.
CHEDDAR AND APPLE
Savory Black-and-White Cookie
Monte: I have to agree with our friend Jessie, and say that this tasted like a really posh Ritz cracker. The apple taste was really subtle and I could only taste a slight sweetness when I took the cookie apart like an oreo. The smooth texture of the top is awesome too – like icing on a cookie.
Wood Sorrel, Buckwheat, and Frozen Mignonette
Monte: Ironically, about five minutes before this dish came out, Victor and I were discussing whether oysters at restaurants could be considered “well-made” if it’s just a stand-alone oyster and the restaurant didn’t do much to add their spin. We didn’t come to an exactly conclusive opinion on it, but EMP definitely added their own touch on an oyster and it was great. I thought freezing the mignonette was genius in its conception, and the added icy crunch was very surprising but really enjoyable. The sorrel was kind of odd in its flat leafy texture, but I don’t think it detracted from the dish.
Custard with Apple, Scallop, and Chervil
Monte: Oh baby, come to me. The custard is packed with sweet seafood flavor, and the uni and scallop were very tender.
Pear and Celery Root
Monte: This was too much and I had to make one of those faces I usually make when I eat something truly out this world. No lie, I’m just sitting there like a dummy with a smile from ear to ear, grinning and unable to do anything but enjoy the food. This dish was everything fantastic about a clam chowder, and deconstructed and reconstructed into something very creative and delicious. The foam on top was very starchy like a potato, but sweet and light. The clam and sausage hiding beneath the foam were juicy, and full of flavor. There was a hint of spice from the sausage to add an extra kick. I think it’s the best single bite I’ve had all year.
Left: Whelk with Couscous and Fennel
Middle: Littleneck Clam with Radicchio
Right: Parker House Roll
In the Pot: Clam Chowder
For those who are curious about what a clam bake is, here’s the wiki!
Monte: I LUUUUURVE seafood so the surf clam, along with this clam bake, was an amazing sequence for me. The hot water they pour over the hot stones underneath the chowder-filled-teapot steamed up and hit the bed of seaweed, creating this heavenly oceanic fragrance that percolated through our table’s area. I actually felt like I was standing in the middle of the ocean, and it was awesome. Oh and of course, the clams tasted amazing.
Flakey, buttery croissant-like roll
1st: Butter made from rendered beef fat
2nd: Fleur de Sel
3rd: Cow’s milk butter
4th: Mushroom butter
Monte: The bread is amazing, and Victor and I once ate 4 apiece. I only had 2 this time, but it was amazing. The mushroom butter had a surprisingly strong mushroom taste – I don’t know how they did it, but the end product is really unique and delicious. The earthy sweetness really makes the bread savory.
Braised with Anchovy, Grapes, and Raisins
Terrine with Bitter Greens, Pear, and Anchovy
Monte: The terrine was pretty rich, but not overly so. It wasn’t quite as amazing as WD-50’s foie, but was still delicious. Yes that’s a ridiculous statement to make, and I am extremely lucky to have to have experienced both.
Tartare with Rye Bread and Condiments
Victor: They set up a meat grinder at our table for this course. Instead of mincing meat, though, they minced carrots!
Instructions: Mix all the ingredients with the tartare and shave it over the multigrain bread!
Monte: This was a really fun and interactive dish. I wouldn’t have thought that carrots could’ve tasted so good, but it did! The sweetness of the carrot was well-balanced by all the other ingredients, especially the acidic mustard and spicy floral horseradish. An extremely well-put together plate, overall.
Poached with Rutabaga, Pear, and Lovage Bisque
Monte: Hey hey, you sexay thang, can I hollatchu? More seafood, more love, more happy noms. The lobster was very well-cooked, and resulted in a sweet bite with very tender meat. The pear added some sweetness and sourness to the dish and was much appreciated.
Roasted with Apples
Monte: Looks like a twig, but tastes much better. The salsify texture was kind of like a taffy candy, with its chewiness. The jus alongisde it was really rich and worked well with lighter elements of the other dish.
Part 1: Mushroom Broth
Victor: It had all the essence of mushroom, and this broth served as a great transition to the next course.
Part 2: Mushroom Sautéed with Teff Crisps, Pine Nuts, Garlic, and Quail Egg
Victor: I LOVE mushrooms, and this course pretty much captured a lot of what I love about mushrooms. In a way, it was like taking a walk through the forest; it smelled wonderfully, and the pine nuts and garlic just made everything even more aromatic. The crisps added some texture to the soft chewiness of the mushrooms. The quail egg added a relatively small amount of richness to this (surprisingly heavy) vegetable course.
Part 3: Hash with Potato Mousseline
Victor: The mousseline was good, but I still prefer the duck and foie mousseline more hahaha.
Victor: They showed us the ribeye that they were going to use for Monte’s beef dish! (At least, it was one that they were allegedly going to use—I personally think that they just have one that they show everyone haha.)
Part 1: Beef Broth
Part 2: Ribeye Grilled with Mushrooms, Amaranth, and Bone Marrow (on a hibachi grill)
Monte: The beautiful pictures do the dish justice. The beef was perfect, with a crusty exterior and tender middle. The amaranth also added an unexpected crispy element.
Part 3: Braised Oxtail with Foie Gras and Potato Mousseline
Monte: I actually thought the mousseline was too rich – something I never thought I’d say, but just my opinion.
Pretzel Bread, Mustard, Fruit Cake, and “Picnic Basket” Pale Wheat Ale
Victor: They brought us a picnic basket and told us to “have at it!” We opened everything up and found ourselves facing all this:
Victor: The cheese and mustard were both prepared with the beer, so the whole course revolved around the beer, which is custom-brewed for the restaurant by Ithaca Beer Co.!
Monte: This dish was super playful and all the dishes blended well together. The sweetness of the fruit cake, the creaminess of the cheese, and the spicy mustard all washed together perfectly with the beer. I don’t know how to really describe it – individually all the elements were good, but together they were just a uniquely wonderful end product.
MALT (EGG CREAM)
Egg Cream with Vanilla and Seltzer
For those curious about the history of the egg cream, here’s the wiki!
Monte: I could have 8 of these. Seriously. Please.
Crème Cake with Apple Sorbet, Walnut, and White Pepper
Victor: These are my comments from the previous post (where I tried the same dessert):
“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.”
Monte: The texture of the cake was really interesting, and I have to definitely agree that the apples tasted like celery, and in the most pleasant way possible. It wasn’t bitter or grassy, but had this sweet and almost floral quality to it that is distinctly celery. It’s pretty cool :]
Cheesecake with Earl Grey and Honey
Monte: The cheesecake was good but I thought the stickiness of the honey made it hard to eat, since my molars started sticking together uncomfortably.
CHOCOLATE (MAGIC CARD TRICK)
Monte: I thought the chocolate was really good! The one pictured is raspberry, and was sweeter like a traditionally truffle, but I really enjoyed the orange chocolate with an orange jelly throughout.
Victor: As usual, we finished the meal with some apple brandy, deliciously rich chocolate pretzels, and sweet black-and-white cookies!
White Chocolate Pretzel Covered with Valrhona Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt
CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA
Sweet Black-and-White Cookie with Apricot
Monte: I love the apple scent of the brandy – it’s just perfectly aromatic without a sickly sweetness accompanying it like some cheaper liquors might. I love the nougat-like pretzel, and the black & white cookies were a perfect ending to a fantastically “new york” dinner.