NYC: Eleven Madison Park (June 2013)
Author: Victor and Maria
Restaurant: Eleven Madison Park
Exec Chef: Daniel Humm
Date: June 14, 2013
We decided to go to EMP to celebrate my friend’s birthday! She’s wanted to try it for a while now, and she was happy that it lived up to her expectations.
CHEDDAR AND APPLE
Savory Black-and-White Cookie
Maria: Really liked these and actually liked them a lot more than the sweet version (maybe that’s just cause I don’t like sweets). Super buttery with the perfect crumbly texture. This is what a Ritz cheese cracker wants to be when it grows up.
Wood Sorrel, Buckwheat, and Frozen Mignonette
Maria: The oyster itself was good and I liked that it was served cold, but the mignonette was a little sour for my taste. Beautiful presentation.
Custard with Caviar and Rhubarb
Maria: The custard and the caviar were really good and the asparagus added some nice texture and freshness. Honestly, didnt taste much rhubarb though, not that that took anything away from the dish.
Fava Bean, Meyer Lemon, and Green Garlic
Maria: This was one of my favorites. The cream/sauce was served at the perfect warm temperature and felt like comfort food without being heavy. I like that the presentation is thematic without being gimmicky.
Front: Whelk with Couscous and Fennel
Middle: Littleneck Clam with Radicchio
Back: Parker House Roll
In the Pot: Clam Chowder
For those who are curious about what a clam bake is, here’s the wiki!
Maria: Fun dish!! And I love the scent of the beach when the server pours water over the hot stones and steam rises. You can almost hear the waves at that point. The clam, whelk and bread were all really good, but the standout was definitely the clam chowder for me. Intensely clam-flavored and creamy without feeling thick or heavy.
Flakey, buttery croissant-like roll
1st: Cow’s milk butter rolled in duck fat
2nd: Fleur de Sel
3rd: Cow’s milk butter
Maria: Love the smokiness of the butter rolled in duck fat.
Salad with Bitter Almond, Buttermilk, and Miner’s Lettuce
Terrine with Black Truffle and Asparagus
Seared with Asparagus and Potato Crumble
Maria: This was a good sear, with a crispy caramelized crust. Also the serving size is more reasonable than other restaurants, given how rich foie can be. I was a pleasantly surprised with the how flavorful the sauce was cause French cooking is more subtle than say—Chinese cooking.
Tartare with Rye Bread and Condiments
Instructions: Mix all the ingredients with the tartare and shave it over the multigrain bread!
Maria: Carrots were super bright orange! And tasted very sweet. My only regret is that I didn’t taste some of the individual mix-ins before mixing it all together. I’m curious what the pickled quail egg tastes like for instance.
Butter-poached with Snap Peas, Morels, and Veal Sweetbreads
Maria: So many of my favorite ingredients!! And this presentation screams SPRING which I really liked. I think they did a really good job balancing here. Morels and lobsters are more meaty/chewy. The sweetbreads were crispy and the snap peas added some nice crunch and sweetness
Creamed with Fingerling Potato and Goat Cheese
Maria: Hm. I don’t know if they hadn’t explained the dish that it was nettles and not spinach. Lots of different textures on this plate too!
Part 1: Duck Prosciutto with Pickled Lettuce
(Chris and Maria’s version had shavings of foie gras; I asked for no foie for my meal today.)
Maria: Ohhh the lettuce was pickled. I did take a bite of lettuce at one point and was kinda surprised! But that acidity was good because the saltiness and creaminess of the shaving of foie gras that ours came with.
Part 2: Roasted Duck with Pistachio, Rhubarb, and Fennel
Maria: Really really liked this duck. Probably my favorite piece of duck ever. KINDA wish we had gotten a bigger serving of it though. Skin was super crispy but didn’t feel oily, and I loved the Sichuan peppercorns on it! And I liked the lavender/honey over the sometimes overly sweet duck+ orange classic combination.
Pretzel Bread, Mustard, Pickled Strawberries, and “Picnic Basket” Pale Wheat Ale
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.!
Maria: I like soft and kinda stinky cheeses, so loved this cheese and the beer was good too! The pretzel bread was good but didn’t blow my mind (whereas a lot of the other bread here did). The pickled strawberries were yummy too! Maybe I’m too much a carnivore, but the perfect addition to this picnic themed course would have been some charcuterie!
MALT (EGG CREAM)
Egg Cream with Vanilla and Seltzer
For those curious about the history of the egg cream, here’s the wiki!
Maria: This was like a carbonated milkshake kinda. I guess it’s not cold either. It was personally a little too sweet for me, but you know how I am about sweets.
Sorbet with Fernet Branca and Chocolate Ganache
Victor: The mint sorbet was incredibly intense in flavor, and at first I thought it was way too strong. As I continued eating this dessert, though, I realized that the Fernet Branca and ganache flavors were perfect complements to the mint flavor. They cut down on the intensity of the mint while also adding complexity in flavor. It basically became an extremely delicious, high-end version of a mint chocolate dessert hahaha. I can now say that this is one of my favorite desserts that I’ve had in NYC—each part of the dessert synchronized wonderfully with each other, both in the type of flavor and the level of intensity each ingredient had, forming a dessert that truly was greater than the sum of its parts (kind of like the Spurs and NOT LIKE the Lakers this year…).
Maria: I love how minty this ice cream was. And mint + chocolate is such a classic combo. Can’t go wrong.
Cheesecake with Mango and Peanut
Victor: The peanuts were a great touch to this dessert; they added a crispy texture to the otherwise soft and creamy dessert. The slight saltiness of the peanut also provided a nice complement to the sweetness of the “cheesecake” and mango flavors, cutting down on the richness.
Maria: I liked this form of cheesecake filling! More than I like the traditional, more solid cheesecake filling. Went quite nicely with mango.
CHOCOLATE (MAGIC CARD TRICK)
Maria: I want to try the bacon chocolate. You think it’s a piece of bacon in the middle? Or a creamy bacon compote-y filling?
Victor: I’m going to guess it’s a kind of creamy bacon-y filling. Still, it’d be kind of epic if there was a piece of bacon in the middle hahaha.
White Chocolate Pretzel Covered with Valrhona Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt
CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA
Sweet Black-and-White Cookie with Apricot
Maria: The apple brandy was so fragrant, but, man oh man, that was strong stuff. I feel like the pretzels were more cookie-like than normal pretzels, which I liked better (I don’t really like regular pretzels).