Eleven Madison Park- Best Dining Experience of My Life

  Posted by - August 14, 2014 - New York, Restaurants, Travel

So I recently had a pretty hard decision to make.

My BF gave me two options:

1. Go to the Beyonce & Jay Z concert  (looveeee B.)

OR

 2. Fly to NY and go to Eleven Madison Park to enjoy a 14- course meal.

I was torn.

But as you all should have guessed by now…I chose the latter.

So.

Was it worth it?

Let’s just say…I made the right decision because I had the BEST dining experience of my life.

I died. It’s seriously THAT good.

Eleven Madison Park is my kind of fine dining–> the food is phenomenal and is brilliantly showcased through whimsical plates of food art, complimented by exceptional service and a friendly atmosphere throughout our entire meal.

Side: this restaurant has THREE Michelin Stars, Forbes Travel Guide Five Stars and the highest American rating for S. Pellegrino’s 50 Greatest Restaurants in the world (#4).

You get a 14 course (tasting menu $225) –> All of which, change daily depending on the freshest ingredients available.

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The first surprise of the meal is when they ask you to “pick an ingredient,” which allows YOU to set the tone for your meal. Each ingredient represents a different course that is customized to your personal taste <– total game changer!

I chose strawberry, while my BF chose celery. Both are great decisions.

Here’s a recap of my meal from food pics–> to the private kitchen tour–> to the special EMP surprise from a food cart outside.

Cheddar

Our meal started with a savory take on a New York classic black & white cookie, which arrived in a little white box (it was like opening up a present!)

Corn

Custard with tuna and caviar

The yellow corn custard with caviar was my favorite pairing. The sweetness of the custard evened out the natural saltiness of the caviar- drawing out a well-balanced and harmonious flavor.

Cucumber

Marinated with lemon and melon

This was an interesting dish, but not one of my favorites. It was more of a refreshing palate cleanser.

Tomato

Tea with lemon thyme

The tea tasted more like a smoothing, tasty soup –> It was well-balanced, fresh, and bright with flavor. I know it looks simple, but it’s also something I’ve never had before.

Tomato

Salad with strawberries and basil

The flavors of the ingredients were rich & harmonious. Overall, the salad was superb with the sweetness of the strawberries and the freshness of the tomatoes.

Beef

Pastrami with peppers, rye, mustard, and celery

This was a fun course. First we were given wooden plates that had various ingredients. This dish pays homage to classic New York deli’s: a couple slices of pastrami, rye bread, mustard, pickles, and sodas – strawberry flavored for me and celery for my BF.  Overall, it was a fun and delicious course with the best pastrami I’ve ever tasted.

Foie Gras (2 options)

Seared with chanterelles and plums

I’m still OMGing from this dish… It’s so damn good. The piece of foie maintains its richness and structural integrity while remaining completely greaseless. It was lightly crisped on the outside, while each bite melts in your mouth like buttah!

Foie Gras (2nd option)

Marinated with peaches, ginger, and bitter almond

This version was also delicious in it’s own way, BUT it tasted more like dessert. The peach added a sweeter tone and the foie was on the creamier side. If I had to choose between the two, it would be the seared foie gras. Hands down.

Lobster

Boil with clams, shrimp, and beans

This dish was beautifully presented with lobster, shrimp, clams and assorted veggies. The flavors were spicy and bold, with the house-made sauces effectively coating every element of this seafood boil.

Sunflower

Braised with sunchokes and sunflower seeds

 These organic sunflowers are from a New Jersey farm. Who knew sunflowers could be so tasty?? It had the texture of a baked potato, naturally salted, and a perfectly crusted top layer.

Duck

Roasted with raspberries, blueberries, and mulberries

 This is Eleven Madison’s signature dish and also my favorite dish of the day. The skin was lightly caramelized and crisp, while the meat remained perfectly tender. The unique flavors of the berries complimented the duck, in such a way that each bite was sweet and savory.

Fresh Cheese (picnic) 

Pretzel, raspberry, mustard, and green tomatoes

For the cheese course, we were presented with a picnic basket. We were left with the task of unpacking it and setting up our table picnic, which included a beer, pretzel bread made with the beer, a block of cheese (which tasted like butter), tomatoes, raspberry and mustard jam.

Whey

Sorbet with caramelized milk and celery/ strawberry

For this dessert, we each had our own customized dish. Mine was strawberry based and Jefferson’s was celery. I wish I could tell you more about this one, but I guess it wasn’t too memorable for me. Sorry!

Apricot

Grilled with lemon thyme ice cream and honey

Perhaps I’m not a big fan of grilled apricots, because it was just whateves. However, the ice cream with the cookie-waffer thing was delish.

Pretzel

Chocolate covered with sea salt

A pretty delicious mildly crunchy, sweet, chocolatey pretzel.

Chocolate

Our final dessert was a sweet black and white cookie, taking our meal full circle.

Atmosphere:

You know how these 4 hour meals can get super draaiining at times? Especially when the restaurant is super stuffy & pretentious. Yeah. Well, Eleven Madison Park isn’t like that.

Plus, they don’t have a super strict dress code like other Michelin starred restaurants <- – ie: wearing a jacket in New York in 90% humidity during the summer. Yah. NO THX.

Service:

Besides the super chill atmosphere, lets talk about the service. Because service is everything–> it can make or break a meal.

Our main server, Elizabeth, was totally awesome. Everyone else also joked around with us, got to know us, and went above and beyond in answering any of our questions. In the middle of our meal, we were even invited to the back kitchen without me asking.

Not only was that part already amazing…but they also made us their special alcohol infused “shaved ice” right before our eyes.

After our amazing meal, we were stopped by the host on our way out. He told us that they had ONE more surprise for us (I loveeee surprises!! So I was totally down). We were told to go to the food cart across the way… and tell the guy manning the cart that “Eleven Madison Park sent us.”

Here’s what we got:

We took it across the street and enjoyed this popsicle as we strolled through Madison Square Park.

So does Eleven Madison Park really live up to the hype?

Hell yah!

If you guys are ever in New York, you HAVE to try this place out. Plan ahead, make your ressies, do whatever.

Because. Everyone deserves a meal this good once in a while.

So is anyone visiting NYC soon? If you are… I’m super jelly.

PS: EMP> Beyonce


 

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10 Comments

  • Su December 5, 2015 - 8:37 am Reply

    Loved reading this! Found it after googling some meal reviews of EMP. So looking forward to my reservation. It’ll be my first dining experience of 2016 and what a way to bring in a new year!

  • […] Compared to other three star Michelin restaurants (The French Laundry, Eleven Madison Park), Saison was the only restaurant where I wasn’t WOW’d. I was actually more impressed by Atelier […]

  • Mikey L. February 22, 2015 - 7:15 am Reply

    I would have chosen Eleven Madison too :)

  • Nicole January 17, 2015 - 6:18 pm Reply

    I also like that EMP isn’t as stuffy as other places like Per Se or Le Bernadin. In terms of food, it was the best meal I’ve ever had, granted I haven’t been to The French Laundry yet!

  • Sara Lawry October 19, 2014 - 1:43 pm Reply

    Braised sunflower?? Wow. They get really creative! Sounds like an awesome dinner.

  • Hannah T. September 10, 2014 - 6:49 pm Reply

    I’m headed to NY at the end of the month, and I’m taking notes on places you’ve been! Everything here looks amazing.

  • Frank August 21, 2014 - 6:34 pm Reply

    This place sounds unreal!

  • Geraldine K. August 20, 2014 - 6:51 pm Reply

    I had the best meal of my life at Eleven Madison! The service was spectacular, the food was brilliantly executed, and I loved the little gifts we got to take with us home.

  • Kevin August 16, 2014 - 7:31 am Reply

    I’m so jealous, you seem to be eating some of the best foods in the world every week

  • Julie August 16, 2014 - 6:41 am Reply

    Wow everything looks good!

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