Friday, January 2, 2009

Eleven Madison Park in the Big Apple

It was a beautiful New York Winter day. Despite having to change my reservations, not once, but three times, I had finally made it to Eleven Madison Park. EMP is known for the food but also for the breathtaking art deco interior.

A fellow Houston Chowhound, Justin had told anonymouseater that this was the place to eat in NYC. Anonymouseater in his review of EMP wrote that "Quite simply, EMP was the best meal of my life."

As I did not do the tasting menu, I can not judge anonymouseater’s experience in relationship with mine, except to say to you, that this was one of the best meals I have ever had. The service was top notch, the food, elegantly presented and cooked perfectly, and the art deco surroundings exquisite.

In all my excitement, I had never really paid attention to where the restaurant was situated. It was in one of my favorite NYC places, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building, which use to be on my walking tours of that area of NYC when I lived there. The park across the street, Madison Square Park, where nickel bag drug dealers use to ply their trade when I worked on 5th Avenue in my early twenties are long gone and have been replaced by an assortment of people enjoying an attractive urban park.

Of course all these thoughts flew in and out of my brain quickly because my destination was the restaurant Eleven Madison Park and I was finally there.

As I walked through the doors, I was captivated by the high ceilings and art deco detail. We were promptly seated, with the adjoining tables empty for the majority of the meal. The light poured in from the ceiling to floor windows. With the attention our table received from the staff, I felt like a member of the privileged class for a couple of hours.

At this point you may be wondering if I am going to get to the food. Your patience is appreciated, this was fine dining and one should savor every drop of the experience, wouldn't you agree?

As I looked through the extremely well priced lunch menu, I knew that it would be a remote chance that I could taste my dining companions food as well, so I needed

to order carefully. My choices would not disappoint me until dessert (and even that would be a minimal disruption to my over all positive experience.)

The presentation of the food was outstanding. As a starter I ordered the "Parsnip Velouté with Sweetbreads and White Truffle Oil". Crispy fried sweetbreads sat in a buttery parsnip soup with overtones of lemon. I drank a glass of Claude Genet Champagne, which suited the dish just fine.

My main course was Braised Oxtail, with a layer of mashed potatoes on top, accompanied by brussel sprouts with mushrooms. Each bite of the oxtail, oozed with flavor and was a wonderful combination of textures. The accompanying brussel sprouts had enough bite in them to go well with the other textures and a mellow flavor that worked with with the oxtail. I had a lovely Rhone Valley Wine from Saint Joseph to accompany this course.

For dessert I had a Soufflé with Tahitian Vanilla and Passion Fruit,
that I enjoyed but found the citrus sauce a little bit over the top, taking away from the taste of the perfectly cooked soufflé.

I was scheduled to go to Jean-Georges, but I did not feel well the next day, so this has to suffice for my over the top NYC dining experience. I was not disappointed.


jess said...

How much did the meal end up costing? I'm doing some research to figure out where I should go eat in New York when I go in May!

Food Princess said...

All I remember is that it was $28, plus wine, tax, and tip. I highly recommend this restaurant. Several of my foodie friends in Houston endorsed it and I was thrilled it had lived up to its hype.

Admin said...

I'll definitely have to check it out. May actually do some video coverage on it.
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