11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010
Reservations required? The reservation standard in NYC is pretty high and Eleven Madison Park is no exception. I srecommend calling the day your reservation opens (28 days ahead) to secure your spot. And do not delay- Hubby and I both called the moment the reservation line opened and it took several tries to finally get through.
Atmosphere: Located adjacent to Madison Square Gardens right in the centre of it all in NYC, Eleven Madison Park is dressed to impress on all fronts. From its prime location, to the stately building it calls home, to its lavishly decorated entranceway, everything screams luxury and grandeur. Its impressively large dining room is truly a sight to behold, with modern decor on a backdrop of historic elements in this beautiful old building (be sure to look up at the ceiling, it is divine!). We were seated right at the back of the room, seated side by side on a comfortable leather booth that ran across the back wall. We had a great view of the whole room and loved watching the action going on around us in the packed room.
Service: One might guess that, with such stately and grand surroundings, the service might be stuffy and pretentious, but this could not be farther from the truth. To the contrary, every single server we met over the course of our dinner (there were far too many to count!) was charismatic, personable, welcoming and witty. Their slogan here, "Make It Nice", is written on the back wall of their kitchen. I only know this because where we got invited back there (!!!) to eat a lemon verbena snow cone creation in the middle of our meal (how fun is that?). The staff's commitment to "keeping it fun" is unparalleled, and really made the night extra special, right up until the moment we were handed a goodie bag with granola and beautiful personalized menus on our way out the door.
Food: With its 3-Michelin star accolades, I did not doubt that the food at Eleven Madison Park would be delicious (and it truly was, down to the last bite). This being a given, what really sets this restaurant apart is its playful, whimsical and interactive presentation. From having our food brought out in a picnic basket that we got to unpack, to having the fruit for our dessert grilled on a tiny grill on our table, to a "matching game" that we got to play as an end to our meal, there were surprises at every turn. Not only as this a fabulously delicious meal, but it was also one of the most entertaining evenings of dining we have experienced.
There is only one set tasting menu offered per night but within that menu, there are some options to make along the way. For multiple courses, guests are given 2-3 different dishes to choose from which can help tailor the tasting menu more to one's individual tastes. In addition to this, they were happy to tailor to my pescatarian request for courses with no such available option.
Here is a look at our tasting menu. Because of the choice we were given for some courses, Hubby and I would order different dishes then share so we got to try even more dishes!
"Black and White"- savoury cookie with apple and cheddar
Cucumber with cream cheese and rye
Melon variations with tomato and goat cheese
Cucumber with honeydew and mint
Cantaloupe with smoked salmon
Bread and butter
Tomato with basil, croutons and red onion
Caviar- picnic with pickled mackerel and ratatouille
Corn variations with cured egg yolk and clams
Sunflower with green tomato and sunflower crumble
Trout steamed with squash and heirloom tomatoes
Bean variations with garlic and pumpernickel
Duck with honey and lavender glaze, cherry and onion
Corn custard with garlic and lime
Tomato, roasted and compressed with bread
Strawberries grilled with camomile ice cream and honey
Apricots grilled with lemon thyme ice cream and honey
Chocolate- "name that milk"
Pretzel with sea salt and apple brandy
Hubby and I have had our fair share of Michelin-starred meals, and we unanimously agree that Eleven Madison Park is right at the top of out "best ever" list . This should be a "must-go" for all those who love fun, creativity and phenomenal food. This one will keep us excited for a long time to come.