Saturday, November 5

Eleven Madison Park - Unforgettable

Eleven Madison Park (EMP) was a fairy tale walk across Madison Square Park. In a city fraught with Michelin stars and in times when stars are nothing more than just a yardstick, I dare not discount EMP’s well-earned 3 stars; in fact after Daniel and Per Se, I told kw, the only three why EMP only had 3 Michi stars is because there is not such thing as 4 Michi stars.

The gentleman manning the front of house reminded me of a less slimy Pete Campbell (that’s a compliment by the way) and the impeccable service followed throughout the meal till we stepped out 2 hours later. I’m not crazy about the orange test-tube roses or the late 90s dining chairs but overall, the restaurant had an elegant decor that played supporting role to the wonderful meal ahead.

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The menu is sleek and minimalist, reminding me of Apple products these days. On a white sheet of paper, 16 words sum up the lunch menu, promising anticipating and surprises that left us gilding down Madison Avenue thereafter.

Kw chose “Foie gras, White truffle, Lamb and Chocolate,” while I opted for “Fluke, Lobster, Guinea Fowl and Pistachio”

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Warm, airy cheese-sprinkled gougères to warm our bellies and quell the excitement.

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Next up, we were given a couple of amuse bouche – an incredibly playful mushroom tea and toasted truffle brioche - to kick things off. Serious wow factor here.

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Next, to really kick things off and us out of our seats, a smoked sturgeon sabayon filled with diced sturgeon and chive oil. Oh gaw-, it was creamy, smoky, fishy and not at all appetising-sounding but incredibly sublime… As the other diners around us got their eggs, I couldn't help but watch their facial expressions change from bewildement to one of surprise and satisfaction.

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Buns of hole-y glory made with organic flour, accompanied by cow’s and goat's milk butter. I would have loved another… and a third but it wasn’t a good idea to suffer from Death by Warm Buns on day 3 of our trip.

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FLUKE

Fluke carpaccio alongside Mackintosh apples, celery and chives. My only small grievance was that it was a tad too sourish but this was the only slight misstep for the meal.

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FOIE GRAS

Foie gras terrine sandwiched between brittle tuile and dusted with bitter almond crumble, and umeboshi (Japanese plum) on the side. Doesn’t this dish look like it belongs to the Museum of Modern Art? Love the foie and tuile pairing.

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LOBSTER

Sherry poached lobster, with various mushrooms and spinach, alongside Matsusake sabayon. Lobster was crazy good. I don't get it - what ecosystem had this lobster been living in that I’m not a part of? Unbelievably plump and sweet - not at all meally or bland.

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WHITE TRUFFLE

This knocked our socks off. Tortellini with fontina Val d'aosta, with shaved white truffle. Died and gone to WTH (white truffle heaven). But the real surprise of the dish was the sweetness of chestnut puree. It seemed like such a simple dish but was amazingly incredible and incredibly amazing.

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GUINEA FOWL

Sou-perbly sou-vided guinea fowl with salsify (a root vegetable) purée, confit of the fowl leg and foie gras with shallots.

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LAMB

Lamb loin sou-vided, served alongside goat's milk yogurt, eggplant duo - purée and grilled, as well as sweetbreads nuggets. Another amazing dish.

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Before desserts, we were given a mini demonstration (ode to the Wall Street protestors, haha) of the restaurant's take on the New York egg cream. Citrus plus full cream milk plus cocoa nib and olive oil infused orange saltwater. Fizzy yet creamy and at times, felt like we were having orange chocolate. Went from “hmm” to “mmm” in seconds.

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PISTACHIO

Pistachio cheesecake flanked by two pistachio sponge cakes with grape sorbet, and pistachio crumble and smudges, as well as a smear of yogurt. Tasted like a deconstructed mixed nuts and fruit yogurt parfait. Ingenious.

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CHOCOLATE

The chocolate dessert was slightly more straightforward but by no means less extraordinary. Hazelnut mousse within a guandija case, caramel crumble beneath the espresso ice cream and sponge on the left and right,.

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PETIT FOURS

Pistachio and rose macaron, blueberry pâte de fruit and camomile shortbread with lemon curd. So much tastier than those from Daniel.

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After our meal, we asked for a copy of the menu and to our surprise (and uber glee), they gave us two version based on what the both of us ordered. Ridiculously amazing!

2 comments:

sooks said...

the food looks amazing and I love that little element of surprise behind the ordering of each dish. should prob think about heading straight for nyc next.

yx said...

oh you should!