11 Madison Park
So I went to New York City this past weekend with my family, and one of the experiences I really wanted to have was a meal at 11 Madison Park, an Danny Meyer restaurant whose head chef, Daniel Humm, just won a James Beard award. Frank Bruni gave the restaurant four stars in his final review as restaurant critic for the NYTimes. Serious Eats overlord Ed Levine gave it a rave review. Basically everyone says that this restaurant is perfect.
And I’m inclined to agree.
So this is a large, beautiful, old Deco space. The room used to be the lobby of a Met Life insurance building, and all the fixings and wood inlays and ceilings are original. The room is light and airy and beautiful. And I don’t really have a good picture of it, sorry.
Each of us ordered the three course price fix lunch, with is $48. And an excellent bargain, because you get lots of yummy freebies.
We were immediately served an amuse-bouche of carrot marshmallows and what were essentially high-end wheat thins topped with a sliver of foie gras and some strawberry gelee. Delicious, and beautiful. My mother also got a special little mango amuse because she is allergic to strawberries (she ate the strawberry amuse anyways), but I didn’t try it. Anyhow, the strawberry marshmallow was sort of savory and sweet, as was the foie gras wheat thin. I don’t know, I’d totally eat more.
Also, we got gorges, which are little cheesy bread poofs of deliciousness. Total winners.
So! First course! Jessica got peach gazpacho with chunks of peach and chunks of prawn, which was smooth and creamy. My father had a composition of young vegetables that looked beautiful and springy. My mother and I both had tuna tartare with some croutons and greens and olives and a poached quail egg and a lemony sauce and it was really delicious. I wish I had a better description but I am sad to say I do not.
Second course! We all got the same thing: taglioni with Alaskan King Crab, lemon, black pepper, and like a stick of butter. Probably the most delicious and satisfying dish of the day. The pasta was so fresh, the crab was so succulent, the butter was so fantastic. I could have eaten a pound of this.
Third course! My father and sister split the roast organic chicken for two (a $15 supplement). They brought the chicken to the table before they took it into the kitchen to carve it:
Look at that beautiful mahogany chicken. Beautiful.
They brought back the chicken breast on a plate, with a side salad of faro and corn, and then a side plate of the dark meat chicken with morels, corn, and some other deliciousness. Oh there was also a stuffing of brioche, foie gras, and truffles between the meat and the skin. Amazing? Yes.
My mother and I both got the lobster lasagna ($15 supplement). Nova Scotian lobster tale and claw chunks, wrapped in a lasagna sheek, in sort of a tomato-y seafood-y broth, with some vegetables, and some zucchini blossoms. All gorgeously, perfectly cooked, gorgeously presented, just special and wonderful, really.
After the meal they brought out a plate of macaroons. Many different flavors: strawberry basil, peanut butter and jelly, pink peppercorn and caramel, vanilla and cherry, chocolate…yeah, that was fun.
And since we were in the area, after our meal we went to Shake Shack and got some custard. A concrete, to be exact. Hey, Danny Meyer owns Shake Shack too, so we were keeping it in the family.
Anyhow, 11 Madison Park was fantastic. If you ever have the opportunity to eat there, please do. The food was great, the service was fantastic (they even brought me a little special magazine detailing where the restaurant sources its chickens and including some recipes), and a gorgeous interior. A truly special experience in all aspects.