Well I knew Eleven Madison Park was going to be pretty good, I didn’t seriously expect it to dethrone the French Laundry from #1 on my all-time list after 11+ years. It did just that.
While the food was extraordinary it was the service that definitely put it over the top. I had a glass of wine that is exclusive to the restaurant and I was so enthusiastic about it that I ended up walking out with a bottle, the first to ever leave the restaurant full. With special treatment like that, how can one not say it was the best meal of their life.
Cheddar: savory black and white cookie with apple
Widow’s hole oysters: hot and cold with apple and black chestnuts (the cold was apple and chestnut ice and the hot was fermented chestnut)
Next set of four dishes were served together and are a riff on Jewish appetizing stores, very fun.
Pickled mackerel, fennel
Whitefish potato salad (right), pickled cucumbers with black rye and salmon (bottom), winter radish with truffle and amaranth (top also with a quail egg in the middle)
Caviar and cream cheese (sadly the caviar was only a few mm deep with the cream cheese filling majority of the tin)
Turnip: variations in its own broth
Foie gras: seared with brussels sprouts and smoked eel (probably the best seared foie gras I’ve ever had, I even overlooked the few veins that were still in it the flavors were so good. The sprouts were individual leaves and ranged from highly crispy to barely kissed by heat)
Table-side preparation of the sauce for Lobster Newberg. While it was being made heard the story of its origin.
Lobster Newberg: with baby mushrooms and lettuce (the sauce was indeed heavenly and I wanted to lick the plate clean, they had taken the bread away at this point since I wasn’t eating it)
Presentation of celery root cooked En Vessie.
Celery root: braised with black truffle (r) and pureed celery root
Presentation of the duck (when I showed the captain the photo of Canlis’ duck that is very similar he said it’s ok as the chef is good friends with the Canlis brothers)
Side of truffles and duck leg covered by something that I now forget
Duck: dry-aged with pear, mushroom, and duck jus (2 nights in a row that I had dry-aged duck breast and while the one at Ko had an amazing skin I really liked the seasoning on this preparation)
Cato Corner Cheese: white roasted carnival squash, mustard, and bitter green salad
Cheese was cooked in the squash
Hermann J Wiemer Noble Select
Served alongside sorbet with bitter almond and ginger crumble
Buckwheat: ice cream with honey and prunes
Pretzel: chocolate covered with sea salt
Chocolate: sweet black and white cookie with apple molasses (very cool that they brought the end of the meal back to the beginning)