Eleven Madison Park: Let the gorge-fest continue

 

Despite the fact that EMP opened around the same time I moved to the east coast AND the fact that it is located in the same building that I used to cut through to get to the headquarters of my first job out of college, I hadn’t heard about its existence until I was already moving. And at that point, everyone was telling me it was the best restaurant in New York. I scoffed, cocky enough to think that there is no way that I didn’t already know about the best restaurant in New York. I stand corrected, this is the best restaurant in New York (well duh, San Pellegrino has listed this 3-Michelin Star Restaurant as the best restaurant in the world).

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The 11-course 3.5 hour dinner is well-worth the pay-when-you-make-your-reservations splurge. And Ryan and I got the best of all worlds when we went this past May. Since EMP is slated to close for the summer in order to make HUGE renovations to both their kitchen and dining room, the last tasting menu they are offering is their greatest hits menu, offering some of their best dishes from over the years.

Gougeres with grated gruyere (2006)

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Sea urchin cappuccino with peekytoe crab and cauliflower (2006)

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Little neck clam clambake with veloute and parker house rolls (2011)

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Prawn roulade with avocado and yogurt (2007)

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Foie gras torchon with maple syrup and pain d’epice (2004)

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Carrot tartare with toast and condiments (2012)

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Turbot poached zucchini and squash blossom (2007)

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Winter in provence black truffle celery root, potato and chevre frais (2009)

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Suckling pig confit with rubarb, leeks and cipollini onion (2010)

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Milk and honey with dehydrated milk foam and bee pollen (2010)

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Chocolate palette with peanut butter and popcorn ice cream (2008)

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My favorite part of the meal had to be our interaction with the general manager(?) at the end. We ordered tableside tea (more curious about what that entailed than anything else) and were treated with a wonderful presentation where he discussed and demonstrated a one versus three-steeping process and answered our questions about the restaurant renovations and what would happen to the staff (they are opening a pop-up restaurant over the summer in the Hampton’s and a major driver of that decision was to provide employment to their best asset… their people).

Speaking of their people, service was top notch as well. I asked one of the hostess’s where the ladies room and waited for her to give the regular “turn right/left and walk down the corridor…” instructions. But not at EMP. Here I was escorted all the way to the door of the ladies room.

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Lastly, they finished off the meal with offering us a complementary glass of brandy for my husband and sparkling (non-alcoholic) cider for me. I was very impressed with how well they were paying attention. My husband had ordered 1-drink at the bar while (due to a crappy cold) I ordered two non-alcoholic drinks and mostly drank water at the table. The waitstaff, with everything else going on, was able to notice that my husband would be inclined to drink the brandy, while correctly surmising that I would need to go the non-alcoholic route.

The final impressive touch came with our parting gift. Most of the high-end restaurants are now in the habit of providing an extra food treat to take home and EMP was no exception, except that instead of a tiny tin of cookies or chocolate, we received two large glass canisters of granola.

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