NYC: Eleven Madison Park

photoD and I always take an annual long weekend trip to the Big Apple and for the first time we opted to visit during the 2013 holiday season. Our last meal of our 3 day trip was at the 3 Michelin star and No. 5 Top 50 San Pellegrino restaurant (2014), Eleven Madison Park. It was the highlight of our NYC adventure with great company, exquisite food and impeccable service. We dined with another couple, New Yorkers, who also appreciate food which made for a very convivial evening.

Other bloggers may give an elaborate report on each course but I’d rather keep this entry concise without giving away too much. This 15 course feast incorporated fun and creative elements. The 4 hours tasting was much more than a dinner, it was gastronomical spectacle. First of all, the backdrop for this meal was held in a dining space I absolutely loved.  Although the ceiling was 35 feet high, the room felt cozy.  Men weren’t required to wear jackets but the ambiance was still very elegant.  The service was attentive without being too stuffy.  Almost every course on the tasting menu paid homage to all that is New York from local and seasonal ingredients to its gourmand history.  The dishes weren’t overly innovative but were still cleverly presented. I also really appreciated that it was a themed tasting menu and each course was thoroughly thought out.

Upstate New York dry aged duck

Upstate New York dry aged duck

Here are some of my comments about the main course and dessert.  Instead of the venison, we agreed on the upstate New York raised duck which was dry aged for 14 days.  The breast came with a side of roasted turnip and huckleberry gelée. Besides the canette (young female duck) I had at the Rino bistro in Paris a few years ago, this is THE most tender piece of duck breast I’ve ever eaten.  The herbs and spices on the skin heightened the aroma and gave an extra crunchy texture. The aging of the meat added more intensity to the flavour.   All together the crispy skin, layer of duck fat and tender flesh melded perfectly to create a mouth watering dish.  On the other hand, I was not as fond of their deconstructed sweet potato cheese cake for dessert. The sweet potato didn’t have the crisp and tanginess that I often crave with a cheesecake.

If you decide to try Eleven Madison Park I would suggest not reading too many reviews as it may spoil some of the many surprises. I also suggest dining in a group of 4-6 people to enhance your overall experience.

Price per person = USD $225