Jump to content
Ericandblueboy

Eleven Madison Park - 2012 National James Beard Award Winning Executive Chef - Co-Owner Daniel Humm on 11 Madison Avenue in Flatiron

Recommended Posts

We had lunch in the newly remodeled EMP a couple weeks ago. It was our third visit in four years; we have now been for dinner, lunch and dinner in the bar. As it is in the neighborhood, we have also popped in for their uber-excellent cocktails on special occasions. The food and service was impeccable, but for intangible reasons that I can't fully articulate it wasn't quite as enjoyable as our past meals. 

At this point our firm recommendation is to go for the bar menu rather than the full tasting menu. The price point to quality ratio is much stronger and while the experience isn't quite the same as the dining room, it is still very enjoyable and a bit more relaxed. Note to those who might consider this option. You can book (and thus prepay) the bar menu in advance. BUT they keep seats available for walk-ins and the bar is now open for lunch. The bar was basically empty when we were there. So, if you show up at 11:45 when they open you are highly likely to get a seat/s. Similarly we were told after 9 pm it opens up as well, particularly on a week night. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's going to happen at some point.  No restaurant can stay as good as EMP was 3-4 years ago, while still being as relevant and timely forever.  That being said, Guidara and Humm showed an ability to adapt - starting out more simply, then going too far into the complex, and finding a happy middle ground where it really hit its stride.  But then the expansions started - seasonal pop ups in different locations, a fast casual lunch place, and now an ambitious restaurant in London that seems to be the focus of Humm's attention these days.  And of course, the split between the two partners themselves.

Our first visit for dinner was fabulous.  The second was good, but we left thinking it would be best to visit the bar for more casual and affordable experiences in the future - and we've enjoyed those since.  But we thought, maybe before we get more than one generation away from Guidara's service and Humm's attention in the kitchen, we'd give it a last go.

The service - we were discussing the dinner with friends beforehand and their focus was on the food, but I've always felt the real star of the show here was the service.  Where else can I go and have someone ask me if there's anything I don't want, and then deliver a superb meal where everything is very good or better; where the staff has done their research on our previous visits and preferences?  Happily all of our interactions with the staff were as pleasant, professional, and comfortable as ever.  Without requesting it, we were taken on a "Field Trip" - a tour of the kitchen with a snack made for us, in front of us - it was a nice way of continuing to surprise repeat guests and make the experience unique.

The food - I won't go course-by-course but the low point was a poached lobster with razor clam and potato over a lobster and sea urchin bisque.  It wasn't bad, but the clams and sea urchin overpowered the lobster.  The highs were a roasted mushroom with pine and black truffle, and caviar with savory souffle.

The wine - I had never done the wine pairing here before, they offer two options - a classic for $175 and reserve for $335.  We stuck to the classic and were not disappointed - it took decision making out of the equation and we were able to just sit back and enjoy, and even at that price point, I didn't feel fleeced given the quality of selection and reasonable pours.

In total the meal was $1,051.  An absurd price by any measure.  But I will say that, so far, this restaurant is almost as good as it ever has been.

(Two small nits - the first course is oysters served hot and cold with a smoked oyster broth.  I burned my lip on the shell of the hot prep (which sounds like a 'duh' moment but am guessing I wasn't the only one) and since we had an earlier seating, everyone present was getting their oyster broth at more or less the same time. Without any other odors or many people to compete the smell permeating the restaurant was off-putting, but as the place filled up it dissipated)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...