What’s the vibe?
Eleven Madison Park is set in a beautiful old building in Manhattan which looks right on to the eponymous park – a befitting setting for one of the best restaurants in the world. Closed for four months in early 2018 for refurbishments (a move that saw it go from No. 1 to No. 4 on the World’s 50 Best list), the room is real stunner with huge windows, church-like high ceilings, slick marble floors, original light fixtures, comfy booths…. we could go on! It’s exactly the kind of place you want to be when you’re having a blow-out meal, but still totally relaxed with charming staff (albeit dressed in some slightly dodgy grey corporate suits!).
What to order?
Eleven Madison Park has a tasting menu set up that you pay for in advance and while some courses are ‘mandatory’ for the night (although they’ll obviously change something if you’re really upset about it) you do get a few choices, which the waiter will explain to you at the start of the evening so you can customise the menu a bit. It’s a nice touch in a meal that’s full of nice touches (more of that later!).
The first dishes of the night all feature tomato and as we love tomatoes we couldn’t be happier about this. There’s a tomato tea, essentially a tomato consume; a thin crispy dosa stuffed with goat cheese and green tomato; and an incredible salad of tomato and mini strawberries. We could have left at this point and gone home buzzing. Next was a warm, slightly sweet, corn souffle which was balanced out with a salty hit of American caviar, from Snake River in Idaho, which was pure joy.
We won’t bore you with a description of every single course but there was not a foot put wrong in the succeeding dishes, which included foie gras made in the Hudson valley; snails with chanterelles and onion; duck glazed with honey and lavender; warm molten cheese bon bons; and chocolate covered pretzels.
Our evening took a very interesting turn, however, when we were first invited into the kitchen for a quick tour, and then upstairs where we enjoyed a cocktail on deckchairs round a little paddling pool. The team had done a bit of research you see, and as we love our swimming pools, they wanted to recreate a bit of pool-side action for us, and even made us towels emblazoned with the Eleven Madison Park logo. Now THAT’S a nice touch.
Feeling very happy we went on our way with our towels, and a delicious couple of pots of granola, which saw us through breakfast for the next week. Yes it’s an expensive meal but they really do make it a special experience and the food is absolutely incredible so we highly recommend it if the budget allows. We can’t guarantee you’ll get your own paddling pool experience but can guarantee you’ll have an incredible dinner to remember.
Want more? Check out our Ultimate Guide to New York