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Eleven Madison Park


donbert
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I can't believe the change this restaurant has undergone in less than a year.  When I was externing there last year I'd heard someone new was coming on board but had no idea the turnaround would be so great!

yeah, I know what you mean, i'm thinking of asking for a trail (something I wouldn't really have considered based on the food a year ago) really, I might want to work there.. Especially if Chef is as much of an asskicker as everyone says. BANG BANG! Actually, it would really be an honor...based on my one meal there...

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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I can't believe the change this restaurant has undergone in less than a year.  When I was externing there last year I'd heard someone new was coming on board but had no idea the turnaround would be so great!

yeah, I know what you mean, i'm thinking of asking for a trail (something I wouldn't really have considered based on the food a year ago) really, I might want to work there.. Especially if Chef is as much of an asskicker as everyone says. BANG BANG! Actually, it would really be an honor...based on my one meal there...

Do it! The staff that remained after Humm's overhaul are great cooks who are eager to show students proper from and technique. It's also a MASSIVE kitchen. A real luxury by NYC standards.

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Recently had lunch here during Restaurant Week. Even during this "B&T extravaganza" the food was markedly improved from previous meals I've had here. The poached chicken with black truffles was one of the tastier things I've had in the past few weeks, and I've been eating VERY well.

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Distinctly less enthused about this place after last night's meal. Menu options now include the standard prix fixe ($68), the five course Aquatic menu we had last week ($85), and a 7-8 course Summer menu ($115). Since the Aquatic menu hadn't changed and the Summer menu was longer than we prefer, we ended up with the prix fixe.

First courses were strong (seared foie gras with sweet corn, blueberries and lime for my wife and a poached egg with frog legs and chanterelles for me). Main courses were unexciting and, frankly, skimpy.

I know it's not "sophisticated" to carp about portions in a restaurant like this, but my main course consisted of an approximately 3 oz. rectangle of suckling pig, one cippolini onion, one (very) baby leek, and a small quenelle of apricot chutney. My wife's main paired a similar amount of protein with about 10 peas and some sauces. Compared to the tasting menu we had last week the ratio seems off - these portions weren't significantly larger, and they make the prix fixe menu seem like a relatively poor value in comparison (for $17 more the Aquatic menu gives you an additional (substantial) amuse, an extra course, and a pre-dessert, and since it includes the only menu item that carries a supplement the total difference is actually less than $17).

On the upside, cheese is offered as an alternative to dessert with no supplement (an unusual and very nice touch that more restaurants should adopt), and my salty chocolate caramel dessert was superb.

There's an element of personal disappointment here also - I enjoyed chef Humm's cooking so much last week, I was actually looking forward to ordering off the prix fixe menu assuming that it would be an opportunity to enjoy some larger, more complex plates and really appreciate the flavor combinations. As it was, it just felt like a shorter tasting menu.

Edited by Robin Meredith (log)
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Distinctly less enthused about this place after last night's meal.  Menu options now include the standard prix fixe ($68), the five course Aquatic menu we had last week ($85), and a 7-8 course Summer menu ($115).  Since the Aquatic menu hadn't changed and the Summer menu was longer than we prefer, we ended up with the prix fixe.

First courses were strong (seared foie gras with sweet corn, blueberries and lime for my wife and a poached egg with frog legs and chanterelles for me).  Main courses were unexciting and, frankly, skimpy.

I know it's not "sophisticated" to carp about portions in a restaurant like this, but my main course consisted of an approximately 3 oz. rectangle of suckling pig, one cippolini onion, one (very) baby leek, and a small quenelle of apricot chutney.  My wife's main paired a similar amount of protein with about 10 peas and some sauces.  Compared to the tasting menu we had last week the ratio seems off - these portions weren't significantly larger, and they make the prix fixe menu seem like a relatively poor value in comparison (for $17 more the Aquatic menu gives you an additional (substantial) amuse, an extra course, and a pre-dessert, and since it includes the only menu item that carries a supplement the total difference is actually less than $17).

On the upside, cheese is offered as an alternative to dessert with no supplement (an unusual and very nice touch that more restaurants should adopt), and my salty chocolate caramel dessert was superb.

There's an element of personal disappointment here also - I enjoyed chef Humm's cooking so much last week, I was actually looking forward to ordering off the prix fixe menu assuming that it would be an opportunity to enjoy some larger, more complex plates and really appreciate the flavor combinations.  As it was, it just felt like a shorter tasting menu.

Youre right about some of the food being small, too small. I've also heard this from a few different people...It'd be nice if it were just a smidge bigger...just a smidge...

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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Went Friday. Had the 3 course prix fix. Gnocchi for a starter was good, pig was stickin small. Amuse was a soup which was o.k. and assortment of little bite were very good. After reading here about Chef Humm's menu I couldn't wait to eat here. Had a restaurant week lunch reservation for Thursday but couldn't make it back from the beach in time. Service at the bar was great. I'll give it another shot in the fall when the menu changes.

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"...if you are aiming for a daily 2,000-calorie intake, the new Food Pyramid guidelines recommend that your day's total meals include the following: 6 ounces of grains, 5.5 ounces of meat, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of milk, and 6 teaspoons of oil."

"...3 to 4 ounces of meat (about the size of a deck of cards) is an adequate amount...The bottom line: Men who down a 20-ounce steak in one sitting are eating enough meat for several days."

the quotes above come from an article on the epicurious website. i realize that this isn't the place to discuss health or other matters, but if you're eating a three course prix fix menu, even with "stinkin' small" portions, you're probably eating plenty for one meal.

a three ounce portion of pig might seem small compared to other restaurants, but i for one am happy to leave without feeling over full.

of course, if the discussion is only about price and perceived value, unfortunately, that's just restaurants. you can't just pile food on a plate and call it a day. you're paying for labor and hopefully, high quality ingredients.

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"...if you are aiming for a daily 2,000-calorie intake, the new Food Pyramid guidelines recommend that your day's total meals include the following: 6 ounces of grains, 5.5 ounces of meat, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of milk, and 6 teaspoons of oil."

"...3 to 4 ounces of meat (about the size of a deck of cards) is an adequate amount...The bottom line: Men who down a 20-ounce steak in one sitting are eating enough meat for several days."

the quotes above come from an article on the epicurious website. i realize that this isn't the place to discuss health or other matters, but if you're eating a three course prix fix menu, even with "stinkin' small" portions, you're probably eating plenty for one meal.

a three ounce portion of pig might seem small compared to other restaurants, but i for one am happy to leave without feeling over full.

of course, if the discussion is only about price and perceived value, unfortunately, that's just restaurants. you can't just pile food on a plate and call it a day. you're paying for labor and hopefully, high quality ingredients.

Well sure, no need to leave a restaurant feeling like a blimp, but I expect to be sated (what does this mean to me?) depends on the day...

I have no problem leaving food on my plate, even during a tasting menu, and I'd much prefer this option to picking up a shack buger on my way home...

Yeah, at E.M.P I'm probably eating more than enough (way, way more) but if that were the entire extent of my culinary concern, my box of grapenuts would be getting a lot more play...

Edited by Luckylies (log)

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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I have no problem leaving food on my plate, even during a tasting menu, and I'd much prefer this option to picking up a shack buger on my way home...

To me, however, 11MP capped off with a Shack burger in the park sounds like a perfect evening.

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I have no problem leaving food on my plate, even during a tasting menu, and I'd much prefer this option to picking up a shack buger on my way home...

I thought about grabbing a Scooby snack as I was crossing the park. :biggrin:

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all of this would be relevant if one ate at EMP every day. but I don't.

further, caloric and protein intake requirements change depending upon the level of physical activity one engages in. I lift weights 5 days a week and am intentionally gaining weight. That requires a gram of protein for every pound of body weight...so 3 ounces of meat doesn't cut it...on the other hand, most of my consumption is at lunch...

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all of this would be relevant if one ate at EMP every day.  but I don't.

further, caloric and protein intake requirements change depending upon the level of physical activity one engages in.  I lift weights 5 days a week and am intentionally gaining weight.  That requires a gram of protein for every pound of body weight...so 3 ounces of meat doesn't cut it...on the other hand, most of my consumption is at lunch...

thx for sharing your regiment and diet dude......weights 5 days a week ayy?......wow.......and when you lift the paper weights are you moving them from one side of the desk to the other or just straight up as in a shoulder raise?

:laugh:

(sorry, I couldn't resist)

That wasn't chicken

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My wife and I had dinner last evening and decided on the Aquatic Tasting Menu. On the whole, it was outstanding. However I will relay two points based on the observations originally made upthread by Robin Meredith.

My wife, who is all of 125-30 pounds and has never in her life left a restaurant without a doggy bag, was still hungry after the last dessert. She is not a big eater, but actually complained about portion sizes. I was okay, not full by any means, but not hungry (I ate more bread). We ordered a cheese course to finish and that satisfied her - but not one morsel of food was left on either of our plates.

But here's the real kicker. A foursome sitting next to us ordered the regular prix fix. After the main courses were finished they began laughing. We overheard them making jokes about the "miniscule" portions. The two men began laughing a bit louder when desserts arrived. Obviously, they were trying to treat it as joke, but it was just as obvious they weren't happy. I did notice every piece of food on their plates, both men and women, was consumed. EMP must lead the league in the smallest amount of wasted food.

As for the meal itself, each course was better than the next with the highlight being the poached lobster. I'm not a big dessert guy, so I would have preferred one or two more savory courses and one or two less desserts. Three is far too much for my taste.

We each had a glass of Chenin Blanc with the amuses and first course, then went with a Lincourt Syrah for the rest of the meal. With the cheese I had a glass of the Vin Santo Chianti Classico and my wife had a flight of three dessert wines, one ounce each and included a 1988 Y'quem. At $50, I thought this, along with the three cheeses for $10, were the values of the evening.

I am noticing another trend with restaurants lately. They are giving their guests parting gifts as they exit. The Modern did the same thing two weeks ago.

All in all an outstanding experience. My only problem is the same I've had in every upscale restaurant in recent years - the plate size. Chefs have become overly enamored with putting tiny morsels of food on huge plates. Please stop!!!

But EMP should consider increasing their portion size. If customers are starting to laugh, that's not a good sign. They should nip this in the bud before it gets out of hand and they get a "reputation."

Final bill with tax and tip came to $435.

Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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One thing I need to add. It was a long evening and I miscalculated the tip. I left $20 less than I should have (too much Vin Santo I guess). I phoned this morning with my apologies and gave my credit card so they could add the $20. Luckily I kept the receipt that had the waiter's name and table number.

The manager thanked me and told me they would remove my photo from the dart board. I knew I felt sharp pains in my sleep.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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I recently had the tasting menu, and was blown away by the food and quality of service.

The meal started with four Amuses a Kuomoto oyster with cucumber, the cucumber worked surprisingly well considering I normally do not care for cuces. The next Amuse was a sweetbread beggar’s purse, a nice crunchy exterior with unctuous sweetbreads in the middle; I could have eaten a dozen of these easily. Next was a circle of perfect Big Eye Tuna belly.

I was then given seafood Ragu of oyster, lobster, and mussels with small cous cous like pearls on the bottom. A very good dish but the mussels tasted slightly off.

The next course was my least favorite, probably because it had no protein in it. Compressed watermelon and heirloom tomato with basil oil, the flavors and textures where very pronounced, just not my cup of tea.

Up next was one of my two favorite courses. An in shell steam poached egg sans yolk, uni, osetra caviar, and an uni and lobster foam served with a crispy wafer. This dish tasted of the pure ocean, surprisingly the uni did not overpower the other flavors of the dish, and the egg white worked well as a binding agent for the flavors. This truly is the breakfast of champions.

Next was a wonderfully simple dish of Loup de Mer, basil puree, in a saffron broth. This dish allowed the fish to really shine with the other components as backup.

Next up was langoustine, cauliflower puree, lobster stock and roe sauce, with a scallop.

The texture of the lang, was perfect on par with Wyllie’s, the scallop was a little rubbery. This dish is served with the Lang’s head witch I was going to save until the end of the dish but regrettably the head was empty and only a visual component.

The next dish was the best veal I have ever had, and one of the better dishes I have had of late. The chop is presented to you and then brought back to the kitchen for carving and plating. The dish is served with large sheets of pasta, fava, chanterelles, and an uber mushroom jus that tasted of pure delicate mushroom almost a concentrated morel taste. This is one of those dishes that works perfectly, everything worked to create new flavors and textures.

Next was a layered dish. Wafer, cremini paste, wafer, goat cheese, wafer, and zucchini slices on top. This would have been a much better dish if the zucchini was not there, I found that it overpowered and muted the other more delicate flavors.

Next was a mascarpone ice cream served with something else (sorry wine stain in my notes)

The final dessert course was a chocolate soufflé served in a clear cylinder, with chocolate sauce on the side, and the purest tasting banana ice cream I have ever had.

The petite fours included among other things a superb salted caramel chocolate cup. This was all complemented by the house champagne cocktail, cherry blossom sling, and a glass of crozes hermitage.

All in all one of the best meals this year I cant wait to return to explore the ala carte menu. The service is top notch I recommend sitting at the bar ask for Leo he is a great bartender.

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rich,

Did you really leave hungry? I usually feel ready to pop after a three or four course meal at a high end restaurant.

That requires a gram of protein for every pound of body weight...so 3 ounces of meat doesn't cut it...on the other hand, most of my consumption is at lunch...

I hope you realize that the old bodybuilder's goal of 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is probably 4x the protein you really need to grow. A pound of raw beef has 100 grams of protein and 33 grams of fat. Most of us would be doing pretty well to gain 1/4# of muscle in a week, which means we need an extra couple of grams of protein a day to build muscle. Extra protein is just extra calories.

I err on the side of caution and aim for at least 1 gram of protein per kilogram of my goal bodyweight, but I am sure that is still way more protein than I need for building muscle.

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rich,

      Did you really leave hungry?  I usually feel ready to pop after a three or four course meal at a high end restaurant.

No, I was okay (probably because of the bread), certainly not ready to pop. My wife was hungry, but we ordered the cheese plate and that satisfied her.

However, if we ordered the three-course prix fix, then we both would have been hungry. The two couples next to us left hungry. I heard them talking about getting a burger across the street. And I must admit the portion sizes that were served to them were schockingly miniscule.

In order to leave EMP satisfied I think it's imperative to order the five or seven course tasting menu. The three-course PF just won't get it done.

And yes, that's the first time that's ever happened to us at a high-end resto.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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I had the "summer" tasting menu here last night (review to follow at some point) and I can honestly say that I left stuffed. And believe me when I tell you that I'm as big a pig as just about anyone who posts on this board.

I didn't think the course sizes were that laughably small; in fact, they were pretty substantial for a multi-course tasting menu. It may even be that someone over there is reading this board and has made an adjustment.

I can't speak to the three-course prix fixe, of course.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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I sort of stumbled into Eleven Madison Park last night, alone, intending to check out the bar menu. But when I caught a glimpse of the "Summer" tasting menu, it looked so good I couldn't resist it. Especially given the golden reviews Chef Daniel Humm has been getting.

I, too, was blown away by this meal. It is hard to believe that this formerly boring restaurant is serving food this good. This is the best food (at least of the Euro-American haute cuisine variety) that I've had in New York in years. (No, I haven't eaten at Per Se or ADNY yet.)

I see that M.X.Hasset has already described the "Summer" menu in detail (what I had was the same but for a few differences in the many "hidden" courses), thus relieving me of that obligation. So I can just make a few comments.

First, I'll note that the uni in the poached egg/uni/caviar appetizer was so patently superior to the tasteless mush I was sold (also as part of a composed, cooked appetizer) at Morimoto last week that it shows that place up for the mass-market tomfoolery that it is. And amazingly, Eleven Madison Park isn't appreciably more expensive than Morimoto. (Better cocktails at EMP, too.)

Second, I'll add to M.X.Hasset's description of the seafood "ragu", a dish that I liked a lot more than he appeared to. (Maybe because my mussels, happily, weren't the slightest bit off.) This dish consists of bits of seafood served in a very intense carrot consumme. The intense flavor of that broth really took me by surprise. FWIW, the "couscous pearls" at the bottom of the cup were tapioca.

Third, I'll agree that the veal dish was the best I've ever had. It was a veal chop, with the meat taken off the bone and sliced, served with unconstructed lasagna noodles and fava beans and a delicious, very slightly pungent gravy of some kind (given the lightness of the veal's flavor, the temptation would have been to make the gravy very strong, as Gray Kunz does with the glaze on the pork chop he's currently serving -- but Chef Humm is too restrained for that; he lets the veal's light flavor shine through).

I thought the dessert courses were all extraordinary. Someone mentioned the name of their pastry chef earlier in this thread; I think she deserves celebration along with Chef Humm.

Figuring that, once I decided to go with their most expensive tasting menu, I was in for a pound as well as a penny, I ordered the wine pairings. Without wanting to sound too gushy, I'd say they were the most consistently successful I've ever had anywhere.

My only complaint about this restaurant is that I don't think the service and the room live up to the food. This is a complaint I never thought I'd lodge, but I thought the service was too casual for what is some of the very best food now available in New York. I've never been a fan of the room at EMP -- I think it's cold, soulless, and boring -- and I think this food in particular deserves a more jewel-like setting. And (now I'm gonna sound like Frank Bruni) it should be served somewhere where there isn't music playing. Food this good deserves to be the complete center of attention.

In other words, here's what I think should happen: EMP and Country should swap kitchens. Daniel Humm's food deserves the fancy setting and prepossessing service that Country provides. Doug Psaltis's food at Country would only seem better in this slightly more casual setting.*

I don't have a single negative thing to say about the food I had at EMP last night. And even if the prices have gone up a bit since Chef Humm first took over (my endless tasting menu cost $115; the nine wine pairings were $68), this is still, for the quality, a relative bargain.

In other words, if you're at all interested in haute cuisine, RUN, DO NOT WALK, to EMP.

_____________________________________________________________

* Having eaten at EMP, I now understand gaf's misgivings about Country. I think EMP, having similar culinary aims as Country, shows Country up. I'm not saying Country is in any way unworthy; only that EMP is much better.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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Sneakeater,

I can't get enough of hearing about chef Humm! I am just amazed by what he accomplished in such a short time. And for that matter can't recall hearing of any chef doing the same in the past.

Wonderful report and thanks for sharing with us all.

Also 'Bravo' to Nicole Kaplan the pastry chef and also egullet member.

Robert R

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I had the "summer" tasting menu here last night (review to follow at some point) and I can honestly say that I left stuffed.  And believe me when I tell you that I'm as big a pig as just about anyone who posts on this board.

I didn't think the course sizes were that laughably small; in fact, they were pretty substantial for a multi-course tasting menu.  It may even be that someone over there is reading this board and has made an adjustment.

I can't speak to the three-course prix fixe, of course.

I agree SE - the summer tasting is seven courses and the aquatic tasting is five. I think the five satisfies and the seven fills you. But take my word on this, the regular prix fix just won't do it.

I'm not a big eater (very rarely have dessert at any restaurant) and I know I would have been hungry if I had the meal that was served to the couples next to us.

My wife is not much of a bread eater and that's the reason she was still hungry after the aquatic menu (and as I mentioned she's in the 125-30 range). However, as I said upthread, the quality of the food is second to none.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Well, yeah, you're right, if the portions on the three-course prix fixe aren't much bigger than the portions on the tasting menus, that would be a problem.

They were (at least that night) and there aren't as many amuses as Robin Meredith mentioned.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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