Eleven Madison Park is officially the best restaurant in the world. New York City’s temple to fine dining earned the title during the big reveal of the World’s 50 Best (“prom night for the restaurant industry”) in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday.
We can see why. With Michelin-starred chef Daniel Humm at the helm, the French-influenced bistro serves exceptional Greenmarket cuisine that surprises and delights.
Food blogger Julian Fang captured the experience of dining at Eleven Madison Park in spring 2011 for his website Jewelz. He opted for the 11-course tasting menu, which today runs three hours and costs $A400 per person.
While the menu has changed both in format and in content, the decadence remains. We’ve shared a selection of Fang’s photos with permission.
Daniel Humm's award-winning restaurant is located in Manhattan's Flatiron neighbourhood, on Madison Avenue between 24th and 25th Streets.
The Art Deco-styled dining room features floor-to-ceiling windows and whimsical floral arrangements that reach to the high ceilings.
But let's get to the food. Eleven Madison Park only offers a tasting menu, preceded by light amuse-bouches. First up were these bite-sized cheese gougéres, served warm and sprinkled with salt.
As diners snacked on the pastry puffs, they perused the exhaustive beverage menu. A 2006 Arnot-Roberts syrah wine was selected.
If you like your vegetables best prepared as ice cream toppings, the playful carrot marshmallow is for you.
Over the years, Eleven Madison Park has made its famous foie gras seared, cured, and made into pudding. This preparation came topped with an asparagus gelée.
Wine glass empty? Swap it out for a mint julep with a bouquet of mint leaves so large, you could wear it as a hat at the Kentucky Derby.
The first course, Sterling Royal Caviar, came nestled with spheres of smoked sturgeon and salmon cream.
This course features three different ingredients at three different temperatures: Santa Barbara sea urchin, custard with green apple, and shellfish ragout. Together they make a decadent, sour, briny, and somehow great combination.
Eleven Madison Park prides itself on serving locally grown foods. The Spring Out of Winter course pairs freshly harvested asparagus with Jamón Ibérico.
Another gorgeous foie gras preparation, this melt-on-your-tongue foie gras torchon accompanies tête de cochon, pickled spring vegetables, and horseradish.
Each course topped the last. A colourful plate of poached Nova Scotia lobster featured 'young' carrots, ginger, and vadouvan-spiced granola.
The Earth and Ocean course combined land and sea influences. Nearly unrecognizable as chicken, a slow-cooked poussin was served with Hawaiian blue prawns and seaweed.
Four different preparations of Colorado lamb accompanied the large, pink, herb-roasted cut in the center of the plate. The lamb ravioli, lamb sausage, lamb short rib, and sweetbreads proved there's no wrong way to eat it.
A dining room manager delivered the star of the meal, the Muscovy duck stuffed with lavender and glazed with honey, to the table.
He carved the bird and plated it right there, so other diners could watch on and drool. The choicest morsels were served alongside asparagus, ramps, and strawberries.
Next, a fromage cart pulled up table-side. The server doled out a selection of artisanal cheese based on the diner's preferences.
Dinner now transitioned into its final stage: dessert. The 'Soda Pop' -- which actually made a popping sound with each bite, thanks to a helping of Pop Rocks -- was constructed out of tangerine foam frozen with liquid nitrogen.
An interesting take on the milk and cookies, the Milk and Chocolate course combined dehydrated chocolate mousse, caramelised white chocolate sorbet, browned milk solids, and other rich cocoa textures.
The final course, a generous plate of macarons, offered an even greater variety of flavours. The macarons came in pink peppercorn with caramel, chocolate banana, peanut butter, coconut with chocolate ganache, Meyer lemon, toasted sesame with green tea, and grapefruit with fennel.
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