Birthday Dinner at Eleven Madison Park
Yesterday Matt and I did an early birthday celebration at Eleven Madison Park and it was by far my favorite splurge meal…ever. Chef Daniel Humm is a genius; he started his career in Switzerland, earning his first Michelin star at the age of 24, and then was the executive chef at Campton Place in San Francisco (I remember eating here during restaurant week in medical school!). Since he came to Eleven Madison Park in 2006, the restaurant has been awarded four stars from The New York Times, six James Beard Foundation Awards (including Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restaurant in America), three Michelin Stars, and the #1 spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
So when it came time to decide where to eat for my 30th birthday I didn’t have to think twice! This was the ultimate splurge meal for us; it is very pricey to sample the 11-course tasting menu so it was a big milestone birthday, once in a lifetime type experience. Starting April 11, Eleven Madison Park started serving an eleven course retrospective menu highlighting some of the most significant dishes served in the last decade. I was so excited to discover this because it’s like a “greatest hits” compilation! With each dish the waiter/waitress shared a story about the dish’s significance and how it was created. This blogpost highlights each dish and has beautiful photos, much prettier than my dim snaps, so check them out for the full details!
- Gougeres with grated gruyere (2006)
- Sea urchin cappuccino with peekytoe crab and cauliflower (2006)
- Little neck clambake with veloute and parker house rolls (2011)
- Prawn roulade with avocado and yogurt (2007)
- Foie gras torchon with maple syrup and pain d’epice (2004)
- Carrot tartare with rye toast and condiments (2012)
- Turbot poached zucchini and squash blossom (2007)
- Winter in Provence black truffle celery root, potato and chevre frais (2009)
- Suckling pig confit with rhubarb, leeks and cipollini onion (2002)
- Milk and honey with dehydrated milk foam and bee pollen (2010)
- Chocolate palette with peanut butter and popcorn ice cream (2008)
For drinks, I highly recommend the Lucky Bamboo cocktail, which is made with Vodka, Elderflower, Pineapple, Yuzu, Lemon, Cinnamon. It is sweet, light, with a slightly fruity flavor, and has a spicy kick from the cinnamon. Matt had their version of a Bee’s Knees, with lavender honey and scotch.
Just a tip I received from a coworker: if you are going to Eleven Madison Park, call in advance and request a tour of the kitchen. At some point in your meal, someone will come and take you on a private tour of the pristine kitchen, where over 35 chefs are busy at work preparing beautiful dishes. You stand at a table at the front of the kitchen and one of the chefs will come make a custom cocktail for you, using liquid nitrogen to make grape sorbet, mixed with grape slices, scotch, and pop rocks that fizzle in your mouth. That was probably our most special moment of our meal, getting to go backstage to see how the magic is made.
The meal finished with a bottle of apple brandy distilled and made especially for Eleven Madison Park, delivered all the way from California (Alameda, to be exact). This bottle was 40% alcohol by volume and though it smelled great, just like apples, I took one tiny sip and my throat was ON FIRE. It is SO STRONG! I couldn’t take any more than that tiny sip because it was so strong I swear you could almost clean the floors with it. No wonder they give you the whole bottle…there’s no way anyone can take more than a few sips!
Anyways, wanted to do a little foodie post because this was a really special meal that meant a lot to me as I turn one year older!