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Mar 29, 2007 02:44 PM

Review: Eleven Madison Park (lunch)

Had lunch today at EMP with dad. Reminder everyone...you only have two days left to use the coupon you received during Restaurant Week.

We both had the torchon of "Elevage Perigord" Foie Gras with Venezuelan Cocoa in a gelee to start. It was served with an average piece of brioche that also had a swirl of cocoa through it, much like the foie gras. The foie gras was, naturally, delicious and topped with some salty shavings. It was cut in a thin round and elevated above a gelee of sorts. Was it worth $28. The simple answer is no. The serving was meager at best. No question that the presentation and execution was flawless, but the amount to cost ration makes no sense. I see why some people are turned off by this here. I'm glad to have been able to use the coupon to pay for this.

Dad went with the Scottish Salmon "Mi-Cuit" which he said was fantastic. I've had it before and yes, it was very good ($29).

I ordered the slow-cooked Loup de Mer (Branzino or Mediterranean Sea Bass) with saffron endive nage and ginger ($32). Again, the presentation and execution was flawless. The portion size here was appropriate and the flavor and texture was fantastic. Great.

For dessert, we both had the 'Chocolate-Peanut' - a tart of sorts, similar to what you'd get if you married a twix and a snickers bar. It was served with peanut butter caramel and brandied cherry chip ice cream. The ice cream was a disappointment but the rest was very good.

Our waiter wasn't that good. He had zero personality and didn't do much to earn his tip. This is the first time I can say that about a meal at EMP. It's always been top notch. The sommelier on the other hand, was great as usual. He picked for us a Franz Hirtzberger, Rotes Tor (Smaragd, 2004) (Gruner Vetliner) that did the trick. Same to the general manager and host staff. And it is simply wonderful to be sat in the same seat everytime. Must be the wonders of OpenTable or just good service, but they listen and really treat their guests how they want to be treated.

It remains one of my favorite restaurants, though after absorbing others' recent critiques (small portions, lack of a strong flavor profile on some dishes, etc.) I can, to some extent, agree with them. For starters, they need a new pastry chef and I vote to bring back the leaf-shaped butter.

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  1. Thanks dkstar1 for your review. I will be at EMP for dinner tomorrow night and I will keep your comments in mind (as usual).
    btw-2 things: 1) when we ate at EMP for lunch during Restaurant Week, they failed to give us the coupon (I forgot to ask, we were having such a good time)
    2) It's a Danny Meyer weekend--going to Blue Smoke Sun night--been there several times but a friend has always wanted to try it (I owe her a dinner--It's not my favorite but she wants to give it a shot--and it's sooo nearby). Maybe I should stop at Shake Shake on Sat for a bite too and make it a Trifecta weekend?

    2 Replies
    1. re: eve

      Had I known, I'd have given you my extra. Danna couldn't come to lunch today, so we gave our third coupon to the ladies sitting next to us. Argh!

      Blue Smoke is pretty decent. I stick to the burger, salt and pepper beef ribs, pulled pork and fry bread. The Blue Smoke Ale is pretty good too. Enjoy!

      1. re: dkstar1

        Thats pretty much what I get too!

        Except I also get the Spicy Cheese Fries

    2. Thanks for another beautifully-written review. Disappointing to hear about your waiter; usually the waiters are great at EMP. I hope it was just a bad day for him.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ellenost

        agreed. It was likely a fluke. And its not that he was "bad", just not the normal "great" you usually get there.

        1. re: dkstar1

          Yes. I think there is a consensus here regarding what to expect at EMP.

      2. I agree with you on the basis of the foie gras and loup de mer. Instead of ordering a la carte, I ended up ordering the tasting menu (aka Gourmand menu) about weeks ago. I wrote and took photos of it on my blog.

        Here's the post:

        Somehow, I was a bit disappointed when they told me that they took off the prix fixe menu that used to be there for the past few years.


        3 Replies
        1. re: chocokitty

          The OP's nice review provided a sense of the low quantity-to-price satisfaction ratio of the foie gras dish. Do you also feel the same way?

          1. re: RCC

            I felt about the same way. The foie gras is rich and fulfilling but I don't think one should pay the $28 price tag.