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May 4, 2010 11:20 AM

Eleven Madison - eating at bar?

I would like to eat at the Eleven Madison bar during an upcoming visit. Is it feasible to get a seat for 2 at bar early in the evening? Are there any particular dishes on the current menu that you would recommend. Thank you.

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  1. We just ate there Thurs. night, the bar area looked very condusive to seat two, there were a few tables and then about 10 seats at the bar (we had a table). We had a fabulous time and the food was beyond description. My DH really enjoyed his frog legs (boned) w/wild mushrooms and a poached egg on top. Really texture/taste combo. I had the peeky toe crab (by mistake), that was nice and light then the gnocchi (which I had ordered), which were good, but very rich and filling.

    We then had the duck for two, which has been rightfully raved about on this board. The vanilla souffle for dessert was quite good too.

    All in all, fabulous meal, service, and we will be be back. One of the few restaurants in NY that I can really rave about for all around everything!

    19 Replies
    1. re: owlwoman

      Thank you so much for the reply. Did you enjoy any cocktails too? It sounds great. We've had a Daniel Humm meal when he was a chef in San Francisco. It was fantastic so I have been wanting to check out Eleven Madison Park for years since he departed SF.

      Eleven Madison Park
      11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

      1. re: oaktown

        I recommend you contact the restaurant to see if the full menu is offered at the bar.

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          Agreed -- it was not the full menu last time I dined at the EMP Bar. It annoys me when restaurants do that.

        2. re: oaktown

          The cocktails are pretty good. Not the best in town, but pretty good compared to other restaurants' cocktail lists. Had a Beloved last time, it was OK. Not terrible but not fantastically good. The Widow's Kiss was better.

          Both the bar food and cocktail menus are located here:

          If you have time, try out Rye House or Flatiron Lounge for cocktails (short walk away).

          Flatiron Lounge
          37 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

          Rye House
          11 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

          1. re: kathryn

            I have had some superb martinis at EMP. Not so easy to find these days.

          2. re: oaktown

            Agreed. The cocktail program at EMP is very strong for a fine dining restaurant (perhaps best in that genre), but it doesn't compare favorably to specialty cocktail bars. That's probably expected though.

          3. re: owlwoman

            Did you have the lavender laquered duck at bar? I was told they won't serve that at bar.

            1. re: UES Mayor

              owlwoman's post is written in a rather confusing manner, making it sound as though she had the duck in the bar area. Not possible. The bar menu during dinner service is a limited version of what is served in the dining room, and the duck is definitely not on it. So, it's apparent that owlwoman was providing a description of the bar area, but she and her husband ate in the dining room.

              1. re: RGR

                I just realized that the chicken for two is no longer on the menu! I had booked the table after reading about that chicken here!

                What is the opinion of the regulars on the best apps and mains on tonight's regular 3-course menu?

                Duck, fish, or lamb are in the running for mains.

                How is the egg. frog's legs, morel app? (I have never tried frog's legs)


                1. re: erica

                  It's still on their lunch menu; it's late at this point, but you might (stress *might*) be able to have them do it for you special if you call STAT and plead. They are so service oriented, but I'll be honest I don't think you have a great (nor even decent) chance.

                  If that does not work out, and you like duck, you should definitely get that. It's one of their signatures, and most everyone loves it.

                  The Egg/Frog leg app is delicious, but what my wife and I really swooned over is the Ricotta Gnocchi ... man was it delicious!

                  1. re: a213b

                    Thanks! I am going tonight so your tips are a help! The duck also sounds tempting, now that I've read a bit more online plus your comments....I've only been twice before and not recently so everything is new to me. My partner will surely order the gnocchi, so I was hoping to get something else..

                    1. re: erica

                      I'm returning to EMP in two weeks (especially since I saw that the duck has returned to the menu). I'll probably have the crab appetizer.

                  2. re: erica

                    The chicken may be gone from the dinner menu (though still available at lunch), but it was taken off to make way for the return (by popular demand) of Chef Humm's signature duck for two. Best duck on the planet!

                    Photos of the duck for two here:

                    Of the other meats, I'd choose the veal, which is absolutely sensational. In the fish category, both the bouillabaisse and the lobster are first-rate.

                    Bouillabaisse photo:

                    With regard to appetizers, the egg with frogs' legs & morels is excellent. But my favorites are the Foie Gras Torchon and the Diver Scallop.

                    Diver Scallop photo:

                    1. re: RGR

                      I was hoping you would respond, RGR! That scallop looks amazing and I will certainly try the duck! Many thanks!

                      1. re: erica

                        You're very welcome, erica! I hope you'll report back.

                        Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

                        1. re: RGR

                          Four of us had an exceptionally good meal last night. The centerpiece was a pair of the ducks with lavender honey. My partner began with the gnocchi and after the tally, the voting was unanimous: These were the best gnocchi any of us had ever had. Unbelieveably light and tasty and downright fantastic.

                          I started with the egg/frog legs/ morel combination on the advice of our wonderful waiter, Billy. I know the word is overused but "WOW!!!" Two of our fellow diners had, and loved, the asparagus morel starter. They must have loved it very much because I was not awarded one tiny taste.

                          Dessert--chocolate/banana confection=excellent. Macarons=dreamy. We were celebrating two birthdays and the birthday people received menus with their names across the top! And giant brown butter macarons.

                          I hate to repeat myself, but the amuse plate evoked "Wow!s" as well. My favorite amuse (amuses??) were the sweetbread cornette and the separately presented soup crowned by chunks of Hawaiian blue prawns. Carrot "marshmallows" were interesting and surprisingly tasty.

                          I am sorry to be so vague on the details. We were too busy gushing to take note of the details. Even the bread/butter were superb--two types of butter, one Vermont cow butter and one sheep's milk butter. Chewy and addictive olive bread.

                          Excellent, excellent restaurant with first rate service. And they were gracious and accommodating about the last minute request by our two fellow diners to produce gluten-free fare. (My sister even liked the gluten-free rice bread which we were told can be purchased at Whole Foods! I would not sully my mouth with such a thing but the reports were good even for that last-minute substitution)

                          The duck was superb.

                          There was talk that this was the favorite NYC dining experience of the year.
                          I don't think I have ever had better service in a NYC restaurant.

                          1. re: erica


                            Thanks for reporting back! You are certainly not vague in proclaiming that you had a WOW experience at EMP. Needless to say, I'm thriled to hear that!

                    2. re: erica

                      Just had the gourmet menu at EMP last week with 3 friends. Incredible as usual.

                      Our main was the lamb, and it was the only dish where all conversation stopped for quite a while. I definitely recommend the lamb, but if you are in position to have the duck for 2 and haven't had it before, I think you should go for it. I also tend to suggest to people to go for the lobster if they're not sure they've ever really encountered perfectly cooked lobster before.

                      While I've only eaten at the bar for lunch, and not the bar-specific menu, I would think that what can be served is mostly based on how much room it would take. For example, if you get the chicken for 2 at the bar, they generally don't serve the fricasee in a separate bowl like they would at a table. That being said, I'm sure they can accomodate regulars such as RGR.

                    3. re: RGR

                      Yes, sorry about the confusion, we had a reservation in the dining room. Was only giving an observation about the bar area. Glad to read everyone is enjoying the Frog leg app and duck as much as we did!