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Jan 29, 2012 10:16 AM

Eleven Madison Park lunch - a few questions

Hello again! I had asked for some recs back in August when my husband and I came with our 7 year old ( her first time in NY!). Well, she loved it as much as we did and turns out her favorite restaurant was Prune. We are fortunate enough to be able to visit again mid February for my birthday. I was able to get a reservation for lunch at Eleven Madison Park for the 17th. After reading about all the lovely reviews here I felt like it's worth the splurge. I do have a few questions if anyone can help me I would appreciate it.
1. Both of us want to do the tasting menus but I don't eat red meat or pork. I know they tailor the tasting menu but if we wanted the clam pot for example would they create it without chorizo or do two versions or just do something else entirely?
2. My husband is a wine lover and would like to do the wine pairing. How many wines do they usually serve with a tasting? I'd like to join him but I'm a little worried it might be too much since it's lunch time and we will have arrived from L.A. that morning. I'd hate to pass out at the table. If I do a few glasses with the meal - how many would you suggest with the tasting menu?
3. One of my favorite foods is uni. Any way I can make a special request for it or is it not part of their winter menu?
4. How long will the meal last? We're not in a hurry just wondering if I need to even make dinner plans. We might just hit a few favorite bars and have some bar snacks if we're up for it later.

Thanks so much for all your help! I truly appreciate it.

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

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  1. Will it be just you and your SO or will your child be with you again?

    2 Replies
      1. re: Pink_pug

        They could certainly modify the clam bake.

        When it comes to the wine pairings I will say this, they are fantastic and generous and you may be exposed to wines you would not otherwise try. However, we have moved away from the pairings for the reason you mention, it can get a bit "daunting". What we have started to do is ask for a bottle that would cover the majority of the courses and if there is a particular wine that would compliment a certain course please recommend it. It has worked out very well. And just FYI, they also having an incredible beer pairing program as well as a general "pairings" where you may get some wine, some beer, some sake, etc... It's quite incredible.

        Currently one of the amuse incorporates uni (along with foie, caviar, and green apple gelee), hopefully this will still be on the rotation when you go because it was ridiculously good.

        Time? It's all relative at EMP. I have seen people blaze through a meal in 2 hours, which to me is criminal, but we take about 4.5 hours (on occasion more). If you want to do a late dinner you should be fine but you won't be hungry for a while after leaving lunch.

    1. 1. When I ate there with my mom, who has similar dietary preferances to you, we got the clam bake and half the stuff was made so she could eat it. Really cool of them.

      2. Just ask for half pours or fewer glasses, they will be happy to accomodate (sp?). Usually it is one drink per course, but they will do whatever you want.

      3. Not sure. I have never tried to have a restaurant make a special dish for me. I assume that if they have some in the kitchen they would be happy to, but I wouldn't expect them to special order uni for you. (The thing that always pisses me off about Top Chef is how their kitchen is stocked with a million different things that just aren't in a typical kitchen. Uni is really only at its prime for a short while and so, unless it is part of a dish on the menu, it is simply not something they would have in the walk-in.)

      4. I have had lunches there take nearly four hours, and others that were done in half that time. It really depends on you and the pacing you desire. I would relax and take your time, but if you need to be gone by a certain time, just let them know at the beginning.

      14 Replies
      1. re: nmprisons

        Okay, good to know that specific items can be modified.
        I might try the half pours idea. Would the cost be the same?
        No I wouldn't expect to have uni special ordered I was just wondering if it's worthwhile to mention beforehand in case they might have it. And sounds like they do have an amuse with it currently.
        No time constraints.... will just enjoy ourselves. Thanks for the responses.
        Also, if anyone wants to chime in... is the siphon coffee amazing? A must have?
        We are used to Intelligensia coffee and love a good cup.

        1. re: Pink_pug

          The tableside coffee options are both quite good. I am partial to Chemex (which is what I make at home), but have tried both that and the siphon option and have not been disappointed. (I order my coffee from here: and find it superior to intelligentsia, but yrmv) That said, their real expertise is in tea, so you might consider that as a fitting end to your relaxing meal as well.

          1. re: nmprisons

            Since you have had both the Chemex and the siphon coffee, how would you describe the difference(s). I prefer a full-bodied coffee. Thanks.

            1. re: ellenost

              I find that the nature of the coffee itself (i.e., whether it is full-bodied) has more to do with the beans and the roasting than the brewing method. That said, there is some trade-off in Chemex brewing between "body" and flavor clarity. I find that, when using a Chemex, I tend to be able to identify nuances in flavor and aroma that are often lost in other filtration methods, but the method will often take that hard edge off the drink (which is why Chemex is so popular in Europe, but isn't a benefit for those looking for the serious high notes that non-drip coffee can produce).

              The Siphon method produces very good coffee and, frankly, has the distinct benefit of putting on more of a show at the table. The coffee itself is usually a bit warmer than what comes out of a properly done Chemex brew and I find the initial temperature to overwhelm some of the flavor, but this is a temporary problem. I find it to lead to a less complex cup of coffee than a pot of Chemex.

              I am no coffee expert, however, so take the above with a grain of salt. It is just my experience as someone who enjoys coffee, drinks it regularly, and chose Chemex for home use.

              1. re: nmprisons

                Sounds like I might enjoy the Chemex process. Thanks for your detailed explanation.

                1. re: nmprisons

                  I'd mostly agree with this synopsis, but from my experience (no expert, but definitely no novice) I find the textural complexity derived from Siphon to be more velvety or creamy than Chemex. I think the Siphon, much like a French Press, really allows the flavors to bloom and meld while the extended exposure time of the beans to the water creates a really "thick" cup of coffee. The Chemex, like pourover, allows for cleaner seperation of flavors and is perhaps a bit more ideal if you're looking at the subtleties of single estate beans.

                  For my dollar the French Press with a good bean is still the ideal and although the coffee at EMP is stellar the single origin varieties at Intelligentsia (and as served at Gramercy Tavern via French Press) are absolutely otherworldly.

                  In either case you definitely get what you pay for and I give much credit to EMP for the tableside show.


                  1. re: uhockey

                    I'm not sure we are saying anything different, you are just using more precise (or at least more sensual) words. I would only point out that some of the same "thickness" can be achieved with a Chemex by more finely grinding your beans. Not the exact same taste, but close.

                    We use a French Press at home (when not using the Chemex), which is a faster and easier alternative to the Chemex, but I just can't stand getting grinds in my mug, which will sometimes happens even wen I am being as careful as I can muster.

          2. re: nmprisons

            In reading past posts, I see the duck sounds like a "must have". Should we make a point of ordering that? Anything else you can think of?

            1. re: Pink_pug

              If you are a fan of duck than yes, it's a must have (but I don't want you to be disappointed if it isn't available).

              Since the menu changes frequently what we recommend may not be available when you go but very very recent favorites have been the lobster dish (with charred leeks and a shellfish sauce), the cold preps of the foie have always been some of my favorites, the cauliflower dish is another great one. I recent "miss" (probably too strong to say miss) was the squab dish.

              1. re: Spiritchaser

                I am a fan of duck so if they have it I will order it. Their preparation sounds so good!
                I love foie prepared as a torchon so that sounds amazing. I probably wouldn't pick squab so good to know.
                What would you suggest regarding dessert? Any picks there? I read in a previous thread their vanilla souffle was great but I'm afraid that might just be too much after a full tasting menu. Although I do love a good souffle.

                1. re: Pink_pug

                  Unfortunately, EMP hasn't had the wonderful vanilla souffle on their menu in a while. Hope they bring it back soon since it was one of my favorites.

                  1. re: Pink_pug

                    I had a very good coconut dessert, very tropical, mango and papaya, and not overly sweet.

                    1. re: Pink_pug

                      Their duck is amongst the top 5 I've ever had.


              2. Sorry for the late update but I just had to share our experience. In one word, WOW! Eleven Madison Park was simply flawless. From start to finish we were transported and felt like treasured guests. The food was amazing – so perfectly cooked and presented. We both did the tasting menu. My husband got the wine pairings and I got a few glasses. There wasn't a course we didn't enjoy. Our favorites were: Foie Gras terrine with black truffle, potato and rye, Smoked sturgeon sabayon with chive oil, Sunchoke roasted with watercress and horseradish, Lobster poached with burnt leeks, bay leaf, and meyer lemon and Squab roasted with beets, onion and chocolate jus.
                Everyone was so kind and made us feel so welcome. Then we got the tour of the kitchen. Umm… I think I saw fireworks. I was so delighted to have gotten the opportunity to see the great machine behind our amazing meal. Wow, it is quite a spectacle with so many people and stations. Like a swiss watch… all working together. We were served the Apple Jack cocktail while chatting about the restaurant and it’s history. We felt so lucky. And for a couple like my husband and I, there is no greater treat. Then we had some cheese and desserts, black and white cookies to go as well as a chocolate “happy birthday” bar. Then the bottle of cognac that’s left at the table… my husband loved that generous touch.
                What can I say? They completely wowed us and I can’t imagine having a greater meal. The service, the food, the beautiful space… best birthday meal ever! Can’t wait to come back and try it during different seasons. Thank you so much for the recommendations to dine here.
                By the way, we came back another night and had cocktails at the bar before our dinner elsewhere. Great drinks of course but I have to say the room is most beautiful during lunch with the light streaming in from the huge windows.

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

                2 Replies
                1. re: Pink_pug

                  Fantastic report.

                  Are you sure the "Apple Jack" was not a "Jack Rose?"


                  1. re: uhockey

                    Oops! You are right. I remember they mentioned it was named after a famous gambler. I think it has applejack in it. It was delicious!

                2. Other highlights of our trip:
                  Marlow & Sons - had appetizers, the chicken liver mousse starter was amazing. Still thinking about it.
                  Diner - very good. My husband said it was one of the best burgers he's had. I enjoyed my blood orange upside down cake for dessert.
                  Locande Verde - delicious brunch. Ricotta w/brioche toast was our fave.
                  Prune - Had to revisit it again. Loved it again. The food is uncomplicated and the flavors are so true. Would be a regular here if we lived in NY.
                  Momofuku Ssam - best duck I've ever had! Had the bowl and it was just perfectly cooked mixture of crispy skin and juicy tender meat. Loved everything. Definitely will come back. Worth the hype.
                  ABC Kitchen - This was our second visit and have to say we were a little disappointed. 2 out of 4 dishes were over salted. One dish ( a special) was overly rich and one note. It just seemed like an off night (perhaps the chef wasn't there?).
                  The Dutch - very nice. Had a nice long decadent lunch before we had to leave. Had the raw platter with oysters, clams, uni etc. which was wonderful.
                  Thanks again for all your help! Can't wait to come back!

                  Momofuku Ssam Bar
                  207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

                  Locanda Verde
                  377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                  ABC Kitchen
                  35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

                  The Dutch
                  131 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012