Eleven Madison Park

New York, USA

Eleven Madison Park was the 3rd restaurant on the quest. It was ranked № 1 in 2017 and fell ever so slightly to 4th in 2018. Eleven is also a Michelin 3-star restaurant.

Jonathan's Review

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Of the four retaurants on this New York City food adventure, Eleven Madison Park was the lynchpin of all of our plans. I made the reservations bleary-eyed at six in the morning on June first from Portland, just to make sure we could go. Jonathan had been talking about this restaurant for months, and about how he kept missing the reservation opening, so I set three alarms, woke up, and poked him awake when I made the reservation, to make sure the day was okay.

ALL OUR NYC HAPPINESS HINGED AROUND THIS RESTAURANT.

Okay, not really, but we were not disappointed.

Our host was delightfully cheery, which was great. I don't know if she was reflecting my delight, but our excitement was high, and remained high the whole meal. Just so delightful. We did have some initial confusion about the wine pairings with the meal: apparently I had ordered one for each of us, but I haven't been having the pairings (waaaaaaay too much alcohol for me). The confusion was easily cleared.

Corn was a main ingredient in the meal. I rather wish I had been keeping notes of the dishes so that I could comment on how many dishes had corn in them. As corn is a favorite food of mine, always has been, I was delighted by the dishes. Yay for corn being in season.

One dish stand out for me was the cheese filled pastry. They were delicious and entertaining. As Jonathan bit into his, his eyes rolled backwards into his head.

And then the cheese came out.

All over him.

I jumped forward, and he turned to me, asking what was wrong. I ever so (not) tactfully said, "Stop talking!" and then proceeded to inform him he was spraying the cheese that had landed on his beard all over the table. We both cracked up, as the host, a little mortified at our potential distress, came over to help us.

I love that we had this experience. It was just cute and funny and charming and wonderful.

Of the other dishes, I tried the foie gras. Not. My. Thing. Jonathan enjoyed it, though.

At the end of the meal, turns out, we had prepaid for meal, which is why the declination of the second wine-pairing was confusing at the beginning of the meal. There's a bit of psychology around money happening here: when we pay at the end, there are levels of pain associated with that money "loss." By prepaying, the restaurant avoids that small bit of psychological pain, and we leave with the delight of the dessert. Really quite smart.

If in New York City, and with a reservation, yep, we'd come back. We'd just be sure to be more careful with those cheese pastries come out.