Even though I am physically in France, my mind still wonders back to New York and 11 Madison Park. It was definitely one of the best dinners of my life. So I really want to write something about it. Unfortunately, I was too shy to take a proper camera with me, so the photos are taken with an iPhone (thus they are barely mediocre). After buying the Nikon D5500, I have been completely obsessed with taking all my photos with it. The camera does most of the work.
When you are going to a three Michelin-star restaurant, expectations are of course high. So high I would say, that the experience is always a bit disappointing. Everything is so relative. This is why I most often really applaud for two- or one-star places, or restaurants that have no star what-so-ever. They are the challengers and in that group I find restaurants that really make me feel that my expectations were exceeded. They are often more reasonably priced as well. However, 11 Madison Park is the probably the best three-star I have ever visited. No, not the best restaurant, there are a few dinners I rate higher. A three star is always slightly stiff. However, food, wine, service and ambiance, they were all awesome.
I will start with the wines in this review. The list at 11 Madison was great and the sommelier did a super job. We always prefer to try some local wines when we travel. Perhaps not always in Asia, but for sure in the US and Europe. New York state wines were quite new to me, so the friendly sommelier picked a few from the wine list that represented the style of different wine regions in the area. I wrote a small piece about them last week: Discovering New York Wines. He even opened a few bottles that we not on the by-the-glass list, so that we could taste them. And everything we were able to get in half glasses. That’s pretty great service.
There was only one six course menu. We were asked for any specific food-allergies, so I assume they accommodate special diets (even Ms “no oysters” diet), however no specific selection can be made in the start. During the dinner, we were able to, however, make some individual choices on courses. The six courses was also a bit of an illusion, as there were so many small extra tasters, that one kind of lost track on what was a course and what was not. It was just a four hour food festival with continuous snacking. I will not write the whole list of courses we had here, but I can mention a few favorites: eggs benedict with mini muffins perhaps being my favorite. We also had really great lamb (three different pieces) and our dessert was a baked Alaska that was flambéed at the table. There was also a fun chocolate tasting at the end of the dinner. We got four chocolate bars that were all made with different milk (cow, goat, lamb and buffalo), and we were supposed to guess which is which. It was actually quite hard even though each chocolate bar tasted distinctly different.
All in all the damage was around 400$ per person. Around 300$ of that accounted for food and service was included (yay! I hate tipping). And yes, that is a lot of money. However, for a three star meal including a flight of sommelier picked wines, I did not feel all weak in the legs when pulling out the Amex. We have had significantly worse value for money meals, and this felt more like an investment into the memory bank. The meal was worth every penny.