Eleven Madison Park
Posted 28 August 2012 - 09:01 AM
Posted 28 August 2012 - 11:23 PM
New York restaurants may suck (relatively), but their impact is enormous.
Posted 29 August 2012 - 01:06 AM
Seriously - you can fly to chicago with 2 weeks notice for 200-225 per.
Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:35 PM
I certainly want to hear nothing more about the Times critic's anonymity after learning that EMP would pack an otherwise largely empty dining room with friends when they knew he was coming in. I don't blame the restaurant, but Bruni was clearly gamed in the run-up to the fourth star.
Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:50 PM
Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:55 PM
There are worse things for a guy like him to fund.
Posted 11 September 2012 - 01:45 AM
I didn't read it yet, but does it basically detail how the chef and manager ran an incredibly spendy operation until they bought the place and then suddenly started making money?
Surely Miles Davis did the same.
Posted 17 September 2012 - 11:03 PM
"If you're wondering why you have a bag of chips on your table, the potato chip was invented in upstate New York in the 1800s," a server said at the start of the second course, a cup of what tasted like salty and smoky apple juice. Indeed, next to the cup was a shiny foil sack containing crisp peels of apple and celery root.
A spellbinding broth of clams and buckwheat was introduced with a spiel that ended this way: "Even today, people on Long Island gather on the beaches for clambakes as they celebrate with family and friends."
And a malted chocolate egg cream was given this gloss: "Some say the egg cream was invented in Manhattan, some say Brooklyn, but everybody agrees that it contains no eggs and no cream."
About midway through my lunch, a server clamped a meat grinder to the table. He began talking about New York's steakhouses, famous around the world. By this time, the smoke of seared dry-aged beef was in my nostrils. "One of the most iconic dishes in steakhouses is steak tartare," he went on.
Something about that seemed not quite right, factually, but I quickly forgot about it because his next move was to feed a cooked carrot into the meat grinder. This was Eleven Madison Park's tribute to Manhattan's temples of beef: bright orange mush that you might feed a baby.
There was more to it than that, of course. Mr. Humm is a wizard with vegetables; I don't think there's another New York chef cooking at his level who can tease as much flavor and beauty from them. So by the time I'd mixed the carrots with the garnishes that stood in for the traditional steak tartare extras, then applied a few drops of mustard oil and carrot emulsion presented in plastic squeeze bottles, I had one of the most surprising, inventive carrot dishes I've tasted in a long while. But my appetite was primed for porterhouse. No carrot should face that kind of competition.
And while I loved the satiny sturgeon inside a bell jar of apple wood smoke, having it introduced as an homage to shops like Barney Greengrass didn't do the rest of that dish any favors. When you are thinking about a fat layer of cream cheese sitting on an everything bagel at the corner of Amsterdam and 86th Street, how good can you feel about eating poppy and sesame seeds lightly dusted over a head of romaine the size of a wine cork? And while everyone has his own ideal of the smoked fish breakfast, mine has never included eating dill pickles and caviar at the same time.
The narrative tone isn't sharp, it isn't quick, it isn't wised up, and it assumes the listener knows nothing: in other words, it's not a New York voice. By the end of the four hours, I felt as if I'd gone to a Seder hosted by Presbyterians.
No doubt the New York menu, in some ways their most daring risk yet, will itself be reinvented. At the moment, its fusion with the old grid menu feels transitional, like a tadpole with legs and a tail.
Maybe the voice-over could explain that, too.
Posted 17 September 2012 - 11:12 PM
Posted 17 September 2012 - 11:36 PM
What's that line they teach you in creative writing class? Show, don't tell?
Personally, I say bravo, Mr. Wells. He's about he only critic weighty enough to question the trend.
the ulterior epicure