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g.johnson

Eleven Madison Park

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Is that where this chef is from?

Chef Humm was at Campton Place in San Francisco. He left at the end of December.

 

Campton Place was one of only seven San Francisco/Bay area restaurants to receive four stars from the restaurant critic, Michael Bauer. Certainly the service was superb—though they failed to bring me a glass of wine I'd ordered, and did not apologize or offer to make it up somehow at the end of the meal, which was annoying and unprofessional. But that was the only blemish on an otherwise lovely meal. I don't know, maybe at that point the chef was phoning it in or something, with short-timers' attitude. It happens.

 

A very elegant restaurant, Campton Place definitely strives to be in the same class as the French Laundry, but the meal I had, while lovely in most every regard, did not dazzle with any consistency. I expect to be dazzled at the prices we paid.

 

I would be surprised if Chef Humm did not want to exceed his previous standards in a move to New York City. That is the impression he gave us when he stopped to chat at the table. It did not sound like a lateral or downward move, careerwise. I could be mistaken.

 

Steven Dilley, your explanation helped: I wonder what you make of what I've posted now.

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Steven Dilley, your explanation helped: I wonder what you make of what I've posted now.

 

Two things immediately come to mind--Danny Meyer and a $68 pre-fixe. With those limitations, I can't imagine the restaurant sincerely aims to be in the same class as the French Laundry / Per Se. If anything, we're looking at an updated and improved Gramercy Tavern-type restaurant. That being said, I was certainly dazzled last night, esp relative to price.

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This is only speculation but I would guess there was a substantial salary increase that could have been the temptation. Plus New York could possibly offer more exposure.

 

But it would seem to me that at almost double the seats it would be a difficult task to raise the bar higher then Campton Place. Yet I won't underestimate him as the man is certainly making waves in only a few months.

 

Edited to add. Also noticed a menu change today on their site including a surprise tasting menu.

http://www.elevenmadisonpark.com/menus.php

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Yeah, baby, this was one fine meal. Probably the most exciting new place I've been to in NYC for a while (never was there pre-Humm).

 

My starter was a fois gras trio (was it the rhubarb terrine mentined in the online menu?). The fois was good, but the accompanyments, an asparagus salad and especially the fois gras creme brulee were outstanding.

 

I really enjoyed my next two courses as well: sturegeon with peas, and lobster with chantenay carrots, orange and gewurtztraminer. Both outstanding.

 

All the dishes I tried (and my mates were generous) were excellent. And boy, is suckling pig popular with this group.

 

Excellent, excellent meal, the only sad part was my Arnoux Les Suchots (2000) was corked.

 

I'll definitely be back soon!

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Two things immediately come to mind--Danny Meyer and a $68 pre-fixe. With those limitations, I can't imagine the restaurant sincerely aims to be in the same class as the French Laundry / Per Se. If anything, we're looking at an updated and improved Gramercy Tavern-type restaurant. That being said, I was certainly dazzled last night, esp relative to price.

 

I agree.

 

It will be interesting to see where they opt to take this place.

 

The $68 prix-fixe is their basic dinner offering. The tasting menus are $85 and $90, with a chef's tasting menu at $115. Per Se? No. But I suspect that, with time, they might be aiming a solid step higher than Grammercy Tavern.

 

Ate lunch here yesterday late and, being the last to leave the premises, found myself engaged in a conversation with the staff. In discussing changes underway, they proudly showed off their new Limoges china to me, mentioned that new silverware is on order and said that the restaurant will be shut down for 2-3 weeks at some point (presumably during the summer) to redo this interior (new overhead lighting fixtures, new banquettes, etc.).

 

Did they break out the Riedel Extreme Restaurant series stemware for your wine service? Don't know if they are using it yet. I was told that they had Spiegelau stemware but that wasn't going to cut it and they upped then ante to the Riedel Extreme. "One minute, sir. I'd like to show you the series, if you have a minute."

 

By the way, the lunch prix-fixe is quite enjoyable. Try the current 'Spring' offering - have you had Lamb Belly recently? A tasty, little, rectangle from Jamison Farm is the sidekick that is plated to the right of a larger circular construction including, from the outside inward: a wafer-thin wrapper of cucumber, a thick concentric circle of eggplant, a thin layer of tomato confit that yields to a choice bulls-eye morsel of very tasty medallion of lamb. To the north, finishing the plate, is some fresh, lightly dressed micro-greens.

 

Main dish was excellent. It was 3-4 very tender, 3/4" wide by 4" long milk-fed "poularde" strips with slivers of black truffles tucked under the skin (I saw the truffles, but they didn't really register with my other senses) that was served on top of cleverly-hidden white asparagus and a green pureed sauce (green asparagus and friends?). This was in the center of the plate. Encircling it were 4 pairs of a small, thin green asparagus spear with its non-pointy end slid into the cap of a moist and tasty morel. Picture these pairs plopped down at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'oclock. The dark morel cap sits on top of a cream-colored circular sauce stain while the green asparagus lies on an adjoining light brown-colored lamb jus oval dab. Yes, it's only chicken..., but at this price point, to get a piece of artwork delivered to your lunch table that is this tasty, this seasonal and has so many different combinations for you to consider composing on your fork - this is quite an achievement. This is some real creativity at work here.

 

Desert was good too. A sheep's milk yogurt cheesecake with 4 variations on a pineapple theme included on the plate. Solid, foam, sorbet and dehydrated. No further description; you must order it for yourself to know its fine points. Once again, somebody is awake and thinking in the kitchen.

 

There are worse ways to spend $32.

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yes they used the riedel extreme stems.

we brought 4 bottles of red burgundy and they lined up 4 stems at each place setting without even asking.

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I believe we did have the Riedel Extreme glassware and their Pinot Noir/Nebbiolo shaped glass sitting four across each place setting to accommodate our four reds was a sight to behold. The plates I'm less sure about and I have to say the temptation to turn one over was very great but I restrained myself. The ones we had were all white with tone on tone textural ridges around the rim, glazed in the central portion where the food sits and matte for 2-3 inches around the rim. It is possible they were Limoges although there was a contemporary flair to the plates that I might not expect from Limoges.

 

I arrived early and had some time to take stock of the room. Architecturally it is stunning but I'm glad they're planning a redo as there is a certain tired feeling about the decorative trimming and lighting. They need to address issues with the A/C also because the room was far too warm.

 

Service was absolutely excellent.

 

 

 

The Danny Meyer- instructed saccharine quality of the staff was less in evidence than at USC and GT. It was more pitch perfect for my tastes. I think they are striving to be more serious about the food so have decided to take a more reserved approach when it comes to service and I like that very much. I cannot stand the forced sweetness at USC...save it for the tourists. :(

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"By the way, the lunch prix-fixe is quite enjoyable. "

 

from above in this thread :(

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I agree.

 

It will be interesting to see where they opt to take this place.

 

The $68 prix-fixe is their basic dinner offering. The tasting menus are $85 and $90, with a chef's tasting menu at $115. Per Se? No. But I suspect that, with time, they might be aiming a solid step higher than Grammercy Tavern.

 

I agree. I believe it was Humm who mentioned, on my initial visit, that he wanted to remove a handful of tables from the dining room to cut down on covers.

 

Lunch sounds like a must.

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The ones we had were all white with tone on tone textural ridges around the rim, glazed in the central portion where the food sits and matte for 2-3 inches around the rim. It is possible they were Limoges although there was a contemporary flair to the plates that I might not expect from Limoges.

 

I really like those plates. And service was great... very knowledgeable and not too familiar.

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Two things immediately come to mind--Danny Meyer and a $68 pre-fixe. With those limitations, I can't imagine the restaurant sincerely aims to be in the same class as the French Laundry / Per Se. If anything, we're looking at an updated and improved Gramercy Tavern-type restaurant. That being said, I was certainly dazzled last night, esp relative to price.

Maybe he just wanted to jump to the big pond before making another jump to another lilypad. So the move could in a certain way be considered lateral, though not to my particular specifications. He has to prove he can do it in NYC at that level before another promotion.

 

He's very young (a compliment, of course), very affable, and seemingly very calm. Of course, calmness may be fleeting, or just part of a good mask in the dining room. And like I said, it was the end of his term at Campton Place when we were there. He might have been just basking in the love.

 

I have no doubt he will succeed even more.

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The $68 prix-fixe is their basic dinner offering. The tasting menus are $85 and $90, with a chef's tasting menu at $115. Per Se? No. But I suspect that, with time, they might be aiming a solid step higher than Grammercy Tavern.

 

Actually, that is about the same as Gramercy Tavern, which also offers tasting menus around that price.

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Another tasty meal at 11 Mad last night.

 

Service started off extremely brusque, something I've never experienced in a DM restaurant. Indeed, our server seemed to have a chip on his shoulder, and I came close to speaking to the manager about it. But about 10 minutes into the meal he reversed course and things were fine.

 

We ordered:

 

Butter poached Hawaiian prawns with barley and asparagus

 

Poached egg with frogs' legs

 

Halibut with asparagus, morels, and vin jaune sauce

 

John Dory with squash and squash blossom and some kind of sauce

 

Amuses were the same as my last visit, only not as good. The samosa was noticeably greasy, but everything else was fine.

 

I inquired about the carrot soup, which, sadly, is off the menu. But as a second amuse, they brought out a seafood soup with bits of carrot that was similar to the carrot soup in its brightness. Delicious.

 

The poached egg dish was once again delicious. Butter poached Hawaiian prawns were very good, though I found the barley a overseasoned. The prawns were meaty and sweet.

 

I couldn't decide between the sturgeon and halibut and when I asked our waiter about them, his response was, 'well, the sturgeon... it's more food. And the halibut, well, it's less food.'

 

And he wasn't kidding! The halibut dish was half the size of what it was just a couple wks ago. (The prawn starter was also very small. This from someone who rarely comments on portion size. Though I wonder if it has to do with sourcing superior ingredients.) But it was just as tasty.

 

The John Dory was also good, but to be honest, I don't recall many details.

 

Desserts and chocolates were very good. As was the wine, an '89 Raveneau MdT.

 

So not quite as good as my previous visit, but still very good. I'd actually planned to order differently this time around, but the rabbit crepinette was off the menu. A return visit in July might be in order, once the summer produce hits.

 

Tab was under $200 with tax but before tip.

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While taking a break from the BBQ yesterday I stopped in and had a short conversation with the staff and reviewed the menu. Can't wait to try it. And certainly would have been happy to wait in line for a few of those menu items. :(

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