Eleven Madison, New York

Madison Square, a short walk away from the hustle bustle of Macy’s shopping area and Empire State Building. This is also the garden where Charlotte’s dog (SNTC), Elizabeth Taylor, become very amorous with a number of other dogs.

Opposite to the park, is the famous Flatiron building, one of the first skyscrapers and possibly the most photographed structure in New York.  To name a few of the movies – Spiderman, Hitch and As Good as It Gets…

In the middle of the park is a Shake Shack. This day, we didn’t get there for a burger at noon.

We crossed the road to eat at Eleven Madison Park, a top rated Michelin star restaurant, 3 stars in fact, and it certainly deserves its accolades. The place is quite roomy and has a wonderful high ceiling.

To mark the end of our culinary journey in New York, we had to visit this establishment.  We came here for a 4 course fixe prix lunch.  You are presented with a menu of 4 columns of core ingredients. You choose one from each row and that’s it. The rest will be a surprise. In essence, each patron will have a unique dish made out of the ingredients picked, and this is how distinctively unique this restaurant is.

4 courses, you may think. With all the in between and little surprises, it was more like eleven. I’ll let you figure out which ones we picked. And for lunch it was sumptuous. You don’t pop in here for a quick lunch.  Otherwise you will be short changed by the experience.

Word of warning. Food porn pictures coming up.

Smoked apple tea infused by thyme.  It tasted salty, sweet and sour simultaneously while the sourness lingered more so in our palete.

Some little savoury profiteroles as appetisers:

The bread, fresh and warm (straight from the oven of course), nestled in a woven bread wrap. The bread crumbles more like a croissant.

We were offered a variety of butter. We were expecting to be well fed and had to restrain from eating it all. It was difficult not to take a bite every so often and I was sad when I let the waiter take the half eaten bits away.

Another delish appetiser (we have not even begun our official 4 course meal yet) – poached quail egg on toast.

Each dish was kind of smallish, but the sauces were so delicious, you just had to lick everything off if you could. Nonetheless we were very full by the end of it. And each dish was like a piece of artwork in its own right.

Let’s begin…

Raw and halved scallop plated on a pool of foam dressing, green apple, baby celery, creme and corriander.

Foie Gras terrine on black truflle dressing accompaied by purplish potato.

Sous-vide snapper with celeriac puree accompanied by cubed grapefruits, tiny jellies, drizzled sesame seeds, smoked baby octopus rested on top of slimy, moist seaweed.  The grapefruit complements the texture and pairing of the fish.

The next plate is like visting an area that had been visited by volcanic lava 6 months ago with its black charcoal soil and new seedlings and fruits growing from the fertile soil…

Ah umm..  here we have lobster tail on both sides of the burnt leek and uniquely deep fried charred bay leaves.  This is the only plate we did not polish.  Not the charcoal with the free radicals anyway.

Smoked rabbit wrapped in bacon and tiny peach balls bound together akin to sweet corn, on a bed of saffron sauce. The acidity of the endives cuts through the richness of this savoury dish.

Squab and ravioli, dressed in foie gras sauce, chocolate and squab reduced broth.

Before our official dessert, we were delighted by a New York classic: the American Cheesecake – Blood orange sobet, vanilla straws dazzling above the cheesecake.

This is an elegantly constructed dessert. Each element had its own place to showcase itself.  The main ingredients were the coconut and passionfruit sorbet.

Poached pear with pear sorbet, ginger and maple syrup.

All we can say is this is such a wonderful experience. We have tried using superlatives we can think of but we believe the pictures have done more to described what we had in our 3 hours out of this world experience .

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