When I ate lunch during Restaurant Week last year at Eleven Madison Park, I was underwhelmed. But this year, it’s a significant improvement for the food.
As Giulia and I got seated in, I can’t help but be in a moment of awe how everything seems elegant and refined – the high ceilings, large windows, and the tall floral centerpieces.
Eventually, we ordered our food and bread service rolls in. I have a penchant to get an olive roll no whenever I have the option to. I just love the salty bite of an olive but other than that, nothing too extraordinary about this roll.
Heirloom Tomatoes with Big Eye Tuna and Olio Verde
Giulia’s heirloom tomatoes with big eye tuna and olio verde is something she never tried before because she’s not a tartare and sushi fan. She wanted to try it since it sounded tasty and interesting. When she took a bite, it made her a convert. The fresh, chewy-soft cubes of tuna (she would describe it as “gelatin”) melds with the sweet tomatoes (that’s the two cylindrical things on top) and the gentle floral bite from the lavender flowers that dots the top of this dish. It’s really good. Probably I should make an attempt to re-create this dish at home and serve it to my raw fish haters.
Sweetbread Ravioli and Its Innards
As for my appetizer, the sweetbread ravioli with corn, lime, and chorizo, it was covered with a lot of foam (lime foam I presume?). Those of you who are familiar with Chef Humm’s style, he likes foams. Anyway, the ravioli was cooked perfectly – the pasta was soft and eggy with the creamy sweetbread filling. The corn is under the ravioli; it sweetens and adds a crunch to the dish.
Moving on to the main course, Giulia wanted the summer squash ratatouille with Parmesan shavings because of Ratatouille the movie. Don’t tell me you haven’t watched it. If you haven’t I highly suggest you as a foodie, to go and rent that DVD!
Anyway, her dish was really gorgeous with the vibrant colors of the oils drizzled on the plate contrasting the earthy tones of the vegetables. Flavor-wise, it was quite sweet from the heirloom tomatoes, zucchini (that’s the container of this dish – technically the Rond de Nice variety), bell peppers, and onions. It tasted a bit heartier than what I expected in a ratatouille. Granted, I haven’t eat enough ratatouille to tell you if it’s spot-on or not.
As for myself, I am somehow stuck on lamb mode since I gotten myself the Colorado lamb sausage with eggplant, tomato confit, and roasted garlic. I wouldn’t have thought of this dish as something to eat for summer since it’s quite hearty. The fluffy mound of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes added more heft to the delicately flavored lamb sausage. The eggplant puree that sits beside that sausage had a touch of zing – possibly cumin? A sliver of confitted tomato and a whole, unpeeled roasted garlic clove added a depth of sweetness to this dish.
Moving on to dessert, Giulia is on a peach mode, ordering the glazed peaches with rosemary honey and mascarpone ice cream. What amazed me about this dessert was the herbal hit on my tongue when I took a bite of that peach. The mascarpone ice cream adds a creamy, tangy richness to the peach. It’s touches upon the idea of sweet meets savory.
I went for the sheep’s milk cheesecake with summer berries and lemon verbena. The cheesecake was delicately tangy, sweet and light. The berries and the sorbet added a sharp tartness to the dessert.
This tied up the end of a good meal. The food was a lot better than what I’ve experienced a year ago. To compare this experience with Gramercy Tavern from two days ago, Gramercy rocked but it felt a bit chaotic with so many people around compared to EMP’s tranquil atmosphere.
Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10010
Such elegantly plated meals!
Such beautiful photos!
Veggie Girl: Indeed!
Leslie: Thank you!
Beautiful dinner! Love the tomato tuna appetizer and the sheep’s milk cheesecake!
Very good pictures as per usual – looks great, and once more, makes me longing for some proper food rather than the sandwiches I’m currently eating at my desk =(
the sweetbread ravioli sounds particularly good. it’s too bad we couldn’t go to del posto, but i’m glad to see you’re having a successful rw!
hey i actually work at eleven madison park and we all are really glad you enjoyed your meal there
as for your comments, a few minor corrections
the flowers on top of the tuna tartar are actually basil flowers
and the eggplant on the lamb dish is seasoned with thyme, but you were right about the cumin, its in the sausage itself =)
once again, glad you enjoyed your meal and feel invited to check out our new tasting menu at night (its awesome!)
one more thing =)
the foam on the sweetbread ravioli is actually corn foam
but agsain you were right, is flavored with lime juice
Hillary: Um…I think I wrote lunch not dinner. But yes, those dishes were NOM.
Rich: Thank you! :D As for your situation, GET YOURSELF SOME REAL FOOD! I think you could get something decent without spending a whole lot of money (e.g. ethnic foods).
Becky: The ravioli was goood. I’m not regretting to not to go to Del Posto since their RW menu suck. But I do want to meet up someday.
Gustavo: Oh…hi! I never know people in the restaurant business actually reads my stuff…Anyway, thanks for dropping in and clarifying the detailed parts of the food. :)
I wish I could check out the tasting menu, except I have to save up for dinner here…
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