I recently had the pleasure of having dinner at one of the best restaurants in the world, Eleven Madison Park. The occasion was in celebration of graduating from my MBA! I have gone to fine restaurants, but Eleven Madison Park definitely takes the cake when it comes to service. Given that this was a very special occasion, I was not going to refuse any of the plates that were given to me and I gave Veganism a break for the night.
I went to this magnificent place with my family, whom I thank from the bottom of my heart for flying to NYC for my graduation. And a very special thanks to my grandfather for treating us to this unique experience and for being the ultimate role model for me.
The experience at Eleven Madison Park consisted of eleven plates, and they all gave my taste buds something to be thankful for. For each plate, you had several servers attend you and one would give you an explanation of what it was you were eating. The first plate was already at our table waiting for us, it was a Black & White cookie with cheddar and apple. It was a very surprising taste, since you expect a cookie to be sweet but this one was more on the salty side.
The second plate was served on four different panels that were brought by different servers and it consisted of asparagus with smoked egg salad, daikon with ramps and pike roe, quail egg with radish and mustard greens, and spring peas with trout roe and lemon. My favorite one was the quail egg (I have always had a weak spot for eggs).
Our third plate was, in my opinion, the most creative because it was the restaurant's take on a classic New York food... a bagel with cream cheese! So, this plate was a cheesecake with smoked sturgeon, caviar, everything bagel (a thin crust), and white asparagus. I could not believe it actually tasted like a NYC bagel!
The fourth plate was foie gras seared with asparagus and white sesame. It looks small in the picture, and I can assure you it was small in real life. The food at these restaurants are always so good that you wish the plates were bigger! But, it makes sense to have small plates since it is an eleven meal course.
The fifth plate consisted of a lobster tail butter-poached with ginger and dandelion greens. I had forgotten what lobster tasted like, and waiting this long to try it again definitely made me appreciate the taste much more.
The sixth plate was snails grilled with morels and ramps. This was one of my favorite presentations, since they brought out small grills for each person at the table and grilled the snails right in front of you. Then, you got to create your own little snail bowl and add different condiments.
The seventh plate was my absolute favorite! It was duck honey and lavender glazed with rhubarb and spring onion. I have tried many kinds of ducks before, but this one has been the most delicious of them all!
The eight plate was a little side dish that was our own croissant with salted butter. Hey, bread and butter can never be left out of a dining experience!
The ninth plate was goat cheese with rhubarb chutney. This plate had a very strong and unexpected taste since they called it a kind of "panna cotta" and those are usually sweet. If you have tried goat cheese, you know what it tastes like. Regardless of the surprise, I did not leave anything on my little bowl.
The tenth plate was our dessert and I chose the strawberry poached with elderflower and vanilla ice cream. This dessert reminded me of a strawberry shortcake, but even better!
The eleventh and final plate were chocolate covered pretzels and apple brandy! After devouring the pretzel my family and I proceeded to take... several shots of the brandy. This was actually an exclusive type of brandy that was made only for Eleven Madison Park. My cousin and I definitely tried finishing the bottle, but we knew we had to control ourselves just a little.
Just when we thought the food parade was over, our server surprised us with some breakfast for the next day! It was their self-made granola and they included our menu for the night in a little box as well. Now, this is when I completed my falling in love with the restaurant; they gave me a personalized granola jar! At the beginning, they asked me where I was graduating from and they hand-drew the crest of Wagner College onto my jar! Truly a unique and extraordinary experience! You can rest assured I will be coming back.
And once again, a very special thank you to my grandfather for everything he has done for me. We might have toasted for my graduation, but I will always toast for your health and love that you have given all of us. Thank you for being an extraordinary man.