Last week, Shann, Smo, Darien and I met for lunch at Eleven Madison Park. It was the first time the four of us got together for a “fancy” meal during the day. The occasion? To celebrate moving into new apartments! I’m still in the East Village, three blocks south from the previous apartment, so the move process was thankfully not too big of a production
Our usual standby restaurant when dining together is Grand Sichuan on St Marks. It has never failed us and everyone leaves stuffed and happy. Soup dumplings, cumin beef, beef chow funn, wontons in hot oil, and cucumbers with scallion sauce. Family-style dining, easy, and most importantly, delicious!
But this time we decided to do something nicer. And what’s nicer than lunch at Eleven Madison Park? Luckily we made it just before the menu changes. They’re doing away with the $28 for 2-course lunch and replacing it with $56 for 3-course and $95 for an 8-course tasting lunch. Cheee, talk about a price hike…
I love the $28 for two-course deal and have posted about it in the past here. I don’t think I will be returning for the $56 lunch…but we’ll see about that. Maybe I’ll take the money “saved” from not doing EMP lunches, and go to Blue Hill at Stone Barns or Per Se, two places that have been on my mental list for a long time.
Or maybe I’ll try to squeeze in another $28 lunch before the price hike takes place! On to lunch! The meal began with Beet Marshmallows and Foie Gras & Jelly on Black Pepper Crackers (pictured at top). The beet marshmallow left this tangy sort of after taste I couldn’t quite agree with, but it was texturally fantastic (miles better than the famed Jean George marshmallows). Then there were warm Gougeres and of course their French Baguette and Olive Ficelle.
Shann started off with a single Seared Diver Scallop with Succotash, Watercress and Red Pepper Nage while Darien had the Fregola Sarda with Octopus, Chickpeas and Fennel. Smo and I both went with the…
…Tagliolini with Alaskan King Crab, Black Pepper and Lemon. The pasta dishes at EMP are always just perfect like that, and this was no different. A kiss of dill in the bright, buttery pasta, a delicate tangle of tagliolini. So simply composed. The last time I had the tagliolini was when they did it in a carbonara with guanciale. I always find myself enjoying the appetizer dishes significantly more than then mains.
And what were the mains? The St. Canut Farm Cochon de Lait with Bing Cheries, Sweet Onion and Mustard for myself. Shann, Smo and Darien all got the Herb Roasted Colorado Lamb with Eggplant, Cumin and Yogurt. I was so focused on getting a photo of Shann’s lamb that I completely forgot to take a photo of my own dish! Man…that’s when you know you’re losing it! Has anyone had the whole roast chicken for two here? That is the one dish I really would like to try, but on all visits to EMP, my offers of going in on the whole chicken has been turned down. Everyone wants something more unusual, turning their nose up at just roast chicken. Sigh, one day, one day…
For dessert we picked Kouign Amann (additional $12), the ever buttery Breton cake from the dessert trolley. They cut an extra big slice knowing that we were sharing between four. One person would seriously have a heart attack trying to finish that slice on their own! On the side: sour cherry jam and creme fraiche.
Layers upon layers of golden buttery sweet, the exterior caramelized to a crisp. It got me all excited for our upcoming vacation to Brittany, where hopefully I’ll start every morning with a wedge of kouign amann.
Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10010