A world class restaurant that appeals to the cozy sophisticate in us all. Chef Daniel Humm possesses an intuitive ability to transform the simplest of local ingredients into creations that will give new meaning to American flavors.
Eleven Madison Park is only experienced via a multi-course tasting menu intended to take you throughout a local and seasonal New York with tastes and textures as diverse as its people and landscapes. My meal began with a smoked salmon appetizer with cucumber, salmon roe, cream cheese foam, and bagel chip crumbles. When it came stunningly plated and thoughtfully balanced, it took me a minute to realize that I was in fact enjoying a New York bagel with lox, merely deconstructed to the standards of one of the best chefs in the city. There is something delightfully unpretentious about being able to recognize and identify all the components of a dish, while marveling at the incredible freshness of the salmon and the classic texture combinations produced with the light bread crumbles.
The next dish also had foam (no surprises there, the food world we live in just can't get enough of this edible, texturized, dish soap lookalike), but was otherwise constructed entirely from local state squash. Bright, colorful, and hearty, it only confirmed Chef Humm's mastery of light, powerfully flavored vegetables. My last dish was made with celery, and featured the vegetable in every form you could imagine, from fried celery leaves to celery puree. Eleven Madison Park skillfully renders flavors and meals that are comfortable to us in unique and surprising ways, making the grandiose space with art deco details feel like home.
Because I was here for a special event, the staff's reportedly heavy-handed stories of each dish were not told to our group, leaving us to enjoy and experience each bite as if it were our own. I didn't need a narration to my dinner, as Chef Humm's food speaks so eloquently and passionately for itself. The atmosphere and decor is so reflective of the old, refined nature of the city, it convinces you that no other space could be more expressive of Manhattan and its bounties. If I am ever taken here again, I know I won't be able to stop myself from falling in love.