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Eleven Madison Park Tasting Menu: Redux
August 10th, 2011 by plumpdumpling

The first time my boyfriend and I dined at Eleven Madison Park, I gave the tasting menu a four-star rating. I went in with the expectation that it might be the best meal I’d ever have and came out feeling underwhelmed. The food we had was five-star, but it was the food we didn’t have that left an impression on me. I felt like we hadn’t been served any of the most interesting dishes on the menu, and in all of the moments where we could have been made to feel special, we were reminded that we weren’t. Still, I thought it was a better-than-average experience overall and was happy to have been to the restaurant once.

Well, the day after my review went up, the head maitre d’ called my boyfriend for my phone number and then called me to discuss what I’d said and to invite us back for a second try. Of course I said I couldn’t accept such an extravagant offer, but she said they had a better idea of what we were expecting this time and took it personally that they didn’t impress us the first go around. I accepted but felt awful about it. I didn’t want to be seen as an ingrate, and I had these horrible thoughts that I might be viewed as someone who wrote a negative review just to get the restaurant to react. I was excited about returning to EMP, but I was so nervous that it would be the most awkward dinner of my life.

In fact, it was the very opposite of that and one of the finest meals we’ve ever had. It was almost as if the restaurant was trying to embarrass me for that first review.

Eleven Madison Park
gougeres

“Cheez-Its!” we whispered to each other when we ate these. Just as good as the first time, they were the perfect little cheesy, crispy, pillowy, warm bread bites.

Eleven Madison Park
tomato tea, thyme

Regular readers will know that despite working on it for a couple of years now, tomatoes are the one major mindblock I have leftover from childhood. Regular readers will also know that one of my favourite things in the world is eating an ingredient I expect to be disgusted by and finding it transformed into something delicious.

Not only was this tea herbal and lemony, but the tomato flavor was so delicate that I found myself actually enjoying it. The presentation with the bouquet of thyme that we seeped in the broth couldn’t have been lovelier.

Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park
Parmesan lavash

Complimenting the tea was the accompanying Parmesan crisp, which mirrored the tea’s subtlety with translucent brittleness. There was an undercurrent of spice to the lavash to match the tomato’s brightness.

Claude Genet, Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru, Chouilly, Cote des Blancs, Champagne, France

Eleven Madison Park
fluke, basil, Meyer lemon

Getting to taste this a second time gave me a much greater appreciation for the little lemon spheres encrusting the fish. And for the texture of the dish, which ranged from liquid lemon to pleasantly fibrous fish to crisp, light rice cracker. This was such a complete bite.

Eleven Madison Park
scallop ceviche, tangerine

We had quite a bit of trouble figuring out how to eat this the first time, and either they remembered that from my review or remembered to give us a little fork this time that we were supposed to have had the first time. Whether it was because I got to taste more of the scallop this time thanks to the fork or because our sommelier had read our minds and decided to do some more interesting pairings that included sake, I liked this even better the second time, too. It was so refreshing, and I appreciated the way the gelatinous citrus piece mirrored the texture of the scallop.

Dewazakura, Oka, Ginjo, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan

Eleven Madison Park
beet and goat cheese lollipop

Don’t get tired of me saying this, but I thought the beet lollipops were better the second time, too. They were a little crunchier, the texture of the shell a little more pronounced to juxtapose the creamy cheese interior.

Eleven Madison Park
goat cheese croquettes, watercress vinaigrette

These little orbs of semolina-coated cheese are the sort of things you could pop into your mouth by the handful if you’re not careful. I forced myself to dip them one by one into the tartar-sauce-tasting vinaigrette, though, just to be able to savor each one with a sip of the wine. I’m not sure we would’ve liked this particular glass on its own, but it couldn’t have been more perfectly paired to bring out the natural flavors of the cheese.

Yves Martin, Chavignol, Sancerre, Loire Valley, France 2010

Eleven Madison Park
sea urchin cappuccino, crab, apple

So, so buttery and with extra-chunky chunks of crab. Our wonderful server, Kevin, tried to convince us that it’s perfectly possible to fetch all of the broth out of the special locally-sourced bowls with the little spoons they provide, but we still failed miserably on our second attempt. I still loved this.

Weingut Alfred Merkelbach, Urzinger Wurzgarten, Riesling Spatlese, Mosel, Germany 2009

Eleven Madison Park
potato, creme fraiche, caviar

Last time, I complained that though this was one of the prettiest presentations I’d ever seen, I couldn’t taste a lot of the individual ingredients. This time, I tasted everything, including the subtle potato. The wine was especially helpful in bringing out the flavor of the caviar, which was entirely lacking for me in my first tasting.

Eleven Madison Park
smoked sturgeon sabayon, chive

Still inexplicably one of my favourite of the amuses. For some reason, that smoky sturgeon and chive oil just hits me in the right spot, and I love the creaminess of the sabayon.

Gaia, Thalassitis, Assyrtico, Santorini, Cyclades, Greece 2010

Eleven Madison Park

A very apropos presentation for such a warm, flaky, buttery bread.

Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park
rabbit rillette, cherries, pistachio, pickled onion

Of course the very first appetizer would blow me away. We had seen this on the lounge menu while waiting for our table to open up and were interested (were they listening in on our conversation?), but the actual plate was miles more impressive than any description.

The pistachio puree was thick and grainy, the caramelized pistachios sweet and crunchy. The smooth pate of rabbit was complimented by the pistachio crisp, and the bright cherries and onions made sure the very rich dish didn’t feel heavy.

Eleven Madison Park

It’s the little things that matter to me most, you know, and I just couldn’t help but love this single leaf, placed so deliberately at the plate’s edge.

Eleven Madison Park

But most exciting was that what we thought was a pistachio-encrusted cherry was actually a hollow sphere of pistachio crumbs with a viscous cherry center. It was the kind of thing you’d see at wd~50, and none of the effect was wasted on us.

Gustave Lorentz, Altenberg de Bergheim, Grand Cru, Alsace, France 2004

Eleven Madison Park
clambake

Our server, Kevin, was a master of drama. He walks over with a shallow bowl of hot rocks draped in seaweed and other ocean accoutrements, a kettle perched atop them. He pours water over the rocks, and they begin to steam. The smell of the beach wafts toward us and envelops the table as I furiously try to capture everything on camera. Kevin folds his hands behind his back and walks silently away, leaving us flabbergasted and overwhelmed. “What is all this? What do we do with it?” Just as the initial excitement wears off, Kevin returns to explain the course and to pour a bowl of clam velouté from the kettle for each of us.

Eleven Madison Park

Like clam chowder but perfectly smooth, extra thick, and ready to form a skin on its surface any time I left it alone for a second.

Eleven Madison Park
clam with corn, corn and chorizo madeleine

I love corn. I love chorizo. I love cake. And I love them all together. For me, both of these bites were a tasty union between land and sea. I’ve previously declaimed clams, but these were perfectly delicious–light but meaty and well-accented with all the brininess of the caviar.

Eleven Madison Park
clam with melon, lobster croquette

The melon preparation was my favourite, and of course it’s the one I forgot to take a photo of in my hurry to suck down a bunch of clam. With honeydew and watermelon, it was a light compliment to the natural fresh flavor of the bivalve. The lobster croquette was akin to eating lobster French fries. Need I say more?

South Hampton, Saison Deluxe, South Hampton, Long Island

Eleven Madison Park
ricotta gnocchi, black truffle, artichoke

When this was placed in front of us, my boyfriend and I called it a cheap shot at winning our love. It’s gnocchi, which is already the most delicious thing on Earth, topped with the hugest slices of black truffle, which is the most delicious thing on Earth made out of fungus. It was almost criminally unfair.

Naturally, it was heavenly. The kind of dish where you have to hold your head upright while you chew to keep it from lolling around and drooling all over the linens. The gnocchi were big, cherry-tomato-sized fluffs, the truffle was dirt-y and rich, with the little crunch you get from a fresh sliver of radish, and together, they were the most effortlessly luxurious dish possible. If they had sprinkled a little caviar on top, my little farmgirl heart might have exploded.

Monastero Soure Cistercensi, Coenobium, Lazio, Italy 2009

Eleven Madison Park
scallop, fennel, tomato confit, tarragon

Another tomato on the plate, and another preparation I enjoyed. This one was sweet and cooked almost to the point of turning into a sauce, nicely juxtaposing the bitterness of the tarragon and fennel. As with our first dinner at EMP, the scallop was seared so perfectly, and its tenderness was a welcome companion to the crunch of the fennel.

Hirsch, Lamm, Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria 2003

Eleven Madison Park
lobster lasagna, zucchini, lemon verbena

Hidden underneath this pile of summer squash and lobster oil was a large, lovely lobster tail piece. The zucchini made for perfectly-cooked pasta, and the overall effect was a much lighter take on lasagna.

Eleven Madison Park

Yes, please.

Thierry Germain, Domaine des Roches Neuves, l’Insolite, Saumer, Loire Valley, France 2008

Eleven Madison Park
pork, apricots, bacon, spinach

This was execution by tasting menu, and although Dr. Boyfriend succumbed to the drink pairings during the lobster, I felt like I was still going strong well into the night. This picture would prove otherwise. Don’t let my terrible photography skills make you think any less of this suckling pig, though, because it was beautiful.

The pistachio crumble with the apricot jus was like eating candy, the top layer of the pork was so crunchy while the bottom could have been cooked for hours, and the cocktail flavors mirrored the caramelization of the pork.

Repossesion Cocktail: Reposado Tequila, Amontillao Sherry, Mezcal, Apricot Liqueur, Cane Syrup, Lemon

Eleven Madison Park
duck, lavender honey, sweet corn, blueberries

In the middle of this course, my boyfriend said, “You gave them four out of five stars, and they invited us back to humiliate you.” That’s how good this was.

Our server came to the table and presented us with an entire duck, crisped brown and stuffed with a bouquet of lavender. He then took it back to the kitchen and returned with this tiny sliver of duck that made me picture the entire kitchen staff devouring the rest of the carcass and laughing maniacally at their good fortune.

Tiny portion or not, this duck was incredible. The skin was herbal and crusty, overwhelming salty in the very best way. The flavors of the duck paired so well with both the apricot and blueberry. A side of duck leg on a creamy potato mousseline came served in a separate bowl and must have contained an entire pound of butter. Again, I’m not complaining.

Whatever they’re charging for this thing, it’s worth it.

Marcel Juge, Cornas, Rhone Valley, France 2006

Eleven Madison Park

At this point, we were escorted to the kitchen, and while I thought this might be the most uncomfortable part of the evening since I had specifically whined about not being offered a kitchen tour in my first review and forced the restaurant into it the second time around, our tour guide (Megan, I think) made it wonderful.

While we watched food being plated all around us, one of the staff came to make us a liquid nitrogen cocktail. Here are our raspberry ice domes floating in midair:

Eleven Madison Park

And here’s the finished product, melting within moments:

Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park
berry salad, buttermilk sorbet, balsamic meringue

There was a time in my life where I thought meringue was kind of dumb. When you’re the kind of girl who could eat a steak for every meal and follow it up with a chocolate bar of 90% cacao, fluffy, airy foods don’t really cut the mustard. This was different, though, because this dessert was all about texture. There was the smooth sorbet against the stiff iceberg-like meringue pieces, the crunchy crumble against the ripe berries. The berries were so tart, the meringue so sweet.

Georg Mosbacher, Forster Ungeheuer, Riesling, Auslese, Pfalz, Germany 2007

Eleven Madison Park
pistachio sundae, granola, cherry sorbet

On first glance, this dessert was too similar to the first one. Same textures, same presentation, same lack of chocolate. Upon first bite, though, I was so glad they’d served us both. The cherry sorbet was borderline cough syrup, and I loved it. The pile of caramelized nuts seemed to never end, and I loved that, too. The pistachio and the one beautiful poached cherry harkened back to the first of our main courses, the rabbit rillette, creating a perfect circle.

Istvan Svepsy, 6 Puttonyos, Tokaji, Hungary 1996

Eleven Madison Park
mignardises

The tiny treats at the end were the same as those of our first visit, save an extra spoonful of an anise-flavored hyssop dessert. Once again, we were barely able to touch the cognac at all, which I think the staff who pulled the table out for us every time we had to use the restroom were glad for.

Eleven Madison Park
cognac

Rating One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Eleven Madison Park

From the menus they sent us home with to the many Rieslings they served us after we mentioned that we love them to the way they changed the tablecloth for us while we were in the kitchen to keep us from having to look at the lobster broth we’d splashed all over it earlier, nothing about this dinner could have been better. Except, of course, if it had been served to us on our first visit.

Our menu was so perfect, so overwhelmingly excessive, that I was almost inclined to add a 6th donut to my ratings system just for this meal, but I know not everyone’s getting an experience like this one. I guess the key is to go in and asked to be impressed. It’s clear that the kitchen at Eleven Madison Park is capable of putting out the most incredible food; they just need to be asked to.

Thanks to EMP for the best time possible. We are now officially fans and repeat customers.

Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10010 (map)


41 Responses  
  • Jessica R. writes:
    August 10th, 201112:26 pmat

    Wow. First can I just say I’m impressed that your blog carries enough weight for a restaurant to personally call you and invite you back? That is awesome.

    Second, you made me so hungry reading this. All the food looks absolutely beautiful (again) and I really want some lobster french fries.

    • Mrs. Bachelor Girl writes:
      August 10th, 20111:36 pmat

      And kudos to the restaurant for caring enough about their customers and their reputation to make it right!

      • plumpdumpling writes:
        August 22nd, 20117:56 pmat

        Obviously I’m super-glad I took your advice and took them up on the offer! I hope they don’t have to do this for everyone, but they made a believer out of me.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      August 22nd, 20117:51 pmat

      Seriously. I’m like, “Do they do this for everyone who complains about the place?” But I think it was that the head maitre d’ was also from Ohio and had a special interest in my having a good time. Or maybe the place is just CRAZY about customer service and is giving out free meals every night. Who knows. The gesture certainly wasn’t wasted on us.

      I want lobster everything!!

  • Lori Young writes:
    August 10th, 201112:46 pmat

    Everything sounds delicious but what most spoke to me about this visit and the last is the stunning beauty of each dish. Truly a feast for the eyes.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      August 22nd, 20118:13 pmat

      Agreed! I love when looking at the pictures from a meal is almost as good as eating it.

  • Heesa Phadie writes:
    August 10th, 20111:06 pmat

    This sounds (and looks) like the most incredible meal ever. I’m glad the maitre d’ invited you back and I’m glad you accepted. You must have been stuffed by the end, that’s a crap load of food. Even for someone like me, I’m not sure if I would have been able to finish it all. How long did the entire meal last?

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      August 22nd, 20118:42 pmat

      We were there for more than four hours, and you’re right—we were stuffed. The fact that the final savory courses and the desserts tasted as great as they did despite our fullness is a testament to how interesting the dishes were. I’m still embarrassed at the distance they went to impress us, but I sure do appreciate it.

  • Mrs. Bachelor Girl writes:
    August 10th, 20111:35 pmat

    I’m so glad you accepted their invitation and gave them a second chance. I had a feeling they’d make it worth your while, and they did. Sounds like you had an incredible meal.

  • The Pretender writes:
    August 10th, 20115:50 pmat

    Great photos. Too bad you can’t post this review on CH.

    I’m so jealous. Let me get this straight. I write a raving review about them twice a year, recommend the restaurant to everyone I know, and you’re the one with a comped meal?

    Of course not only was it a comped meal, but clearly you had more courses than the regular tasting menu (just comparing this to your last review). I would imagine that as the normal tasting menu is $195, they could charge $225 for your complete meal and most would be happy to pay it. The duck is exquisite, and normally one would pay a supplement (I forget $25 or $35) per person and get all of the breast meat.

    I do believe you should just give the meal a 6th donut.

    • Jimmy writes:
      August 12th, 20112:12 pmat

      There is something a bit perverse about this. I mean I know the good marketing they get out of comping someone a meal but this does raise some interesting ethical issues. The people that constantly praise a place do not get a comped meal but someone who writes something a bit negative does? Is this rewarding the ultra critical(not that the writer was)? Will people begin to write negative reviews in the hopes of getting comped? Is giving special attention to bloggers the right thing? I mean i would find it annoying if the whole room is taking pictures of what they are eating. Does the comped meal make one subconsciously be more open to enjoying their food thereby giving a glowing review?

      I in no way fault the diner here as I too would have accepted the free first class dinner. But I don’t think I like this as a business practice from Eleven Madison Park.

      • plumpdumpling writes:
        August 22nd, 20119:17 pmat

        The idea that I might inspire other bloggers to be extra critical PAINS me, trust me. I’d like to think that EMP took pity on me specifically because I wasn’t being overly-negative and wouldn’t reward someone who went overboard with the criticism.

        Also, I’m under the impression that some restaurants do treat their best customers better than the average diner. One of the reasons we want to return to Per Se, for example, is that we’ve heard about the special things their repeat customers get. I know that’s not the same as a comped meal, but at least they’re showing their appreciation in some way.

        I heavily factored in the free aspect of the food when deciding on my rating. We did pay several hundred dollars for the wine pairings, so that helped! I guess I don’t want comped meals influencing diners, but I do love a restaurant that clearly cares what its diners think.

        • nitpick writes:
          November 23rd, 201111:25 amat

          wine pairing at EMP: $95/per
          multiplied by two comes out to $190
          even with a generous tip i don’t think you should be representing your share as “several hundred dollars”

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      August 22nd, 20118:59 pmat

      If it helps, I feel the same way you do. I was really torn about accepting the offer, because it’s not like we had a horrible experience the first time, and I wasn’t complaining in hopes of getting anything out of it. I wrote to a friend for advice, though, and she suggested that the restaurant wouldn’t have made the offer if they didn’t think there was room for improvement, and that made me feel better. I just wouldn’t want EMP to have a rash of bad reviews because of me, so maybe it’s best that I can’t post this on Chowhound.

      If this had been our first meal and had been $225 or even more, I probably would’ve had to take your six-donut advice.

  • ellenost writes:
    August 11th, 20112:35 pmat

    Glad you gave EMP another try. Your photos are amazing!–such exquisite detail! EMP is one of the few restaurants that truly wants its guests to feel that they’ve had an amazing meal. I see they’ve earned the “fifth donut”.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      August 22nd, 20119:48 pmat

      Thank you! We could see that EMP was trying to be like NYC’s three-Michelin-starred restaurants on our first visit, but they really succeeded and then far surpassed our expectations on the second visit. I’m very excited to go back.

  • LawandFood writes:
    August 11th, 20114:13 pmat

    I tend to agree with The Pretender. Not only was your meal comped, but you received VIP treatment in a restaurant best known for their customer service.

    Glad you enjoyed your meal. I’ve heard of similiar stories and am glad to see EMP went out of their way to impress you but hope that other diners don’t come into the restaurant with expectations of their meal mimicking yours since you were treated to multiple courses in addition to the standard tasting menu.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      August 24th, 201112:20 pmat

      Basically, it sucks for EMP either way. If they don’t invite me back, they’re stuck with a less-than-perfect review. (Not that they should necessarily care what I think.) If they do invite me back, they set a precedent for future diners. I hope I made it clear that this isn’t what a normal dinner looks like but this is how dinner CAN look if you’re willing to shell out a little extra, and I do think it’s worth it.

      I’m glad you’ve heard of similar stories, too. The commenters over on Chowhound FREAKED OUT about this.

      • Rodzilla writes:
        November 22nd, 20111:10 amat

        I’m with Law & Food, I can’t blame you for accepting the second meal, I would have done the exact same thing. I’m always impressed by stories of EMPs service, but this sort of rubs me the wrong way. Did they ask that you review the second meal, or was that optional?

        I suppose the most ethical thing to do would be to accept the second meal, and make note on your original review that you had returned for a comped experience that was much better than the original. Only problem is we wouldn’t get to the great post.

  • Niko writes:
    August 11th, 20119:31 pmat

    Epic post and great pictures – that is so awesome that you hooked yourself up with this. I can’t wait to go now.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      August 24th, 201112:24 pmat

      Thanks, Niko! I didn’t even mean to hook myself up with this, but it was a great experience. I hope you do go! Especially since the desserts were some of the best parts for me.

  • Laura writes:
    August 11th, 201111:18 pmat

    Just curious: was this indeed comped? If so, I’m sort of shocked—a thousand dollar comp is an impressive thing.

    The real question: had you paid the tab again, would it still have been five donuts?

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      August 24th, 20115:00 pmat

      It was indeed comped, although it wasn’t quite a grand. The food is about $400 for two people, plus tip. We paid for our wine pairings again this time, so we still had a decent check to handle.

      And yes, I would toooooootally give this five donuts even if we had to pay. The sheer quality and quantity was incredible.

  • InfoMofo writes:
    August 25th, 20113:22 pmat

    Still love your photography!

    So I have been to EMP and I have been impressed, but I think that I’m actually less impressed with them after this post. The thing is that I expect a restaurant at this price point to knock it out of the park every night, no matter who they’re serving to. If they’re not serving their best stuff to every customer that walks in the door every night, then it’s a very risky proposition to go in there and not know if you’re getting a 4-donut or 5-donut meal that night.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      August 26th, 201111:37 amat

      Why have I not been paying attention to you? I just read your first two pages of blog posts and ACTUALLY ENJOYED MYSELF.

      I agree with you. My boyfriend and I are usually quite a big younger than most of the people we’re dining alongside, so I can see how a restaurant might mistake us for people who don’t know any better, but I’m carrying a gigantic camera and taking extensive notes! Don’t try to pull one over on me! I definitely appreciate restaurants that cater to their repeat diners, but it’s really all about first impressions when it comes to dropping hundreds of dollars on a meal.

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  • han writes:
    August 28th, 20113:02 amat

    geez.us.
    stunning photos – and beautiful kitchen opportunity!
    i am plenty jealous.
    ugh.
    hate/love you

  • diana writes:
    September 6th, 20116:39 pmat

    why do you make me want to jump head-first into my computer?!?! soooo gorgeous :)

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  • Andrew writes:
    December 9th, 201112:56 pmat

    I’m glad to see that EMP rebounded from your previous meal. That said, I’m struck by just how variable one’s experience can be.

    • donuts4dinner writes:
      December 9th, 20112:43 pmat

      Me, too! I was talking with another friend who’s a big fan of EMP’s recently about how the restaurant seems to have the most loyal fans and the most fervent dissidents. I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or bad.

      • Andrew writes:
        December 9th, 20116:43 pmat

        I count myself in the dissident camp and prefer a more consistently exceptional establishment–Per Se and Daniel on the East Coast and Melisse on the West Coast–though I noticed you came away less than thoroughly pleased with your most recent dinner at Per Se.

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  • Scott Edelman writes:
    February 15th, 20133:59 pmat

    Amazing!

    I was FINALLY able to get reservations after many attempts, and came across this post as I searched online to prep myself for my visit next month. I’ve been to Alinea and many other restaurants at this level, and can’t wait to see how they compare.

    Happy eating!

    • donuts4dinner writes:
      February 15th, 20135:19 pmat

      Luckyyyyy. I love that this is the sort of place where you call for a reservation and are like, “4 p.m. dinner? I’ll take it!”

      As my most foodiest friend always tells me, make sure you ask EMP for whatever you need to make it your perfect visit. If you need a kitchen visit, ask for a kitchen visit. If you need beef instead of rabbit, ask for the beef. I, of course, expect everyone to read my mind.

      (Still waiting for my Alinea visit! Someday . . .)

      • Scott Edelman writes:
        February 15th, 20135:27 pmat

        I actually hadn’t planned on asking for any special requests when they call to confirm, other than to tell them I want them to blow my mind. I’ll eat anything, so I prefer to leave the chef in charge.

        Here’s what I thought of Alinea BTW:

        http://www.scottedelman.com/2012/09/18/next-alinea-the-aviary-and-the-greatest-amuse-bouche-the-universe-ever-gave-a-foodie/

        And my most recent amazing meal was in Vienna, at Steirereck, which is currently #11 on the list on which Eleven Madison Park is #10. Here’s what I thought of that:

        http://www.scottedelman.com/2013/01/12/reliving-our-magnificent-meal-at-viennas-steirereck-im-stadtpark/

        In April, my wife and I will return to Chicago to visit Next for the third time for their Hunt menu. Have you ever been to Next?

        • donuts4dinner writes:
          February 19th, 20134:13 pmat

          Hey, a shout-out for Thurman’s! That’s in my home state and remains one of those things I miss about Ohio. Alinea and Next are basically the only two restaurants that are still on my list of must-visits after all of my meals at the EMPs and Per Ses and Le Bernardins of NYC, so I loved reading your review. Looks a lot like the Alinea takeoever of EMP, which I unfortunately missed myself but have re-lived vicariously through a friend who went. I think it’s so funny how really progressive fine dining rides the line between incredible and ridiculous: your description of the black room with the lemonade had me half rolling my eyes and half reminiscing about the weird/wonderful food I’ve had at places like Atera and Corton.

          Enjoy EMP! I doubt they’ll leave you needing any special requests.


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