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The "new" menu at Eleven Madison Park

Thank you -- very kind. Even a month later, I still get a little buzz when I think about EMP. The ROI is holding strong. :-)

Nov 08, 2012
amysrq in Manhattan

The "new" menu at Eleven Madison Park

I would disagree with that. The single point of view IMO was excellence and innovation. Nothing felt out of place to me.

One thing I failed to mention earlier was that I felt the timing was a little off in the back half. A few courses felt ever so slightly rushed and the second dessert course seemed to lag, especially since we were just about alone in the room with the staff, who were preparing tables for dinner.

Oct 10, 2012
amysrq in Manhattan

The "new" menu at Eleven Madison Park

We booked for 12:30. We were seated at the bar for maybe 10 minutes and then taken to our table. We left at around 5pm...last people out of the place. I had a sense that others were moving faster than we were.

No trouble at all sharing the wine pairings. They pour into one glass and you share.

Oct 09, 2012
amysrq in Manhattan

The "new" menu at Eleven Madison Park

We're back home, after lunch at EMP yesterday and I have to say it was a marvelous experience. I am so glad, as is my husband. Yes, it was an "investment" and perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience, but really a thrill of the highest order. I can't quite imagine I considered not keeping my reservation!

As I look back at the "narration factor" it is difficult for me to know whether i would have gotten the NY theme quite so clearly if I had not read up in advance and known what to expect. The explanations were subtle -- it's hard to tell how much they had scaled back after Wells' comments. The charm of almost all the staff was a major contribution to the meal. Some of them seemed quite joyous to be bringing us surprises throughout the afternoon. It was lovely. (We had one slightly snotty guy pour us a glass of wine and happily we never saw him at our table again. When everyone is so nice, the not-so-nice ones stand out like a sore thumb!)

As is often the case, I found myself less excited about the entrees than the openers. Often, when dining in France, the first course is far and away my favorite, things going ever so slightly downhill from there. I had this experience yesterday, but it only lasted for a brief while and at the time I was thinking it was perhaps sensory overload or gustatory exhaustion. Others have mentioned just not liking the food item, rather than having it be sub-par. This could be the case.

The two items that left me non-plussed were the langoustine (mine) and the pork (his). We were passing plates back and forth, so I only needed one bite of the pork before the sweetbreads came back to me. I happily swapped fois gras for langoustine. One of the most outstanding dishes was the parsnip, if for no other reason than the fact that a parsnip is so terribly humble. The collision of peasant ingredient and royal treatment was in and of itself a delight. Visually, it was stunning to me.

The kitchen visit was also huge fun for us. The little treat they whip up was memorable and I got to see someone get a bit of a tongue-lashing for not doing something just so. But, overall, it is a positive, if fiercely intense, environment. We also met a sous chef from our area who cooked a local dinner here not too long ago. It was a treat to have him visit our table and then to chat with him again in the kitchen. He was holding two winter squashes, planning to work on some new dishes I believe, and again, I was taken with the thought that two very ordinary vegetables, things I cook with all the time, could end up a part of this extraordinary dining experience. Indeed, so many of the ingredients are things we use every day. A few exotics, yes....but mostly "normal" foodstuffs combined with out-of-the-park creativity and perfect execution.

We shared the wine pairings and, as with any well thought out wine dinner, the selections made all the difference. We really wanted to be on auto-pilot and not have to wrestle with the winelist. I think we had a total of eight pours, all most excellent.

After the pork/langoustine moment, things got better, though the number of sweets that make up the dessert courses were...well....a lot. Too much? I don't know -- can one ever have too much dessert? All I can say is that I am glad some of it came home in a little bag with me.

Once back on the streets, both of us felt like were walking a little on air. The "high" from 4+ hours of sensory pleasure had really taken hold! In fact, we are still buzzing a little today.

Oct 09, 2012
amysrq in Manhattan

The "new" menu at Eleven Madison Park

Thank you...you are most kind. I will make every effort to come back with a review.

Sep 18, 2012
amysrq in Manhattan

The "new" menu at Eleven Madison Park

I don't really have a strong connection to Wells....I take notice, but don't consider his word gospel. Bruni, maybe. But that could be a function of familiarity, and even some sense of affection, over the years.

Maybe the bottom line here is this.... I was already questioning (ever so slightly) our decision to dine at EMP, given that it's so far out of our normal price range. I want it to be "perfect." I nudged my husband into the idea and don't want to be left on the hook for an expensive experiment! Spending this money will not force us to eat ramen for a week. And we would probably pay as much in France without more than a cursory wince at l'addition. It is just my nature to have some self-doubt. I am glad I came here to toss it around and get your feedback.

Sep 18, 2012
amysrq in Manhattan

The "new" menu at Eleven Madison Park

This is great to hear, golfer1. Thanks for your input.

Sep 18, 2012
amysrq in Manhattan

The "new" menu at Eleven Madison Park

Nope, not from NYC. Not sure why that matters....except that maybe as one who lives in the hinterlands, I will not be so jaded... :-)

I guess I was motivated by great food and now I am concerned that the whole thing may feel too contrived. I want it to be about the cooking, and the presentation as well. I am not so attracted to the narrative.

I love poetry, but I want it on my plate!

Sep 18, 2012
amysrq in Manhattan

The "new" menu at Eleven Madison Park

I have a lunch booked for early October. It is a reach for us financially, one I was willing to make, but that Wells article is giving me cold feet....

What to do...?

Sep 18, 2012
amysrq in Manhattan

Williamsburg Snack Shack re-opening for season tomorrow

Jack's slaw was too wet. made the whole thing mushy. And they just put too much in. less is more!

Hey, tomorrow is Wednesday!! Fish Taco day!!

Jul 10, 2012
amysrq in Southern New England

Williamsburg Snack Shack re-opening for season tomorrow

Just wanted to jump in and say that the Fish Tacos are great! I like them far better than the ones at Capt. Jacks. I could actually see having a "problem" with the Snack Bar's fish tacos....

"Yep, that's her, back at the Bar again, sucking down another order of fish tacos!"

Jul 08, 2012
amysrq in Southern New England

Like to confirm Cafe Briezh opening time for Saturday afternoon

I am thinking I will ask the hotel to book a table for an hour after we check in. That should give us time to get settled a bit and head over. Thanks for the input Mac and DB!

May 31, 2012
amysrq in France

Like to confirm Cafe Briezh opening time for Saturday afternoon

It looks like Breizh has continuous service, but I'd like to know for sure before I put my jet-lagged family on a 29 bus and head over there this Saturday. Also, do I really need a rez for a late-afternoon meal? Can I call an hour or two ahead and expect to get a table for 3?

May 30, 2012
amysrq in France

Hangover Breakfast outside Dublin Airport

We're flying into DUB from BOS in March, picking up a car and heading north to Newgrange and environs for our first day, overnighting in Trim. We'll have hardly slept and will need plenty of good coffee and a decent meal. (No, we won't actually be hungover, but I am sure we'll feel like it.)

My assumption about terrible food at DUB has been confirmed here. Is there any decent place to get a good breaky and cup or four of coffee? We're happy to go out of our way/off the main route for a little scenery and some solace.

Oh, and if you know of a good dinner in Trim, that would be of interest as well. TIA

Dec 25, 2010
amysrq in U.K./Ireland

Looking for Halvah

We live in Western MA but will drive for Halvah. Our friend brings it to us from NY, but my husband claims he's going to go into withdrawal when he runs out this time. We would be happy to do a road trip and do get into Boston regularly. Hartford is a possibility. We also make an Ikea run now and again, so New Haven is not out of the question.

We would like the kind cut from large pieces rather than pre-packaged if possible.

Thanks in advance.

Sep 27, 2010
amysrq in Southern New England

Bistro Les Gras Northampton

I went there with middling expectations and was very pleased with my food. It is simple fare, but done pretty damn well, imo.

That said, the chairs were so uncomfortable, I have not wanted to return. I am short and fairly generous in the backside. So, I was tottering on the edge, legs swinging in the air. Not a great way to enjoy dinner. When I saw the owner/wife, I noticed that she had the kind of lanky body that would feel quite comfortable in such a chair. I bet she did the picking.

If they would consider a banquette along the wall, I would consider eating there every week.