Park on Madison
It is really amazing. We were invited to attend a fancy dinner for a 50th anniversary dinner. The party of honor really did it up for us by sending a limo to take us from the condo to the restaurant. We rode around in style. We were whisked away to the 11 Madison Park restaurant.
11 Madison Park is owned by Daniel Meyer, the man who shaped New York dining and made celeb chefs who they are. Danny Meyer is the guy that made Tom Colicchio a house hold name. Danny Meyer's restaurant empire includes Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern, and this one 11 Madison Park. I have heard of all his restaurants for years now. My cousin and cousin-in-law live in Manhattan, and they send their daughter to the same private school that Danny Meyer sends his daughter to. Danny Meyer hosts his daughter's class to dinner parties at his restaurants, and the kids have eaten at his restaurants multiple times. The kid has dined at 11 Madison Park at least 3 times, yet my cousins, her parents, have not even tried it once. I think through the kid's exposure to excellent ingredients and excellently prepared foods, she has taken an interest in cook. The last time I saw the kid, she was eager to cook for us, so "have at it" I said. I sat back with my scotch and water, watched her cook a 3 course meal for us, and I then sat back and enjoyed the fruits of her labor.
Anyway, back to 11 Madison Park. The service was excellent and friendly. The staff was well dressed and appropriate. I cannot say enough good stuff about the staff and service. They were kind, but not drippy icky sweet. They were knowledgeable, but not haughty. They were attentive, but did not hover. It was the best service I have ever had dining ever.
After we were seated and all settled in, the staff brought over lovely plates of bite sized hors d'oeurves. They were tasty and perfect to tie us over while we decide on dinner, a fixed price 3-course meal. The hors d'oeuvres were tomato and cheese, tuna sushi, charizo tart, foie gras cracker, and rabbit. The care it takes to make these thumbnail sized bites is apparent. The combinations of textures and flavors were terrific. I don't think I would make these myself, nor do I think I have the fine dexterity to make these.
We ordered, and the staff brought out an amuse bouche. The bowl contained a wafer of watermelon topped with tiny balls of canteloupe and honeydew, and then topped with baby basil leaves. The staff then poured a bit of smooth gazpacho over the fruit. Then the staff drizzled olive oil over that. The presentation was really laborious. I was scared to have tomato and fruit. I took bites of the orange and green melons with the soup and that was surprisingly good. Then I added a bit of basil to those bites, and again very good. Then I ate the watermelon and the soup, and the soup just changed the nature of the watermelon into something that is almost savory. What a strange sensation to expect a sweet watermelon, but it tasted more like a savory cracker.
For my second course, I opted for the lamb tenderloin with roasted artichokes and arugula. The staff poured the sauce over the lamb then dotted it with olive oil. I opted wisely. The presentation was beautiful. The flavor was lamb like but not gamey. The flavor and preparation is unlike any lamb I have ever had. It was delicious and tender. The other entree I tasted was the braised beef cheek with bordelaise sauce. I have never had beef cheek before, but it seems to be a fatty piece of beef with a texture of brisket. The fattiness of the cheek melted away during braising, leaving a really nice melty piece of beef. Others had lobster, pork and char. The 2nd courses seem to be a big hit all around the table.
It was a fantastic celebration of a 50th anniversary for sure. As most things go, this good thing had to come to an end. We had to leave before the limo turned into a pumpkin.
Labels: New York Eats