Friends often ask why I visit Eleven Madison Park so frequently. The answer is simple. I’d liken it to a sort of anti-Murphy’s Law. Since 2012, every time I’ve walked through their revolving doors, it’s as if the laws of nature have been suspended, for nothing ever seems to go wrong. You get the sense that the staff have considered every aspect of the dining experience to maximize the guest’s pleasure.
And this most recent visit (with The Wizard of Roz and her husband) was no exception. While I cannot possibly do justice to our 5+ hour lunch, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite dishes.
From my past meals, I’ve found higher variance in lobster preparations relative to either vegetables or meats; they can be utterly spellbinding one meal (see here) and almost forgettable at another (see here). The winter menu’s butter poached lobster was accompanied by braised lettuce and mushrooms. Still glistening from its lipid bath, the claw and tail meat were finished tableside with a potent shellfish sauce—made from crushed pieces of lobster shell, coral, cream and cognac—which draped itself around anything it touched.
And the final savory course was delightful. It had been nearly three years since I enjoyed pork as my main course (a belly and loin duo). The wintery duo featured cheek and collar. Perched atop a head cheese-like oval of pork that resembled a stain glass window, the cheek was braised into submission. Bringing balance to the plate was a diaphanous slice of pickled onion and just barely perceptible apple. It’s a combination of flavors I could eat again and again (indeed, I did, enjoying the pork at the bar the previous evening).
Here’s the link to all of the photos: EMP winter menu