Posts Tagged ‘EMP’

Congratulations to Our Eleven Madison Park Family on Being Number One on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants List!

April 7, 2017

Dear Daniel, Will, Billy, Dmitri, and the entire EMP staff,

You did it! From last year’s third spot, you skipped over number two and went directly to the top! It reminds us of how you went from one Michelin star directly to three, something few if any restaurants have ever done. Nice habit!

We are beyond elated that you’ve achieved this pinnacle of world-wide recognition capping a long string of very well deserved accolades. As Will said in accepting this award, it is an affirmation of the hard work you all do every day to make dining at Eleven Madison Park a glorious and extraordinary experience.

To us, you always have been and always will be Number One! Now, the restaurant world agrees.  You are THE BEST!

Fondly,
Roz and Michael

EMP #1 World's 50 Best Restaurants 2017

Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, Co-Owners of EMP

5-Day Birthday Dining Extravaganza (Part 6): Dinner at Eleven Madison Park

March 7, 2017

Birthday Card

After having a night-before-my-birthday dinner at Mamma Guidara’s and a birthday lunch at NoMad, we completed the Made Nice trifecta with dinner at Eleven Madison Park. It’s where we always celebrate our special occasions. Most of our monthly visits to EMP are at lunch. However, for our anniversary and birthdays, we always do dinner. And so at 8 p.m., on Monday, October 24th, we pushed through the revolving doors and entered the gorgeous Art Deco room. I know I’ve said this before, but no matter how often we go to EMP, we’re always excited to be there, and the staff is excited to have us there. But we feel a heightened sense of excitement when we’re celebrating a special occasion.

Arriving at our table, I immediately spotted this beautiful hand-drawn card created by the very talented Emily Parkinson.

Birthday Card

The interior is at the top of this post. The lovely message and so many of the staff signing gave me a huge case of the warm and fuzzies.

Elizabeth was our captain for the evening while Sommelier John Ross saw to our beverage needs. It’s always great fun having them take care of us. After we discussed menu choices with Elizabeth, John wheeled over the Champagne cart.

It being a celebratory occasion, Michael had his favorite Champagne.

Krug

John knows what I like, so my favorite Non-Alcoholic French Sparkling Cider was also on the cart.

French Sparkling Cider (Non-Alcoholic)

As always, our first bites were of the signature cookies which are already on the tables when guests are seated.

Black and White Cookie

Black & White Cookies with Apple & Cheddar

The meal began with a quartet of Hors d’Oeuvres brought to the table by one of the chefs.

Hors d'Oeuvres Tower

Hors d’Oeuvres Tower

The chef disassembled the tower which then becomes four interlocking sections each holding a different hors d’oeuvre connected by a theme: Mushrooms.

Hors d'Oeuvre Tower: Mushroom

Tarte with Black Truffle

Hen of the Woods with Amaranth and Horseradish

Pickled with Apple and Shallot

Beignet with Black Truffle

The Caviar course was next. It’s Chef Humm’s upscale take on Eggs Benedict.

Caviar

Caviar Benedict with Potato, Leek, and Hollandaise

I don’t eat caviar, so I got this not exactly shabby substitution.

Black Truffle

Black Truffle Benedict with Parsnip and Hollandaise

Accompaniment for the Benedicts. Look out, Thomas’s!

House Made English Muffins

House Made English Muffins

Next up: Foie Gras! We had the option of choosing hot or cold. While I generally prefer hot, I’ve found that at EMP, I like the torchons better. And Michael always prefers cold. This one had us both swooning.

Foie Gras

Foie Gras Marinated with Plum & Cocoa

Foie Gras

Wine pairing:

Moulin Touchais

At this point, the House Made Rolls arrived along with the Amagansett Sea Salt. However, instead of the usual house made cultured butter, there was something quite different to spread on the rolls: Honey Nut Squash with Sage and Cinnamon that was mixed at the table with some other ingredients.

Honeynut Squash

Honeynut Squash

While it was tasty, I have to be honest and say I much prefer the butter.

For the fish course, we were given a choice between lobster and striped bass. We both chose the latter.

Striped Bass

Striped Bass Poached with Fennel and Clams

Wine pairing:

Schloss Gobelsburg 2000

The vegetable course was Celery Root. Previously, it had been prepared “en vessie.” This time, there was a brand new preparation expertly finished tableside by Elizabeth.

Celery Root

Celery Root

Celery Root en Croûte with Black Truffle

Michael likes to have at least one beer pairing, so John paired this beer with the celery root.

Beer

When one of the reception staff arrives at our table mid-meal, we know that it’s Kitchen Visit time! This time, it was Matt who escorted there. When we’re celebrating a special occasion, the kitchen is often the place where we will be greeted with a surprise. Even knowing this, we’ve given up trying to figure out what it might be. And damn it! They do always manage to surprise us!

We walked in and saw that they’d removed the high-top table and replaced it with a table for two. There were place settings and wine glasses which held pours of – GASP! – Château d’Yqem.

Kitchen Visit

After we sat down, Chef de Cuisine Dmitri Magi brought over this.

Kitchen Visit

OMG! Yes, a gigantic White Truffle!

Two plates were set in front of us holding a composition Dmitri had created especially for us.

Kitchen Visit

Ris de Veau, Cauliflower, and Almond

Dmitri spooned on some sauce.

Kitchen Visit

Kitchen Visit

Now, the idea was, of course, for the white truffles to be shaved on top. Next thing I knew, Dmitri handed me the truffle and said, “You do it!”

Kitchen Visit

Well, folks, let me tell you that was no easy task. What took me totally by surprise was that the truffle was not anything like the mushrooms I’m used to cooking with. This baby was hard! Like baseball hard. My first attempt didn’t go well. Dmitri retrieved the truffle, made some adjustments to the shaver, and shaved a few truffles. He made it look so easy!

Kitchen Visit

He handed the truffle and shaver back to me. It still wasn’t easy — you have to put some muscle into it — but I finally managed to get some decent shavings on Michael’s plate.

Kitchen Visit

Dmitri added a lot more and then rained truffles onto my plate.

Kitchen Visit

Dmitri’s creation by itself would have been sensational. Covered with a blanket of white truffles, it was orgasmic! John Ross knows that sweet wine is the one type of wine I like, and you can’t do much better than Château d’Yquem which also happens to be Michael’s favorite sweet wine. Overall, perfection!

We toddled back to our table basking in the glow of the fantastic surprise. The flatware for our next course had already been laid. It included our engrave knives (a gift from EMP for our 45th anniversary) which signaled that the main course would be served.

Our Engraved Knives

The choices were venison or Chef Humm’s signature duck. Michael chose the venison but since I don’t care for it, I had the duck.

Duck

Duck Honey and Lavender Glazed with Turnip & Huckleberry

Venison

Wine pairing:

Saint-Estephe 2000

Two sides served family style:

Potatoes

Potatoes

Black Radish and Spelt Dumplings

Black Radish and Spelt Dumplings

The Cheese Course was an oldie but goodie.

Cheddar

Cheddar Tart with Apple and Mixed Greens

Mixed Greens

Wine pairing:

Chardonnay

Approaching the meal’s denouement, we chose different desserts. From the photos, you won’t have to guess which was dessert was Michael’s and which was mine.

Pear

Pear Sorbet with Caramelized White Chocolate & Riesling

Chocolate

Chocolate Tuile with Crème Fraïche Ice Cream and Mulled Wine

John went a little overboard with the pairings.

Harlan Estates

Rappa

Riesling

Our usual Siphon Coffee was prepared by Whitney Boyer, one of the dining room managers.

Siphon Coffee

Michael always enjoys ending with Laird’s Apple Brandy.

Laird's Apple Brandy

For some time, we’ve been having the Chocolate Pretzels with Sea Salt and the “Name Your Milk” game packed to go. Also in the bag were the take-home gift House Made Granola, menus, and a Birthday Bonbon.

It was a truly magical evening. Outstanding cuisine, spot on pairings, exceptional service, and a memorable surprise. Couldn’t ask for anything more. Plus, we were surrounded by our terrific EMP family. I sincerely appreciate everything they did to make it an unforgettable birthday celebration.

Eleven Madison Park

To see the entire photo set for this dinner click here.

Here are the links for previous birthday extravaganza posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. The links to Parts 4 and 5 are in the first paragraph of this post.

A “Care Package” for Me from Our EMP and NoMad Family

April 17, 2016

In this previous post, I mentioned that I’d had periodontal surgery at the end of January. It was actually the first of two procedures. The second took place (as did the first) in NYC on Monday, April 4th, at which point, I was back on the same restricted diet.

In early March, we had impromptu drinks and food in EMP’s bar area after attending the C-CAP benefit honoring Chef Daniel Humm and chaired by Will Guidara. Though I wasn’t going to say anything, Michael insisted on telling Will and G.M. Billy Peelle that we wouldn’t be back to EMP for quite some time because of my upcoming surgery and the ensuing dietary restrictions. He had also mentioned it to the NoMad’s E.C. James Kent when we saw him at the fundraiser. They all made note of the date and said that they intended to send a “care package” of soft foods to our apartment.

The surgery went very well. We had originally planned to remain in the city a day or two longer.  But since I was feeling fine, we decided to go back to NJ that evening. Another reason for that decision was that the following day there was not going to be any water in our building for several hours because the rooftop water tank was being cleaned. This would have been a huge hindrance with regard to following the necessary post-surgery instructions.

Michael didn’t check his email until Tuesday morning. He discovered that Billy had sent him an email the previous evening asking how I was doing. He also asked how long we’d in the city because they wanted to send over the care package. I immediately emailed him that I very much appreciated his concern and that we were back in NJ. On Thursday, he emailed that they’d be sending the package to NJ the next day. I was a bit stunned. Sending it to our apartment was one thing as we are conveniently located a few blocks from EMP. But sending it out to our house?! Really?!

Sure enough, at 9:45 p.m. on Friday, our doorbell rang.  The special messenger said he was so late because he had run into traffic.  So typical in NJ.  But my care package was here!

"Care Package" for Me from EMP & NoMad

There was a card…

"Care Package" for Me from EMP & NoMad

And all of these jars:

"Care Package" for Me from EMP & NoMad

"Care Package" for Me from EMP & NoMad

"Care Package" for Me from EMP & NoMad

And at the bottom buried in ice packs were these containers:

"Care Package for Me from EMP & NoMad

I sent Billy this email:

“WOW! You all have really gone way beyond above and beyond!

Since the surgery, we’ve been starting all our lunches and dinners with puréed soup. And, as I mentioned in a previous email, I’ve been eating quite a bit of ice cream because my periodontist encourages its consumption as it helps to curtail swelling. Thus, the contents of the package couldn’t be more perfect!

It actually came at just the right moment. Since we’d had our main meal in the afternoon, we were just about to have a light supper. So, it was great to be able to begin with the always fantastic chicken velouté and end with scoops of the luscious ice creams and sorbet.

Please extend my sincerest thanks and deep appreciation to everyone at EMP and NoMad who had a hand in putting this package together.”

They truly are THE BEST!

"Care Package" for Me from EMP & NoMad

New Year’s Eve 2015 at Eleven Madison Park

January 2, 2016

For the first time in five years, we were not at home on New Year’s Eve having our annual beef fondue and listening to the Classical Countdown on WQXR.*  Michael will be 75 at the end of January, so he decided he wanted to start his next quarter century by celebrating New Year’s Eve with our EMP family (which is where we went five years ago). We reserved for the second seating and arrived at 9 p.m. sharp.

Eleven Madison Park: New Year's Eve 2015

The second seating was fully booked (as had been the first). Beautiful white floral arrangements and balloons gave the gorgeous space an especially festive feel. Music – jazz during dinner and later what would I think would be called popular rock — was provided by a terrific 5-piece band and a songstress.

The menu was a 7-course tasting. There were a few familiar things on it but most of the dishes were new. And since the kitchen is aware of what I won’t eat, they were prepared to make a couple of adjustments for me. Michael did the wine pairings which, as you will see, were incredible.

Michael started with what has become his favorite cocktail: “Satan’s Circus.” I requested a glass of my favorite French Sparkling Cider.

Cocktail: Satan's Circus

French Sparkling Cider (Non-Alcoholic)

The usual Black & White Cookies with Cheddar and Apple were already on the table when we were seated.

Black & White Cookie

Black & White Cookies

Michael had planned not to begin the meal with Champagne instead intending to have a half bottle of Krug on his birthday. However, during a discussion with Sommelier John Ross about pairings, John suggested that Michael have a “splash” of Champagne with the first couple of dishes, a sweet wine with the foie gras (I drink sweet wine, so I said I’d have it too), a white for the lobster and the mushroom, and then a red with the beef.

Well, here’s John’s idea of a “splash” of Champagne. LOL!

Krug

Smoked Sturgeon Sabayon with Chive Oil is a longtime favorite and has become a Daniel Humm signature.

Sturgeon

1st Course: Oyster Gelée with Potato and Leeks

1st Course: Oyster

Since I don’t care for oysters, I was served Potato and Black Truffle.

1st Course: Potato and Black Truffle

2nd Course: Caviar Benedict with Eggs and Ham

2nd Course: Caviar

I don’t eat caviar, so in my Benedict, the caviar was replaced with Black Truffles!

2nd Course: Black Truffle

Accompaniment for the Benedict: English Muffins.

English Muffins

At this point, the usual House Made Rolls were served along with Cow’s Milk Butter and Amagansett Sea Salt.

House Made Roll

Butter and Salt

3rd Course: Foie Gras Terrine with Sunchoke and Onion

3rd Course: Foie Gras

The wine pairing for the foie totally blew us away! Château d’Yquem 1987! I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised considering that it was New Year’s Eve. But what also stunned us was the bottle size, a Methuselah, which we’d never seen before. Well, not in person.

Château d’Yquem 1987

4th Course: Lobster Poached with Cauliflower and White Truffle

4th Course: Lobster

5th Course: Hen of the Woods Mushoom Roasted with Horseradish

5th Course: Hen of the Woods Mushroom

The pairing for these two courses – both of which, you will note, included white truffles — was a Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2004 which also arrived in a Methuselah.

Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2004

The arrival of our Engraved Knives announced that the main protein was about to be served.

Our Engraved Knives

6th Course: Dry Aged Ribeye and Braised Oxtail, Potato, and Black Truffle

The Pat LeFrieda beef was aged 140 days.

6th Course: Dry Aged Beef

Paired with the beef, the Flaccianello Della Pieve 2004 was decanted from the Methuselah.

Flaccianello Della Pieve 2004 - Decanted

Flaccianello Della Pieve 2004 - Decanted

7th Course: Chocolate Ganache with Bourbon and Honey Ice Cream

7th Course: Chocolate

At the end of all EMP meals, Chocolate Pretzels with Sea Salt (though they normally hang from a little stand).

Pretzels

The clock had been ticking away and, at this point, we were just a few minutes away from midnight. The captains came to the table with glasses of Champagne to toast the New Year and silver-colored tubes which we discovered when blown into released confetti.

Champagne Toast

John Ross and Wine Director Cedric Nicaise climbed up on the divider in front of the bar area holding bottles of Champagne. Everyone counted down the minutes, and at the stroke of midnight, they popped the corks.

Counting down the minutes...

As is the EMP custom, Chef de Cuisine Chris Flint, Executive Sous Chef Dmitri Nagi, and the entire kitchen staff had come into the dining room for the countdown.

Midnight!

On the divider, there were now tiered trays holding assorted goodies, including macarons, and servers circulated with trays of black and white truffle balls.

Goodies

The band was stationed on the upper level, and a space had been cleared for dancing. After midnight, many of the guests left their tables to walk around. Some took to the dance floor, including Michael and me!The Band

Exquisite cuisine, phenomenal wines, a great band and, of course, being with our EMP family made New Year’s Eve 2015 a truly memorable event.

Eleven Madison Park: New Year's Eve 2015

Eleven Madison Park: New Year's Eve 2015

*Note: When we left our apartment, the Classical Countdown was in the middle of Number 6: the complete Brandenburg Concertos. No surprise to later find out that Number 1 was Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. In fact, this year it was all-Beethoven in the top three slots with the 5th at Number 2 (up from last year’s Number 5) and the 7th at Number 3 (same as last year). Dvorak’s 9th Symphony, From the New World, also maintained its Number 4 rank. Well, at least Holst’s The Planets dropped from last year’s Number 2 (Ridiculous!) to Number 7. Still way too high in my not-so-humble opinion.

To see the entire set of photos on my Flickr, click here.