First there was the amuse bouche….
The bread was lined with a soft cheese on the inside but hollow in the center. When our waiter brought them over to the table, he described them as cheese filled bread so I was expecting something full of cheese. Biting into the warm bread was a plesant surprise to find the centers hollow.
This was an amuse bouche specifically for my Mom. The presentation was dramatic. The singular egg was brought to the table, placed on the double bone china plates, and then a warm deep green sauce was carefully ladled in a circle around the egg. The small spices remained in the center as the waiter added just the perfect amount so that the green did not envelope the entire egg.
I ordered the tuna tartare as my appetizer. Unlike at Jane Restaurant and Above, the only other two places I’ve tried tuna tartare, this dish came completely deconstructed. It reminded me of how Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns presented his salad with onsite produced yogurt was presented: the salad was arranged in pieces placed about the slate board and a slather of the yogurt lay beneath. Here, the green base is an avocado cream; there are spring radishes, spring greens and a drizzle of radish reduction sauce with the raw tuna.
My Mom ordered the shrimp gnocchi with bok choy as her appetizer. I am forgetting now what the sauce below was. The gnocchi were made in house.
Above is the lamb tenderloin (?) that my Mom ordered as her entree. Like the amuse bouche, it arrived with just the meat in the center with the accompaniments on top. The sauce was then delicately added by the waiter; first the orange color; then the dots of oil.
This was my dish, the Mediterranean Loup de Mer sauteed with boubilaise sauce. Aroung the perimeter are tapas sized selections of cannellini, chorizo and olives. While the sauce came already poured, the taste was no less amazing.
Here’s my Mom with her dessert dish. By this time, they had dimmed their lights and a soft hue highlighted the cut wood design on the back of the benches. Their emblem of various tree leaves shows up.
My Mom had the basil ice cream over lemon sorbet on top of hard sugar (think rock candy! Of “don’t eat that with soda or your stomach will explore” chilhood camp story ilk!). To the left on her plate is a Vermont souffle.
This was the one true miss (for me) of the evening – unless of course you like anise. Which I don’t. The curled crisp on top was plesant enough as was the white part of the log but biting down into the green section, I was met with a sour surprise – anise flavoring! And the ice cream you see beautifully displayed there is grapefruit flavored! This was definitely not the dish for me! I abhore anise and strongly dislike grapfruit – despite my Mom eating it every day for breakfast for the past oh 30 or so odd years. I diliked this dish – however, that is NOT to say it is a bad dish. In fact it is a stunning dish but it is definitely something that should be savored by someone with a palatte for grapefruit and anise flavoring.
Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave (duh!)
New York, NY 10010