11 Madison Park

I have always loved 11 Madison Park.  I've been a patron since the doors opened twelve years ago.  The space is so magnificent and has always called for a ultimate dining experience.   The space is large with expansive soaring ceilings but at the same time feels intimate and certainly unique.  If you close your eyes you can imagine what a dining experience might feel like over hundred years ago in a similar space with the same attention to every detail from the minute you sit down. 

The menu is simple.  Either four courses or five.  There are sixteen items written on a square page.  Four across and four down.  For the four course option you pick one from each line, for a five course you can just pick one more item from either line.  All explanations must come from your server.  For instance, one line looks like this.   beet  langoustine  salmon  foie gras 

We went with four courses and the wine tasting.  I really like the wine pairing because each dish is so unique and the right wine makes all the difference.  A very nice touch.  The wines that they chose were spectacular and all from mostly small vintners. 

Tea
First thing out is different tastings from the chef.  Potato tea.

Potatochip
Potato lavish on the side.  Basically a potato chip with sour cream and caviar on the end.  Really nice dipped in the tea.

Hamachi
Next round was hamachi on puffed rice.  Didn't love this one.  The rice was a bit overwhelming for the fish which was a little fishy.

Salon
The salmon was delicious.  Wrapped salmon with creme fraiche and cucumber.  Presentation is amazing.

App3
Last round of little plates was the best.  Smoked sturgeon on lettuce.  An interesting combo of flavors that just exploded in your mouth. 

App4
Smoked sturgeon with caviar and creme fraiche in an egg cup.  This was decadent.

At this point the bread came out.  Two small french loaves that fit in the palm of your head.  One plain and the other with olives.  Warm, soft and crispy.  Bread is just the food of the gods.  Two butters, one was a calves milk and the other goats milk.  Totally different tastes.  I preferred the calves milk which is creamier and I thought had more flavor.  

Crab
Next course was our first line from the menu.  Fred went with the crab and avocado roullade.  Beautiful preparation with simple ingredients.  A sophisticated california roll without the rice and seaweed.

Langoustine
I had the langoustines.  Sashimi style sliced into a few pieces with slices of green apple and celery sitting in a cream.  i tried to write down everything they told me but didn't capture it all.  This was really interesting.  Not what i was expecting.  Perfect for the last bits of bread I had to dip into the cream. 

Potato gno
For the second course Fred went with the potato.  Small light potato gnocchi mixed with Hawaiian prawns.  Interesting combo.  More like a deconstructed salad. 

Endive
I had the endive which was outrageous.  Roasted endive with a mushroom vinaigrette.  Some of the endives were stuffed with a bread mixture.  Not sure exactly what the mixture was but it was really incredible.

Duck
We opted for the one thing not on the menu for dinner which a dry aged muscovy duck roasted with lavender, honey, coriander and cumin seeds and peppercorns for two. 

Duck1
The breast is sliced off the bone in front of you and then served with wild huckleberries and turnips. Amazing.  Perfectly roasted with one of the most flavorful crispy skins.  Loved the huckleberries too.  They exploded in your mouth.  The mixture of huckleberries which are like tart blueberries works perfect with the duck.  I couldn't help but wonder where the rest of that beautiful duck went.  I would have happily brought the rest home for lunch today. One of the best ducks ever.  Fred said there are only two other people who love duck as much as you;  your brother and your son. 

Honey
In between the dinner and dessert was a milk sorbet with honey inside and an orange blossom sauce.  I didn't love this.  Although interesting I found the taste was not something I could wrap my arms around.

Cheese
Dessert we had to order at the beginning.  Fred went with the cheese plate which I always love after a delicious meal. 

Hazulnut
I went with the hazelnut.  Hazelnut and pistachio gelatos.  Beautiful presentation…and I couldn't help but love the happy birthday bonus. 

I really love 11 Madison Park.  Truly a foodie's experience.