You might be surprised to find out there is such a thing as the Best Restaurant in the World. With Michelin 3 star ratings spreading all over the globe, how could there ever be just one? How is it rated? What is taken into account? Who gets to give it such high honor?
Well, believe it or not such a list of the 50 Best Restaurants in the world does exist, and there IS a #1, and it is in New York. A group of elite persona from all over the world gather each year, this time in Melbourne, Australia, to crown a winner. The event has been nicknamed- “prom night for restaurants”- and this year they have chosen Eleven Madison Park as their king.
Chef Daniel Humm sits at the throne with this Michelin star expertise, his French-influenced bistro serves exceptional Greenmarket cuisine that blew the competition out of the water. Chef Daniel has created a dining experience like none we have ever seen before. Located in Manhattan's Flatiron neighborhood, on Madison Avenue between 24th and 25th streets. Eleven Madison Park offers a tasting menu of 11 courses, which lasts around 3 hours, and costs an average of $295 per person. Closed for the summer for renovations (with a temporary location in the Hamptons called EMP Summer House), Eleven Madison Park is reopening next month. Snag your reservation here.
Ambitious food blogger Julian Fang was able to squeeze in a reservation—pre-renovation—and give the 11 course menu a try, and by the looks of it—it was worth every penny. Everything from the decoration to the art deco style interior amazes it’s guests and the careful attention to every detail is well represented in each dish.
The very first thing offered are light amuse-bouches, the bite-sized cheese gougères are served at just the right warm temperature and sprinkled with salt.
Of course no tasting menu is complete without an excellent wine selection. As the guests enjoyed the cheese gougères they drank the 2006 Arnot-Roberts syrah specially selected by Chef Daniel.
The wine was presented alongside the round of hors d’oeuvres that were beautifully presented on a long narrow tray. Each one made to cater different tastes for different guests and they did not disappoint.
A unique take on vegetable texture—you’d love the carrot marshmallow. It’s a playful vision of garden flavors with a different consistency made to make you wonder how it’s made. Next to that you can see the tuna tartar, a beautiful blend of texture and taste.
For something you can only get at Eleven Madison Park, you can have its famous foie gras. It is first seared, then cured, and made into pudding. On this preparation it was topped with an asparagus gelée. The egg quiche tartlet is probably the easiest to recognize on the tray. It’s morel mushrooms are sure to make your mouthwater.
By now the wine glasses have emptied or are running low, guests may choose to continue with the wine selection available or mix it up with a Mint Julep. It comes in beautiful gauntlet with mint leaves that are out of this world big.
Alas, the beginning of the meal arrived with the first basket of bread. The warm delicious rolls were accompanied by two kinds of butter; one made with goat milk and the other with cow milk.
Presenting the first course, Sterling Royal caviar, was burrowed with spheres of smoked sturgeon and salmon cream.
Following that is a course starring three ingredients at three temperatures: Santa Barbara sea urchin, custard with green apple, and shellfish ragout. All together they make a decadent, sour, briny, and mysteriously great combination.
The palate takes a pause with a delicious garden-pea-and-mint lollipop which is presented in a glass vase filled with grass.
Alongside its imaginative combinations and presentation, Eleven Madison Park prides itself on serving locally grown foods. Thus, the Spring Out of Winter course unites freshly harvested asparagus with jamón ibérico.
It is immediately followed by another marvelous course—a foie gras torchon that is dedicated to melt on your tongue. Accompanied by tête de cochon, pickled spring vegetables, and horseradish.
Next up is a supple, buttery Atlantic halibut. Chef Daniel seared it with smoked spring garlic and crayfish.
Then guests were served a vivid plate of poached Nova Scotia lobster with "young" carrots, ginger, and vadouvan-spiced granola.
Four individual preparations of Colorado lamb were served with the large, pink, herb-roasted cut in the center of this plate. The lamb ravioli, lamb sausage, lamb short rib, and sweetbreads made a delicious companion and set the stage for the main event.
Delivered personally, the star of the meal is the Muscovy duck stuffed with lavender and glazed with honey. The manager even takes the time to carve the bird so everyone can watch in amazement and prepare their tastebuds. Only the very prime morsels were served alongside asparagus, ramps, and strawberries.
No French dinner is complete without a little cheese, so a fromage cart pushed by a server pulls up tableside. The server then distributes out a selection of artisanal cheeses based on the diner's preferences. The cheese is wonderfully paired with raisin walnut breadsticks.
On to the final stage: dessert. First up is the Soda Pop, which literally pops at every bite with the help of Pop Rocks. It is composed with tangerine foam frozen with liquid nitrogen.
Not your normal milk and cookies, the Milk and Chocolate course uses dehydrated chocolate mousse, combined with caramelized white chocolate sorbet, browned milk solids, and other savory cocoa textures.
Last but not least guests are offered the traditional French Macaron with a wide variety of flavors. They came in pink peppercorn with caramel; chocolate banana; peanut butter; coconut with chocolate ganache; Meyer lemon; toasted sesame with green tea; and grapefruit with fennel.
Chef Daniel sends anyone who dines at Eleven Park Madison with a box of jellies as a parting favor.