Eleven Madison Park – Restaurant Review | Condé Nast Traveler



Tell us about your first impressions when you arrived.
Sometimes a New York City restaurant’s rich vibe comes from just how much space there is inside. EMP, as it’s called by its fans, is no exception: The soaring Deco space was redesigned by an architect intending to create a calmer, more harmoniously symmetrical vibe. He succeeded, and the space has retained its luxurious, historic feel. A gorgeous blue watercolor by a Hungarian artist now shimmers across the way right when you walk in. It’s a place that’s simultaneously soothing and exciting at first blush.
What was the crowd like?
Most people around you are thrilled to be here, and they’ve plunked down a lot of cash to feel that way—about 300 bucks for a single seat at a dining room table. That means they are either the sort of people for whom this restaurant is very important or the sort of people for whom money is not.
What should we be drinking?
Regional American wines are a strength of this particular list, and cocktails are sensible and executed with an eye to matching the caliber of the food.
Main event: the food. Give us the lowdown—especially what not to miss.
Set menus are the order of the day. If you’re lucky you’ll get some gorgeous caviar in a tin marked with the neat EMP logo. Expect unusual dishes like savory black and white cookies and celery root with black truffle right alongside classics like Lobster Newburg. Since 2013 it has ranked among the top 10 restaurants six times and by the end of your tenth course you’ll know why.
And how did the front-of-house folks treat you?
Servers are academic, almost to a fault, but they know what they’re doing, and they’ll make sure you’re comfortable.
What’s the real-real on why we’re coming here?
This is an anniversary meal, an impress-the-in-laws, an ask-him-to-marry-you sort of place. At $600 and up, it’s a splurge for 99 percenters.