The 4-Star NYC Restaurant That Got A 1-Star New York Times Review
Talk about a fall from grace. It’s unusual for a much-lauded institution to go from the status of a four-star review in the New York Times to being absolutely obliterated by that same venerable publication.
But this is exactly what happened to Eleven Madison Park, a restaurant that for years was a cornerstone of New York’s fine dining scene, mentioned in the same breath as Le Bernadin, Per Se, Jean-Georges, and Aquavit. Founded in 1998 by famed restaurateur Danny Meyer of Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern (not to mention Shake Shack) Eleven Madison Park offered an affordable French-American menu in its early days. Over time, however, the restaurant was transformed under the direction of chef Daniel Humm and erstwhile partner Will Guidara into a wildly expensive and much-talked-about tasting menu destination where an eight-course meal could set back a party of two more than $1,000.
In 2009, when it was awarded its coveted fourth star by New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni, it was only one of six in the city to hold the honor (via Eater). By 2017, Eleven Madison Park had earned the top position on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Other honors for the restaurant, located in the famous art deco Metropolitan Life North Building (now called 11 Madison Avenue, via The Real Deal), include 11 James Beard awards (per the James Beard Foundation) and three Michelin stars (via Eater). In short, Eleven Madison Park had reached the pinnacle of fine dining success.