I was taking a stroll on a Sunday afternoon with my lovely 80 lb pit bull in the Flatiron District. I noticed there was a park that I have never seen in my life and I decided to open the door to check it out.
Low and behold…Eleven Madison Park. Eleven Madison Park (EMP) is one of the few parks that doesn’t allow you to walk your dog. It’s a big disappointment for an avid dog lover like myself. Now, I wasn’t born yesterday so I would expect a park to be a park when its name has “park”. However, that excludes Koreans. They’re people. I didn’t understand why they didn’t allow me to walk my dog. I was willing to pick up after my dog with my poop bag in hand. They informed me they weren’t a park, but a restaurant serving New York cuisine. Okay. I could use a slice of pizza.
I approached the counter to order my pizza and informed they didn’t serve pizza. Okay. By now, I was a little annoyed due to the deceiving name and they said they serve New York cuisine. What’s next? Biggie isn’t from Brooklyn? Run DMC doesn’t wear Adidas? Flavor Flav’s clock didn’t work?
Anyway, they seated me in the corner. I didn’t mind and thought it was perfect cause my pit likes to pee in corners. The service was nothing I’ve experienced in my life. They called me sir and asked me if I wanted still or sparkling water. I didn’t know what was the difference, so I asked for tap water. The waiter responded, “So still?” I was dumbfounded and replied back, “Still what? I thought I said tap water…” He said, “Okay. Coming right up.”
The food came out in small portions with a story behind it. I was amazed about the stories they were telling me about the food. I never knew about the rich history behind some of the fishes like oysters. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big advocate of knowing history so that’s why I watch shows like Game of Thrones. In addition, I’ve seen my share of Nat Geo episodes of Shark Week and I’ve watched Finding Nemo. I’m a fairly educated person.
EMP only serves a tasting menu, which I thought was an edible menu. However, it’s not. It’s 14+ dishes served over a 3.5 hour experience. I was nervous cause I didn’t know if my dog could hang with that much food and whether he had to poop. I didn’t bring enough poop bags and hope they didn’t mind him doing his business right there.
Now, the food. I’m not going to touch on all the courses but only the ones I remembered.
- Widow’s Hole Oysters – By the name, I thought it was prepared by a wife who husband died. But, I knew better with the assumptions by now. One of the oysters were hot and the other was cold. The cold one was topped with apples and the hot one had shaved black chestnuts. The flavors were very different and didn’t taste fishy. I personally prefer my oysters with lime and Tapatio or as an oyster shooter. I did ask the waiter if he had any and he responded with a chuckle.
- Hudson Valley Foie Gras – Foie Gras as many of you know is duck liver. However, I didn’t find out what it was until recently. I thought it was a strain of California marijuana. Luckily for me, Google saved me the embarrassment. I told you I was educated. The Foie Gras was really buttery like melted I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. It’s definitely a step below cause I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is much classier.
- Mangalista Pork – Mangalista Pork was braised and served with onions and pork jus. I had no idea what pork jus was and thought it was pig sperm. The water told me it was the fat of the pork. I asked him, “Why couldn’t he just say pork fat instead of pork jizz?” He replied, “Pork jus.” I said, “Yeah, that’s what I said.” He responded with, “No… you said pork jizz…” I was annoyed and frustrated by now asked him, “Are you calling me a liar and insulting my mother?” He walked away and I said under my breathe, “Yeah… that’s what I thought.” Anyway, the pork was flavorful and tender. However, it didn’t have the snap to it like pork belly or an all beef hot dog.
Overall, apparently EMP has a lot of accolades and it’s a Michelin rated restaurant. I don’t know why a tire company is rating restaurants since it’s in a different industry. I can see why they would give some restaurants reviews if their food tasted like rubber. However, EMP’s food doesn’t taste like rubber.
- Service - 9/109/10
- Presentation - 9/109/10
- Flavors - 8/108/10
- Decor - 9/109/10
- Ambiance - 9/109/10
Eleven Madison Park is one of the few parks where you can’t walk your dog. They claim to serve New York cuisine, but I didn’t see anything pizza related on the menu. The only major perk of the restaurant is my pit bull likes the corner they put us in and it made it very easy for him to poop.