Lunch at Eleven Madison Park, New York

I have some exciting projects coming up, which meant I had to skip off to New York for a trip. Hard life, right? When discussing this with Mama Bridges, she jumped at the chance to come with me. Because, well, New York.

It was our first trip with just us two, which was pretty exciting since I don’t see the woman nearly enough. For that reason, I decided to treat her to lunch at Eleven Madison Park. I’ve been reading Danny Meyers book and it talked about starting up the restaurant and their emphasis on customer service. I decided it was one of those things I needed to check out for myself, so I miraculously got a booking for that week. Oh, it’s also rated the 5th best restaurant in the world. No biggie.

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It was absolutely beautiful. The only problem was that I was actually pretty damn ill. I’d been in bed for the past day and a half (and you know I have to be bloody ill to stay in the hotel all day instead of roam the streets of NYC) with fever, shakes and sweats. But it was so expensive to cancel the reservation, plus I didn’t want Mama Bridges to have to suffer just beacuse I was, so I took a shower and got my shit together.

Good thing I had this angel to look after me.

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I should mention that a couple of days before this, I got a call from someone at the restaurant who wanted to introduce herself to me before our visit, letting me know she’d be waiting for me at the door. Nailing customer service or what?

After we arrived, we got to our table and there was a little gift waiting for us.

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Cheesy deliciousness! A Cheddar Savory Black and White Cookie with Apple.

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Mum was enjoying her treat to the max. This called for some rosé.

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Isn’t she the cutest?

Since I was a sick bunny, I got some hot water. Exciting times.

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This is my “I’m sick but trying to man the hell up” look.

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Mum wanted a cube of ice for her wine, so they brought a whole cup full. Please note how perfectly cubed these ice cubes are. I mean, my mind was blown.

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Before I went, I let them know that I was a veggie, so Mum and my courses are a little different.

First up, I had Sunchoke Hot & Cold with Velouté.

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Whilst I had sunchoke, Mum got oysters.

Look at the hot and cold seperation. Cool, no?

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The next course was my favourite, probably because I’m the biggest breakfast lover there is.

Black Truffle Benedict with Egg and Potato. Mum’s was with caviar, I’m pretty sure.

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Look at those little English muffins!

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YAMMMMAAAAA.

Out came some bread. It’s texture reminded me of a croissant.

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As delicious as it was, I didn’t want to fill up too much on it since I knew there was massives coming my way.

Particularly in the form of Turnips Roasted with Fennel and Rye.

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Mum had a crab and sea urchin dish. It looked like Ming’s dream.

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Mum’s lobster dish was after that.

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I had Parsnips Roasted with Sesame and Parsley.

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As we were chatting away, the chef brought over Mum’s next dish that was in the middle of being prepared.

Check this out. It was steamedd celery root in a pig’s bladder. It’s an old, traditional technique.

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And here it is, in all its glory.

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No pig’s bladder for me. Celery Root Risotto with Black Truffle.

I loooove truffle.

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As you can see…

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Here’s where things started to go wrong. For me, not the restaurant.

So they serve us the most delicious looking plates yet. I’m feeling full, but I can still do it. Mushroom Variations with Quinoa and Thyme. It’s like a dream plate.

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Not just that, but they served us incredible sides to share. Kale Creamed with Egg…

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Potatoes with Crème Fraîche…

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And Butternut Squash and Custard.

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A little more mushrooms to side my main mushroom dish.

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Isn’t it glorious?

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Mum went for a pork option, which was as pretty as anything.

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However, about this time I start shaking and sweating and shivering. I have to excuse myself, and can barely walk. I’m literally a mess when I come back to the table. The waiters were absolutely lovely, offering to go get me medicine, asking if I needed a blanket or a hot towel. I asked for my jacket and a hot towel. So there I was, in one of the world’s best restaurants with my ski jacket on. Great.

Oh, and a tea to go with all my hot water.

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I didn’t throw in the (hot) towel though (sorry not sorry). I was determined to have dessert.

We got the option of ordering two seperate desserts, or a shared one. The shared one was, oh, just a Baked Alaska with Molasses and Vanilla Ice Cream. It was pretty obvious what I was going to go for. And what a thing of beauty it was.

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I’m so glad I manned up for this.

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They then took it back to cut it up for us. Of course, it was delicious.

I could only have a slice (I was bursting full now) but it was so worth it.

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Mum and I basically hi-fived. We’d made it through lunch without me collapsing. We were full to the brim but we tried everything. We’d experienced one of the top restaurants.

Just as we thought it was over, we were wrong. I don’t know if I was over the moon or wanting to cry.

Turns out they work with Mast Brothers Chocolate Makers, and they brought out 4 bars exclusively made for them.

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It was a “Name That Milk” game, with each bar made from a different animals milk (cow, sheep, goat, buffalo). Now how can I not play that? Chocolate, come here.

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I took a little bite of each and hoped for the best. I wasn’t really confident with any of them apart from the goat. (IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHICH ANSWER THE GOAT IS, DON’T LOOK AT THE PICTURE BELOW – SPOILER ALERT).

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Mama B got into it too. She had her own answers.

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Turns out I got one right (the goat, of course). Mama got TWO right. I gotta learn a thing or two from her.

Our reward? Chocolate Covered Pretzels with Sea Salt.

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As well as another little treat…

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Neither of us were in the mood for alcohol though (me being ill, Mum being tipsy). We got a little glass of apple cider instead. Mmmmm.

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The treats didn’t stop flowing from then on. We were given our individual menus, which were incredibly cool.

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And breakfast for tomorrow! The most INSANE granola!

Truth is I actually took both these babies back to University with me and ate it all.

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Just when we thought it was over, it wasn’t. We were offered to see the kitchen. And I can tell you, I have never turned down seeing a kitchen.

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Isn’t it great? I gushed over all the pictures.

As we were stood there, yet another treat was ahead. This time, it was made right in front of us.

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I can’t remember exactly what it was. Apple, icy, taffy, thing? Or can I just say it was delicious?

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Happy bunnies!

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As expected, the service was flawless. Well, once they served me the meat dish and Mum the vegetarian until I told them, and another I asked for more English muffins (because they offered and who would say no) and before they arrived, about 5 waiters in the space of 10 minutes asked if we needed our plates clear. But if smothering me in kindness is the only thing I can think wrong with the service, then we can agree it was pretty damn good.

Mama was so happy with her treat. A perfect way to end the trip – we flew home the night before that giant snowstorm, thank goodness. Phewwwww.

3 Comments

  1. Ming
    February 29, 2016 / 5:06 am

    That sea urchin. Incredible post!

  2. Jazz Coupland
    March 18, 2016 / 1:12 pm

    B, I am currently eating my lunch aldesco having a good trawl through your amazing posts and this one is particularly wow-worthy. Hope you are well and persevering through these tough uni times – I remember them all too well! xxx

    • March 21, 2016 / 6:05 pm

      Hello there! Haha ahhh thank you so much, so happy you’re enjoying them. And oh god, thank you, nearly done! Hope you’re well! xxxx

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