Eleven Madison Park

11 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10010

Tel 212 889-0905

March 2008

Eleven Madison Park had been on my list of places to visit for a while, yet for some reason I had never managed to eat there until fairly recently. What was originally intended as a casual, leisurely lunch unexpectedly turned into one of the greatest meals I have had in a long time. A second dinner a few weeks later was equally brilliant.

Eleven Madison Park is located in Madison Square. I was immediately struck by the open, airy feel of the room, which is accentuated by the high ceilings and bright sunlight that streams in through the windows. The Art Deco appointments are beautifully done and convey a sense of timeless elegance that is quite soothing. Chef Daniel Humm’s cooking highlights the essence of seasonal ingredients with a flair for the inventive. Wine Director John Ragan oversees what is easily one of the most comprehensive wine lists in New York City. Readers will find an astonishingly broad array of selections from around the world at exceedingly fair prices.

A glass of Roger Pouillon’s full-bodied, soaring NV Brut Fleur de Mareuil set the stage for this delicious lunch. We started with the diver scallops, which were exquisitely fresh and vibrant. Trimbach’s 1999 Riesling Clos Ste. Hune was served blind. This was a match made in heaven, as the wine’s acidity played off the scallops beautifully. The Clos Ste. Hune also paired well with the Cape Cod Bay crab cake, where the textural richness of both the food and wine were on an even greater level of absolute harmony. With time in the decanter, the wine opened to reveal classic notes of petrol, flowers, minerals and mint in a gorgeous, contemplative expression of Alsatian Riesling. Readers who own this wine (and that includes me) should be thrilled!

Ragan served Kracher’s 2003 Zweigelt Beerenauslese with our foie gras mille-feuille. It was another inspired, creative match. Both food and wine were sublime, but together they elevated each other to another level of sheer beauty. The Zweigelt’s notes of spices, cardamom and dried cherries evoked some of the traditional condiments served with foie gras and resonated beautifully with the Seckel pear, while the wine’s sweetness and volume matched those of the foie gras itself.

It was time for the main even. I have adored Etienne De Montille’s 2005s every time I have had them, and this was no exception. His 2005 Volnay Les Taillepieds showed remarkable depth and purity in its layered expression of sweet, ripe fruit with tons of upside potential. It was a brilliant wine that continued to develop throughout the afternoon, providing immense pleasure. This is another wine readers will be delighted to own. The braised veal cheek was absolutely delicious although my friend’s marrow crusted beef tenderloin also looked incredibly appealing. I made a mental note to try it next time. The artisan cheeses were a perfect way to finish this phenomenal lunch. Anyone serious about food and wine owes it to themselves to visit Eleven Madison Park.


Diver scallops marinated with picked mushrooms and vin jaune

Cape Cod Bay crab cake

Foie gras mille-feuille with port wine glazed Seckel pear and spices

Braised veal cheeks, celery and pearl onions

Artisan cheeses



Roger Pouillon Brut, Fleur de Mareuil



Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune



Kracher Zweigelt Beerenauslese



Domaine de Montille Volnay Les Taillepieds


--Antonio Galloni