Have you ever wondered what dining is like? I don’t mean simply going to any local eatery and ordering your favourite, tested item from the menu, eating it, paying the bill and going out with a slight taste of dissatisfaction in your mouth. Dining is all about luxury, comfort and satisfaction. The ambience should suit your mood. The waiters should make you feel at home. And the food should be a treat to the taste buds, relishing even the gourmet souls. The fine dining restaurants in the world offer such an experience. Eleven Madison Park, New York had occupied the tag of being the best restaurant in the world for a long time. Although it has slipped a few notches in the ladder, the experience it provides in dining is something a foodie can’t miss.
Opened in 1998, and designed by Bentel & Bentel, this was first owned by restaurateur Danny Meyer. Chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur friend Will Guidara purchased the place in 2006 and turned in into one of the poshest restaurants of the world where the guests would come, not just for the food, but for the experience. Serving one multi-course tasting menu, Chef Daniel Humm’s recipes have become widely acknowledged all over the globe. A tasting menu is combining small portions of several dishes and serving it as one meal. Tasting menus have become quite popular all over the world as several guests prefer tasting small portions of all dishes, rather than hogging down on one all night long.
Will Guidara’s philosophy that serving people who have entrusted their time and money with them is a nobility, is the reason why Eleven Madison Park has become one of the finest restaurants in the world right now. There is always someone to greet the guests at the front door; a person who would not stand behind the podium and make the experience transactional, but someone who would ensure that the guests are comfortable in the restaurant, and have had their choice of seat and starting beverage. Entering and feeling at home are the first steps to satisfy a diner’s experience, Guidara feels.
Chef Humm’s menu is something to behold. Presenting a cuisine which salutes New York and the cultivation of products in and around the place, Eleven Madison Park is true Yankee in nature. Humm’s duck, roasted with honey and lavender is one dish which the Chef feels he has perfected till date. Every dish, from squash to veal, has a story behind it, is prepared with the utmost care, and is served with savour.
Guidara always targets to make the experience memorable. The staff is always looking for verbal cues which might allow them to make the guests feel extra special. Once they overheard a tourist heading for the airport, lamenting that he missed out on a New York hot-dog. The staff went out, bought a hot-dog from a street vendor, presented it to Chef Humm who revamped it a bit, before bringing it to that customer. The look on his face said it all. This is what every diner in the world would want – an experience which would make their stomach and soul satisfied.
For every diner, this is the ultimate experience. Where food comes with familiarity, even the gluttonous ones wouldn’t find it insatiable. The next time, you are taking a bite off the Big Apple, drop in at Eleven Madison Park.