From its publication, the list of the world’s 50 best restaurants has been on everyone’s lips and Mero Mole just hopped on the bandwagon.
The panel, composed of 1,000 experts in gastronomy, gave the blue ribbon to one of the Big Apple’s tried classics, described as a paragon of hospitality and cuisine elevated to art forms: Eleven Madison Park.
“The perfect fusion of spectacular hospitality and exquisite fare set in New York’s iconic scenery has made Eleven Madison Park number one”, assured the panel’s most prestigious members.
Anticipating the result, we sent two of our most enthusiastic molers to the restaurant and here’s what they had to say about their visit:
When we planned the trip, Eleven Madison Park was already #3 on the world’s top 50, so it was clear this was a place we had to check out.
We made reservations a month in advance and were lucky to get a table. From the options available, we picked the five-course set menu, and when asked if we were celebrating a special occasion, we fibbed and said it was one of our birthdays; you know, for mere pleasure.
When we got there, the simple façade surprised us: a clean wall with the restaurant’s logo on it. We found this minimal architectural intervention to be fairly common around the city. Once inside, the décor was so simple and classic that we barely noticed it until we were leaving. Only then did it occur to us that this was intentional so that none of our attention was drawn away from the service and cuisine. Very impressive! And that’s only the beginning: every single aspect of the experience was as deliberate as this one..
The service was spectacular. Two hosts were awaiting our arrival, and they immediately congratulated the alleged birthday girl. Our waitress came to the table as soon as we sat down and also extended her best birthday wishes before explaining what our tasting menu consisted of.
Each table had three staff members assigned to it, and they divvied up the chores so all of their guests would want for nothing during their visit. All of them – and this is of paramount importance – were constantly aware of what was going on in their surroundings and were meticulous about every detail.
The menu was just as pleasantly surprising: some of the courses were set dishes but we were offered three options to choose from for the other courses. In addition to the outstanding flavors, the size of the portions was very satisfactory.
Raw quail egg with ham, caviar and Hollandaise sauce; black truffle-stuffed foie gras, covered with mushroom leaves; sea scallops served with grilled green onions, leeks filled with mushroom mousse and Hollandaise sauce, and butternut squash filled with bone marrow and carrot crème.
On the side, oven-fresh bread (so much so that the mouth-watering smell wafted to the table before the bread basket did), and butter with a dehydrated sheep’s cheese crust and sea salt.
Oxtail with mashed potatoes, celery root, and black truffle; pepper and honey encrusted duck breast – this is the best dish either of us has ever eaten!
The crust was perfectly crunchy and the meat red and very tender. The acidity of the onion and sweetness of the dates that accompanied the duck were the perfect complements to the pepper’s spicy kick. We don’t mean to wax poetic here, but it can’t be helped! Every bite was an exquisite explosion of flavors.
Granola-crusted green apple filled with apple sorbet and a Hooligan cheese and black truffle croquette. A salty dessert you say? They totally pulled it off.
The culinary adventure ended with two chocolate and salt covered pretzels and a sweet wine. Delicious!
The evening’s close was perfect. While the table was being cleared, a waiter with whom we had not crossed paths yet approached the table and, in Spanish, asked if everything had been to our liking. That was a very nice touch. Each of us was given a lovely swag bag with the restaurant’s logo and some emblematic tokens: a jar of homemade granola and our personalized menus, so we could revisit and remember every detail. The supposed birthday girl also got a box – appropriately branded – with two chocolates.
By the time we got to the exit there were already two attendants waiting for us with our coats. Like we said: Always anticipating the guests’ needs!.
We had high expectations going in; so to say that these were exceeded is a true testament to the quality of the experience. Their branding – subtly present even in the smallest of details – and interior design are perfectly in sync with the concept. The punctual monitoring of the reservation status and on-site organization are as deserving of a standing ovation as were the unique flavors and artful presentation of each dish.
On behalf of Mero Mole, congratulations Eleven Madison Park! An extremely well deserved first place.
Credits: Luisa, Hero Guest Gun and Ana Pau, Top Dog in Hospitality.
* Eleven Madison Park will be closed from June to September 2017 undergoing renovations.