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Eleven Madison Park (Manhattan, NY) – The Gourmand Tasting

June 8, 2011

According to WordPress, I started writing this post on May 24, 2010. (I actually got started on it early!) However, like a lot of my posts of other breath-taking tasting menus, I got stuck halfway through and I’ve never bothered to complete it. (Yes, I’ve had writer’s block for more than a year, what can I say?!)

Sadly, since my meal at Eleven Madison Park (or, as I like to lovingly refer to it, “EMP”), the gourmand menu at is no more, replaced with a simple matrix of ingredients to be manipulated into full-fledged courses. However, I have no doubt that this new menu arrangement is just as good. A restaurant like EMP doesn’t just stop serving good food, and the fact that it won Outstanding Restaurant at the 2011 James Beard Awards only supports that. Dining at EMP will be an amazing experience, no matter what or when you try it.

Anyway, seeing that this review is now useless, I’m turning the post into a photo-blog. I mean, we all like photos, right…? (I know, total cop-out. But if I don’t post this now, I never will!)

Hors d’oeuvres

Course 1: Sterling Royal Caviar, Spheres of Smoked Sturgeon and Salmon Cream

Course 2: Santa Barbara Sea Urchin, Custard with Green Apple, Shellfish Ragout

Course 3: Garden Pea and Mint Lollipop

I will write something for this one: The above lollipop was the best single bite during my entire May 2010 NYC trip and the reason I considered EMP to be my favorite restaurant of 2010. Imagine the texture of a fudgsicle – that crisp, hard coating that, when bitten into, gives way to a cool, soft filling – but replace the chocolate taste with the brightest peas you’ve ever tasted. I felt like the temperature only enhanced the flavor, making it taste fresher, cleaner… I’ve been chasing the taste of peas ever since, hoping to find something similar to this bite.

Course 4: Spring Out of Winter – Variations of Asparagus with Jamon Iberico

Course 5: Foie Gras Torchon with Tete de Cochon, Pickled Spring Vegetables and Horseradish

Course 6: Atlantic Halibut Seared with Smoked Spring Garlic and Crayfish

Course 7: Nova Scotia Lobster Poached with Young Carrots, Ginger and Vadouvan Granola

Course 8: Earth and Ocean – Slow Cooked Poussin with Hawaiian Blue Prawns and Seaweed

Course 9: Colorado Lamb Herb Roasted with Sucrine Lettuce, Garden Peas and Oregon Morels

Fromage – A Selection of Artisanal Cheeses

Course 10: “Soda Pop” – Tangerine, Grapefruit, Pomelo and Lemon

Course 11: Milk and Chocolate – Variations of Flavor and Texture

Mignardises

Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10010
(212) 889-0905
Website: http://www.elevenmadisonpark.com

Eleven Madison Park on Urbanspoon

Shake Shack (Manhattan, NY) – The Place May Be Shakin’ But This Ain’t No Shack

June 8, 2010

When I first imagined Shake Shack, I imagined some run-down hole in the wall that served burgers like the ones you can find in the hood in LA. Seeing it in person, I realized – the place may be shakin’ but this ain’t no shack.

The modern looking “shack” you see above is the Shake Shack. Known for their burgers and frozen custard shakes, it is the only place I’ve heard of on the East Coast with a cult following that rivals In-N-Out’s. I mean, if you thought the drive-thru at In-N-Out was long, just LOOK at the line of people snaking through Madison Square Park. (It’s so long, they even let you can even keep tabs on their line via their “Shack Cam”!) Luckily, I caught the line at a slow point – it only took me about half an hour to get to the front and order the most loaded burger they’ve got.

The Shack Stack is the love child of their regular Shake Shack cheeseburger and their specialty ‘Shroom burger. You have your normal meat patty and cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato and Shack Sauce, as well as a crispy fried portobello filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheese sandwiched in the middle. Personally, I think I would have rather had a regular burger sans ‘shroom. When I have a portobello mushroom in a sandwich, I want to taste it; however, because it was battered, fried and stuffed with cheese, I couldn’t really taste the mushroom hidden inside.

‘Shroom aside, I did enjoy the rest of the burger. The patty itself was juicy and flavorful. The oozing muenster and cheddar may have overpowered the portobello, but complimented the meat naturally. I did find myself wanting more than one leaf of lettuce (a want spawned from my In-N-Out upbringing), but I was willing to overlook the lack of crisp lettuce for the soft potato bread buns.

In a city that feels like it never stops moving, these juicy patties and fluffy buns are worth standing still for. It may not look like the hole-in-the-wall that I imagined, but Shake Shack’s definitely got the soul of one.

Shake Shack
11 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10010
(212) 889-6600
Website: http://www.shakeshacknyc.com/

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

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