Dinner at Eleven Madison Park, 7/26/07
Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 10:54AM
The Lady Who Lunches in Restaurant reviews

After months of reading phenomenal things about Eleven Madison Park on chowhound.com, I decided it was time for me to try it for myself. I can't begin to tell you how many people have raved about EMP. I was very excited and intrigued about my 7:00 p.m. reservation.

My friend and I arrived fifteen minutes early and waited for our table in the bar's offshoot area. We admired the restaurant's tall ceilings and lovely Art Deco decor. After about ten minutes, we were seated.The service began outstanding, but towards the end of our meal, it dwindled. During the time of outstanding service, I was blown away by the immaculate attention to each and every guest. Each of us ordered a drink; I had a champagne cocktail and my friend had a glass of Merlot (recommended by the sommolier, of course). My drink was light, refreshing, fruity and sweet.

First, we were brought a long and narrow tray with four of the chef's starters (grilled cheese on paper-thin crackers with truffle essence, tuna tartare with baby squash and caviar, meringue sandwich cookies with foie gras as the center and sweetbreads wrapped in a light fried dough). Periodically, we were served lovely assorted breads and rolls.Since this restaurant only does tasting menus, we opted for the three-course menu with the choice of two savory dishes and one sweet dish. I ordered the Diver scallop ceviche, the lobster "lasagna" and a peach souffle.The ceviche was very interesting; I've never had raw scallops before. They were paired with watermelon, lobster and lemon oil. It made for a very interesting flavor combination. My entree (the lobster "lasagna") was pleasant, but I was not floored or blown away. I did enjoy the peach souffle with lemon-thyme ice cream.

Overall, my experience at EMP was positive. I didn't like the way our service turned out towards the last half of our meal. My food was good and very unique, but I've realized that fancy food is not my favorite food. Would I return to EMP? I think so, but most likely at brunch for heartier fare.

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