Lots of restaurants churn out lackluster meals during Restaurant Week. Eleven Madison Park is not one of those places. Every Restaurant Week lunch selection is very labor intensive, and is lovingly prepared and served with pride. I went there yesterday without a reservation, expecting to see a line of grumbling, hungry people snaking out the door and down Madison Ave. But instead there were empty seats at the bar.
There was a choice of four appetizers, four entrees. For my first course, I had a perfectly poached egg with a crown of Parmesan, luxuriously reclining in a frothy bath of a white veloute sauce along with wild mushrooms and diced celery. My entree was a chicken roulade, stuffed with trumpet mushrooms, flavorful and juicy and looking like nice fat batons. Dessert was a creamy chocolate mousse topped with ice cream. All this is available through Feb 1, 2008. What a deal!
Service was as welcoming and professional as always. People who did have table reservations had to wait a while in the entryway. That's what happens when a restaurant is crowded and refuses to cut corners or compromise on quality.