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Report on Eleven Madison Park with family (long)

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Report on Eleven Madison Park with family (long)

RickJ | Jan 2, 2002 10:35 AM

Well, the ‘rents have gone back to Idaho and I’m back at work so I though I’d report on the culinary highlights of the last few days.

First and foremost, Eleven Madison Park. This was to be our one “nice” dinner out, but “nice” does a very poor job of describing our trip to EMP. “Spectacular” is more like it. First of all, it was a beautiful evening, and the newly renovated Madison Square Park, with views of the Flatiron building and the Empire State Building in the distance, was enchanting. This setting, coupled with the room at EMP was perfect for out-of-towners catching their first glimpse of New York City. The room was very elegant, very New York; big, sexy, and bold. The service was first-rate all the way: friendly, helpful, and professional. My parents were dazzled by the service and both commented that it was the best they’d ever had. The food was great. I won’t go into what everyone had but I had the butternut squash soup with cauliflower, quince, and walnuts. It was excellent. The cauliflower literally melted in my mouth. We were then served a course of tuna tartare. My dad liked it and I enjoyed it but the others weren’t overly impressed. For the entrée, I had the monkfish and mussels in a tomato cream sauce. The sauce was heavier than you usually find in a fish dish but I liked it a lot and I though it went well with the meaty monkfish. Dessert was a revelation. We were fortunate to go on a night when they offered dark chocolate soufflé as a dessert special. We all had it and it was phenomenal. It was served with chocolate marshmallow, espresso chip, and vanilla ice cream. The vanilla rivals what I’ve long considered to be the best vanilla ice cream I’ve ever had, that at Gotham Bar and Grill. I only spoke about my food, but my parents really enjoyed their food as well and, although they still claim that K-Paul’s in New Orleans is the best food they’ve ever had, I’m quite sure that the story of their night at EMP in NYC will be told many times on the frozen tundra of Idaho.

p.s. To those who responded to my earlier post and suggested I go to Town, I hear you and I still hope to try it some time (and thanks for responding), but I couldn’t have been happier with EMP.

Other highlights:

New Green Bo: We had lunch here (my first time as well) and absolutely loved the pork tiny buns and vegetable dumplings. Other dishes we had were good but not great.

John’s Pizza: This was my little brother’s favorite meal of the trip. He’s 16, what can I say? It was good as usual though, and a nice introduction to NYC pizza for the family.

Virgil’s: This was a backup plan after encountering an hour-and-a-half long wait for a table at ESPNZone (little brother’s request). My dad had the pulled pork sandwich and fell in love with the place. I couldn’t get him to shut up about it the rest of the week. I had never had the hush puppies there before, but had them this time and they were great.

Lupa: Unfortunately, Lupa didn’t go over as well as I had hoped. No one disliked the food, but no one raved about it either (besides me, that is). I had the ricotta gnocchi and it remains one of my favorite pasta dishes in the city. The prosciutto was excellent as well.

Junior’s in GSC: Stopped in just for cheesecake. All agreed it was excellent.

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