Eleven Madison Park. Michelin 3 Star. Impossible reservation. Unbelievable experience. Truly the ultimate in gluten free eating. Courtesy gift from the chef: amazing gluten free granola.
Eleven Madison has an approach that is highly specific to each diner that is perfect for someone with a food allergy. The waiter arrives at your table and asks you to pick one item from 4 rows of words. Each row is a course on the 4-course pre-fixe. He or she will then ask you what you do not like. This is your chance to laundry list everything you hate!!
My selections: Octopus – Lobster – Beef – Chocolate.
My modifications: Gluten Free. Pregnant so avoiding raw shell fish. No poached eggs, liver or foie gras. The waiter already knew I was Gluten Free because I added it to my open table reservation (read more about this gluten free tip here.
When the first amuse-bouche arrived I got a big pit in my stomach.
Crap, are they really going to not cater to my allergy?
The two tiny toasts with quail eggs on top looked almost exactly alike (except one egg was well-cooked).
My husband said “can she eat this?”
The waiter said “yes we cooked the egg for her!!” in an excited voice.
And I said “I am allergic to gluten.”
“Oh, THAT! Its on a gluten free toast!” he answered.
This was a moment. I realized wow, they just assume that I know they are taking care of me and I do not have to worry. The kitchen has it covered. This is the kind of gluten free moment that I live for, where I can just throw it over to the chef and relax.
A series of amuse-bouche followed that I enjoyed. The last one was memorable: a yogurt lollypop with a thin crust over the top and a slight taste of curry. It had a sour essence that I assume was presented to warm up our palettes for the first course.
The true genius behind this dish was the dried chorizo. It was like bacon-bits on steroids. The octopus was cooked perfectly with its garnishes of pickled onions.
The best thing about this plate? The leek. Of course the lobster was perfect. But, I have never had a leek that was cooked like this. It was so easy to cut it. The texture was not stringy or chewy. It was like cutting bread. It blew me away. This dish include gluten free bread crumbs and was surrounded by a very complex mole sauce.
The beef was perfectly cooked medium rare sirloin strip. The accompanying sauce was amazing along with the dried shallot bits.
Throughout the meal I was served bread from Everybody Eats. The bread platter included French Bread, White Bread and a bread with nuts. The French bread is the best gluten free bread I have tasted in the United States. It was very similar to the awesome gluten free bread I had in Barcelona. I highly recommend checking out any of the places that carry Everybody Eats on their website.
I was not a huge fan of the desert process at this restaurant. They serve a freshly made New York Egg Cream before the desert courses are served. I am not a fan of milk and at this point was so FULL that this novelty was lost on me. My husband was also less than enthused. A New York Egg Cream has neither eggs nor cream. It is made with milk, seltzer (Brooklyn made NYC Seltzer in this case), and chocolate syrup. It’s a heavy choice to lead into desert and my opinion the fizzy choice is also not great for your stomach before eating ice cream or a cheese plate. It felt way out of place like a kid threw it on the menu.
I was served gluten free cookie crumble with lavender ice cream. The ice cream was ok but not at all near exciting which surprised me. There are so many local ice cream proprietors that make mind blowing creations here in the city yet here was this crappy ice cream. The dish was hard to understand.
How do you get a reservation at Eleven Madison?
This restaurant books out 28 days in advance on Open Table. It is sold out every day. I had to monitor the website and count off the days to get this slot. I also accepted a slot on Monday which is likely not as busy as the days that lead up to the weekend. Another thing I noticed is that it may be less busy during Easter / Spring Break. In short, plan your visit in advance and mention your Gluten Free needs in the comments section of Open Table!
Address: 11 Madison
Price: Very Expensive
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