Toni and I recently celebrated our one-year anniversary at Eleven Madison Park. The restaurant had been on my to-try list for some time, and I’d been especially excited to go since reading about chef Daniel Humm’s playfulness in the kitchen of this haute restaurant.
When we arrived, the art-deco space seemed enormous, with its vaulted ceiling as grand as one would imagine possible in the city, and yet it was simultaneously intimate. The number of tables was limited, so the extra room felt luxurious, not necessary to house a crowd. The staff seemed to be a part of a seamless choreography, united by silent, behind-the-scenes communication, that trickled down to the smallest gestures: taking our coats without the need for a claim receipt; attentively letting us know that our table was being set the moment I began to be antsy sitting at the bar; transferring our drinks to the table’s ticket without being asked. These were only augmented by the care they took to make our anniversary as special as it could be—a hand-written note awaited us on our table, and every one of our servers greeted us in kind.
The meal itself was adventurous, if not the most delicious I’ve ever tasted, with each menu item identified only by its primary ingredient. However, its inventive spirit, coupled with the large array of amuses, a choice of butters (cow’s milk and goat’s) to accompany our already lusciously buttery rolls, and the additionally sweet nibbles served after our final course, made the prix fixe price feel utterly worth the experience. Our staff even presented us with homemade chocolate bars, with a cut-to-fit, handwritten “Happy Anniversary” message nestled inside the custom encasement.
And the coup de grace? After the chef himself came out to make his rounds, we were presented with a little mason jar of housemade granola—chef’s favorite—to have for breakfast the next morning.