Eleven Madison Park

11 Madison Ave,

New York, NY 10010

(212) 889-0905

I didn’t really know what to expect when I arrived for this dinner at Eleven Madison Park, except that Executive Chef Daniel Humm would be preparing a tasting menu specifically for our table. That was more than enough. As long-time readers know, Eleven Madison is one of my favorite restaurants on the planet. This dinner, though, seemed to take things to another level. So many dishes were spectacular, including the Sterling Royal Caviar, Diver Scallop Ceviche, Nova Scotia Lobster, Bouillabaisse, “Winter in Provence,” and the Blue Foot Chicken. As always, there was an effortless, graceful quality to the way all of the flavors came together on the plate. It didn’t hurt that a number of courses were generously topped off with delicious black truffles! Despite all of the complexity in these preparations, the food paired beautifully with our wines. This was a virtuosic display of pure creativity, skill and artistry from Humm and his team. Service was first-class; always attentive but never intrusive.

Jacques Selosse’s NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Initiale (disgorged Jan. 18, 2008) was a great way to kick off the evening. This energetic, vibrant wine impressed for its combination of voluminous, richly-textured fruit and zesty freshness. It was an impeccable, totally first-rate Champagne. Raveneau’s 1996 Chablis Blanchots emerged from the glass with an intoxicating array of smoke, minerals and incense, all of which added considerable complexity to the fat, almost-tropical fruit. This was a flat-out great bottle of white Burgundy. The 1989 Chassagne- Montrachet Ruchottes from Ramonet was almost certainly the victim of less than ideal storage at some point in its life. I adored the 1983 Haut-Brion Blanc for its perfumed layers of open-knit, expressive fruit. The wine was at a beautiful place in its life, with considerable freshness considering its age.

Jadot’s 1985 Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques showed great density and richness, along with a compelling, generous personality. It was a pure joy to drink. Bruno Giacosa’s 1982 Barolo Villero, from my cellar, was a bit of a shock after the Jadot. Still muscular and powerful, the Villero offered up plenty of red fruit, leather, minerals and spices in a powerful, sinewy expression of this vineyard. Roberto Voerzio’s 1990 Barolo Brunate was a knock-out. Impeccably round, silky tannins framed a dark core of fruit. This enveloping, round Barolo was totally convincing in its balance. Sadly, we didn’t have good luck with Voerzio’s 1990 Barolo Cerequio, which was the victim of a faulty cork, while the 1982 Monfortino from Giacomo Conterno was oxidized.

After great Pinot and Nebbiolo, Syrah was the next logical place to go. Jaboulet’s 1966 Hermitage La Chapelle was seamless, ripe and round, with breathtaking inner perfume and phenomenal balance. Though fully mature, there was a timelessness to this wine that is hard to fully capture with words. The 1983 Hermitage (magnum) from Chave was simply beautiful. A graceful, impeccable bouquet melded into a sublime, expressive core of fruit. Roasted coffee beans, tar and licorice lingered on the elegant finish. This was a magical bottle.

The 1990 Margaux was impressive for its sheer richness and weight, but it also came across as an infant, and in need of quite a bit of further cellaring (!) as it was not at all expressive. The 1990 Haut-Brion emerged from the glass with sublime layers of sweet tobacco, incense, licorice and dark fruit. The bouquet was intensely fragrant and carried through all the way to the silky finish. Though not a powerhouse, the 1990 Haut-Brion was drop-dead gorgeous.


Hors d’œuvres

Sterling Royal Caviar; Spheres of Smoked Sturgeon and Salmon Cream

Diver Scallop Ceviche with Fennel, Yuzu and Satsuma Tangerine

Foie Gras Mille-Feuille with Big Eye Tuna and Watercress

Nova Scotia Lobster Poached with Daikon Radish, Winter Citrus and Avocado Oil

Bouillabaisse; Dover Sole with Mussels, Bay Scallops, Hawaiian Prawns and Chorizo

Everglades Frogs’ Legs Sautéed with Parsley and Porcini Custard Black Truffle Beignet with Truffle Remoulade

 “Winter in Provence” Black Truffles, Chèvre Frais and Potatoes

Four Story Hill Sweetbreads Sautéed with Artichokes, Black Truffles and Smoked Marble Potatoes

Blue Foot Chicken; Roasted with Meyer Lemon, Rosemary and Black Truffles “Soda Pop” Tangerine, Grapefruit, Pomelo and Lemon

Milk & Chocolate Variations of Flavor and Texture




Jacques Selosse Brut Blanc de Blancs Initiale



Raveneau Chablis Blanchots



Ramonet Chassagne Montrachet Ruchottes



Haut-Brion Blanc



Jadot Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques



Bruno Giacosa Barolo Villero



Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino



Roberto Voerzio Barolo Brunate



Roberto Voerzio Barolo Cerequio



Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle



Chave Hermitage (magnum)



Chateau Margaux



Chateau Haut-Brion


 --Antonio Galloni