Monday, October 08, 2007

A Dinner at 11 Madison Park

There are times in life when everything comes together in the right way. The stars and planets line up to make the moment sweeter, the memory last longer, and the experience fuller. These points in our lives are fleeting and far too few in between, but when they do occur, one must try to savor them to the utmost. These are the experiences that make life worth living.

For me, one of those moments came about a few weeks ago at New York's 11 Madison Park restaurant. I have been an unabashed fan of the place since the new regime of Chef Daniel Humm, Wine Director John Ragan and General Manager William Guidara took over. This is a New York institution, in a beautiful American Art Deco space with huge windows looking out onto Madison Park. They have transformed what was a lackluster restaurant coasting on its laurels into the premiere destination for food and wine lovers from around the country, if not the globe.

That evening, the New York oenofools gathered together to welcome a travelling wine geek from Atlanta with our wines and our friendship. We had discussed what the wine theme would be, and happily we decided on Burgundy. Arriving, we handed our wine totes to the welcoming staff and sat down. While we knew we'd be well taken-care of, we had no idea what we were in for.

We put ourselves into the capable hands of the Wine Director and the Chef. Having seen our wines, he designed a menu that he thought would be appropriate to the wines present. The Wine Director also came over several times to ensure that we were happy with the serving order of our bottles. How fantastic is that? How sadly rare is it that a restaurant's crew takes the time to ensure that what you're drinking, whether you've brought it or you've bought it, matches with what you're eating and vice versa? But this night, we need not have worried.

Course after course arrived, each one better than the last, slowly building up the tension, the wines dancing (for the most part) in lock-step with the dishes. This meal was one of the best I've had there, if not the best. And I might add that it's one of the best I've eaten in the city in a while.

Here is our menu, with the wines in bold, to give you an idea of what they're capable of:

Hors d'Oeuvres
Soup with Maine Brook Trout and Smoke Yogurt

Wild Scottish Langoustine
"En Gelée de Bouillabaisse" with Cape Cod Bay Crab
2000 Henri Marionnet Vigne Pré-Phylloxerique Romorantin Provignage

Marinated in Pumpkin Seed Oil and Butternut Squash
2000 Franz Hirtzberger Singerriedel Riesling

Nova Scotia Lobster
Lasagna with Baby Artichokes, Flowers and Lemon Verbena
1997 Chapoutier Hermitage Blanc de l'Orée

Mediterranean Loup de Mer
Seared with Tomato Confit and Mission Figs
1989 Leroy Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts
1991 Méo-Camuzet Aux Brulées Premier Cru

Roulade de Chanterelles
1991 Jayer-Gilles Echézeaux
1998 Mongeard-Mugneret Vieilles Vignes Echézeaux

Four Story Hill "Ris de Veau"
Herb Roasted with Celery and Burgundy Truffles
1991 Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche
1998 Dujac Clos St Denis

Grimaud Farms Muscovy Duck
Glazed with Lavender Honey and Spices
1999 Joseph Drouhin Chambertin
1989 Château de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Selection of Farmstead Cheeses
1959 Henri Maire Vin Jaune

"Kir Royale"
Champagne Meringue and Cassis

Golden Pineapple
Soufflé with Pecorino and Lemon Thyme Ice Cream
2003 Château la Tour Blanche Sauternes


The next time you're in New York City, run, don't walk there.


1 comment:

Maman said...

I have eaten there as well... It is magnificent and by all accounts your dinner was even more so!