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Side dishes include kale, Brussels sprouts and colored potatoes.

FEATURES

The Comeback Kid

By Phebe Wahl

Interior photos by Gary He | Dish photos by Evan Sung

11.28.17

After a wild summer out East, Eleven Madison Park gets back to the serious business of being Manhattan’s most revered restaurant.

FOLLOWING A SUN- and rosé-soaked season spent in the Hamptons, we must all tidy up for the most stylish season of fall in Manhattan. When Eleven Madison Park announced it would shutter for the summer, epicureans mourned the loss of what has been deemed the world’s top restaurant. A buzzy East Hampton pop-up filled the void while the Madison Avenue location underwent a face-lift but did not nearly satiate the appetites of the respected restaurant’s serious foodie fans. Finally, this fall, Eleven Madison Park reopened its doors, revealing thoughtfully crafted interiors by Allied Works that celebrate the new direction of the restaurant as well as the past.

Every detail of the new dining space has been artfully crafted—even down to the uniforms, designed by CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist Todd Snyder. However, perhaps it is the art itself that informs the space the most. Large-scale works by Sol LeWitt, Olympia Scarry and Daniel Turner, as well as a monumental chalkboard painting by Rita Ackermann, preside over the space. Plush blue velvet banquettes accommodate the languid, three-hour meals. Pristine Mudshark porcelain is the canvas for chef Daniel Humm’s artful presentations. The newly revamped leaf logo serves as streamlined signage outside, signifying a refined and matured aesthetic that is apparent throughout the new space and menu.

The bar is still first come, first served, offering an abbreviated five- to six-course tasting menu (for $155 per person)—which is your best bet if you do not book the ticketed eight- to 10-course tasting menu ($295 per person) at least a month in advance. A wine pairing program ($175, or $275 for reserve pairings) narrows the 4,000 selections on offer of nearly 20,000 bottles available. 

Eleven Madison Park’s newly renovated dining room now invites almost 80 percent fewer guests to dine in the space that formerly accommodated 400.

Chef/co-owner Humm lovingly outfitted his dream kitchen where he has cooked for the past 11 years with a Molteni stove and staffed up his team with top talents like former Marea chef Sakari Smithwick and sommelier Watson Brown (formerly at Cafe d’Alsace). But the true artist is Humm. The Swiss-born toque—who is also the talent behind The NoMad and NoMad Bar as well as fast-casual spot Made Nice—counts six James Beard Foundation Awards (including outstanding chef and outstanding restaurant in America) and three Michelin stars for good reason. His elegant, ever-evolving menu showcases his strength in celebrating seasonality. Dishes like foie gras with pumpkin seeds and squash, or smoked sturgeon cheesecake with caviar are sublime creations that cause even the most jaded of epicureans to pause in awe at the sheer genius of it all. Thinly shaved carpaccio of button mushrooms are arranged in precision like scales of a fish pleasing the eye while subtle surprises of barley and pine excite the palate.

Yet as Humm ushers in the new, he will not forget the old. “Breaking down the old kitchen was definitely an emotional moment for me,” he shares of the renovation process. As a nod to the past, he commissioned artist Daniel Turner to craft a steel step from melted equipment of the old kitchen. He explains: “Every person who enters the restaurant steps over its history before meeting its present.” Humm became executive chef in 2006 and later purchased the restaurant from Union Square Hospitality Group in 2011 with business partner Will Guidara. “I have spent more time there than anywhere else in the last eleven years, including my home,” he says of the sacred space. “It was important to us to bring the restaurant’s past into its present and to share this with our guests.” 

Smoked sturgeon cheesecake with caviar garnish awaits on the newly revamped menu.

ELEVEN MADISON PARK 

11 Madison Ave., 212.889.0905

Lunch: Fri.-Sun., noon-1pm
Dinner: Mon.-Wed., 5:30-10pm; Thurs.-Sun., 5:30-10:30pm