You’d be excused for thinking that a fine-dining restaurant housed in New York’s Credit Suisse building would be something of a dour affair. After all, global financial services and food don’t make for obvious bedfellows. But at Eleven Madison Park, chef Daniel Humm and co-owner Will Guidara’s sleek Art Deco restaurant, the experience is anything but dull.
From card tricks – a server appears with a deck of cards on which different ingredients are written and bids the diner pick a card, only for a chocolate to be revealed from a secret compartment under their dessert bowl that is made from the filling on the chosen card – to unusual serves, nothing about a meal here is humdrum. Take the carrot tartare course (yes, really) which begins with a waiter affixing a meat grinder to the table and inserting two frighteningly fresh carrots. As they are being ground the diner is presented with a selection of condiments, including a quail’s egg yolk and shaved fresh horseradish, and is then left to construct their own dish.
Given the grandeur of the spacious dining room – its huge floor-to-ceiling windows and wooden floors are an imposing backdrop – this fun and fine dining is all the more welcome. It’s an approach that makes this the leading restaurant in North America, and which is now being mimicked in other top-end dining rooms around the world. Humm and Guidara can revel in the fact that at Eleven Madison Park, you saw it first.