Thursday, July 19, 2007

heaven part 1: in which danny meyer buses my table

taking advantage of restaurant week here in new york involves strategy. many restaurants always do cheap prix fixe lunches or pre-theater dinners so what's the point of going when it's busy with people who don't know any better? Many restaurants aren't even worth the $35 you'll pay for a three course dinner. Getting resys at the ones that are worth it require calling one month in advance of the numerical date you'd like to dine.

many true foodies avoid it altogether claiming that none of a restaurant's best food is ever offered on the menu (you get two to three things to choose from for each course). that may be true. what is also true is that if a restaurant is good, whatever they're cooking, they're doing it well and it is almost always worth it for the price.

eleven madison park is probably my favorite restaurant in the city. i think it is meyer's best.

nb: meyer is also the man who brought to new york a chicago-style hotdog, even shipping in vienna beef dogs. and for that, i could kiss him. especially since i hear this year that they've finally FINALLY stopped putting lettuce on them, but i digress.

the room is large, bright and airy. the service is immaculate. i started with tuna tartare with slivers of steamed white and green asparagus, garnished with good olive oil and minced tricolored peppers. next was roast chicken. the skin was crispy and flavorful and it rested on top of fresh peas, a pea puree, diced morels and a morel puree. it was brilliant. last was my old standby, panna cotta with fresh berries and a macerated strawberry juice. it was accompanied by a gratis glass of moscato d'asti.

just as i was finishing i looked up at a man standing next to my table. he was taking in the dining room, standing confidently with a grin on his face, looking quite like a proud father at his daughter's college graduation. "he's good looking...and really tan," i mused, "and don't i know him from somewhere?" then it hit me, "oh my god, that's danny meyer!" at that point, he turned to look at me and asked how my meal was. i told him it was excellent and that i proudly restrained myself from licking any of my plates. "oh no! don't hold back! lick away!" he said as he took my dessert plates and flatware off the table. "thank you so much for coming!" he said as he scooted away with my dishes. so not only did i get a glass of free wine, but one of the most impressive restaurant moguls this city has ever seen just bused my table.

in all, it was lovely. i would eat there every single day if i had a few million dollars to waste away...

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