The new veg-only Eleven Madison Park offers a ‘secret’ menu for private guests who can feast on foie gras, beef carpaccio and pan-seared pork at this suddenly environmentally conscious New York restaurant.
The three-star Michelin restaurant’s new plant-based menu received a scathing review on Tuesday from one of the country’s top restaurant critics: Pete Wells of the New York Times.
In the end, he noted that the posh restaurant continued to buy meat to serve private guests until the end of the year.
The “private menu” offers carnivores such delicacies as foie gras, beef carpaccio, seared pork with red cabbage and cocoa beans, roast chicken and beef tenderloin, according to the Times and New York Post.
The menu obtained by the Post office also lists sturgeon, endangered in some areas, as well as lobster, halibut, trout and scallops.
Eleven Madison Park offers a “secret” menu featuring meat to private guests of the three-star Michelin restaurant in New York City.
Chef Daniel Hamm announced in May that the chic restaurant would reopen in June with a “vegan” menu to be more sustainable.
The seven-course, meat-based tasting menu for high-income corporate clients at its three private dining rooms would cost $ 285 per person or $ 295 with a food and wine pairing.
A source told the NY Post that the non-vegan menu is prepared in a separate kitchen and insisted that foie gras is not on the menu.
“The private dining room is operated as a separate business from the main restaurant,” the source said despite the “private dining menu” displaying the same restaurant name and brand.
Chef Daniel Humm announced in May that the upscale restaurant would reopen with a vegan-only menu – charging $ 335 for 10 courses – as he lamented unsustainable practices in the food industry.
Explaining his restaurant’s new philosophy on Instagram, Humm said, “When we started to think about reopening EMP, we realized that not only the world had changed, but so did we.
“We have always functioned with sensitivity to our environment, but it has become clear that the current food system is not sustainable,” he wrote. “We knew we couldn’t open the same restaurant. “
On Tuesday, Wells delivered his damning verdict, saying some of the dishes had a “puffy and distorted flavor” while others had a “sickening heaviness.”
The vegetables, Wells said, “were doing things that no root vegetable should be asked to do,” and he accused chef and owner Daniel Humm of manipulating the ingredients far beyond what was required. necessary.
“Some are so obvious substitutes for meat or fish that you almost feel sorry for them,” he wrote.
When the restaurant reopened last summer – in the presence of Angelina Jolie for the highly anticipated opening night – there was a waiting list of 15,000 people. Wells said they would likely be disappointed.
The beets were served in ceramic pots, after being dehydrated, then rehydrated, smoked, dried and processed for three days. The pot was broken at the table, then the beetroot cleaned and served with mustard leaf kimchi and red wine juice.
The tomato dish, served with a lemon verbena tea, a strawberry and shiso salad, and a yellow tomato dosa, was described by Wells as having a “puffy and distorted flavor, like tomatoes passed through a pedal. wah-wah “. a device used by musicians to distort the sound of an electric guitar.
The cucumber with melon and smoked daikon – a dish that requires two cooks all day to chop and prepare it, due to the short shelf life of fresh cucumber – has been dismissed by Wells as being “imbued with intensity. acrid ”.
And a roasted eggplant, which was once flavored with tuna flakes, would have a “sickening heaviness.”
Cucumber with melon and smoked daikon – one of the 11 dishes on the tasting menu. Two chefs work full time for a whole day to prepare the ingredients for this dish
Eggplant with Tomato and Cilantro, which Wells said had a “sickening heaviness.”
“Time and time again, delicate flavors are sidetracked by a harsh, invisible ingredient,” Wells writes.
“The waiters offer little explanation for the doctored flavors, and no warning either. The ingredients feel normal until you take a bite and realize you’ve entered the bizarre valley of the plant kingdom.
Wells says the 45-year-old Swiss chef “used to get purer, deeper results with vegetables before the restaurant went vegan.”
He added: “Maybe he should bring the steamed celeriac back into a pork bladder.”
Not all dishes have been demolished.
Wells said a caviar-style dish of tonburi – from the seeds of the Japanese Kochia tree – served with lettuce, peas and mashed miso, was “delicious.”
His greatest praise was for something that was not on the menu – bread.
“Originally kneaded with cow’s butter, the puff pastry has been re-ligated with butter made from sunflower seeds, and it is an unqualified success,” he wrote.
“The same goes for the non-butter that accompanies the bread, molded in the shape of a sunflower, bright yellow with a dark eye of tangy fermented sunflower seeds in the center. “
Wells pointed out that while Humm argued that the current restaurant situation was not sustainable for the planet, if everyone followed his lead, the small farmers he had previously bought his meat from in the upstate of New York would go bankrupt.
The food critic mocked the ‘secret’ meat menu, saying, ‘It’s kind of a metaphor for Manhattan, where there is always a higher level of luxury, a secret room where the rich eat roast tenderloin. while everyone gets a canoe of eggplants.