When it was announced last fall that restaurateur Danny Meyer was selling his palatial Eleven Madison Park to wunderkind F.O.H./B.O.H. duo Will Guidara and chef Daniel Humm, many assumed the kitchen would just endeavor onward with its lauded, badass elegance while the team’s other major project, the NoMad, got up to full speed. But don’t be silly: Come Labor Day, the Times reports, you can forget everything you thought you knew about Eleven Madison Park.
The “grid” menu will remain in place, while one lower-cost tasting menu choice will vanish, leaving the $195 version. Most importantly, though, a New York theme will prevail at Eleven Madison Park: In addition to the farmstand cheese, and regional produce, fish, and meat already in play inside the dining room, the restaurant’s decor will get an amphetamine boost with a “made in New York” makeover. This means the bread baskets will be made by your neighbor, for example, and the leather used to make the drink coasters was set and stitched by a local tanner.
The restaurant, which New York’s Adam Platt is already quite fond of, has apparently been thinking about the long term — and it’s place in history — for some time. As Guidara tells the Times, “How many times in your life do you have an opportunity to leave your own legacy?” One of the ways of doing that, Humm told Gastronomica this summer, is by exploring history and making it new. “We’re working on our own version of Applejack,” he said, “which we want to serve in hand-blown bottles made by a glassblower in Brooklyn.”
Going forward, the restaurant will serve its own beer, an ale brewed by the Ithaca Beer Company, poured from a bottle designed by Milton Glaser (who also lent his touch to that cork presenter). There’ll be a cheesecake served under glass, and a riff on black-and-white cookies.
You’ll recall that the restaurant devised an haute egg cream last summer, pushing its New York-y quotient over the edge with an olive-oil garnish poured tableside by a waiter wielding “a silver oil can from Tiffany & Company.” The spirit of the old, gritty Times Square hustling everyone pretends to be familiar with will also make an appearance in a forthcoming dessert course that draws on three-card monte. No announcement about the revamped bathrooms has been made just yet, but we’re guessing that any thorough hand-washing will trigger the chorus of “Empire State of Mind.”