The word is out: Eleven Madison Park, Daniel Humm’s internationally acclaimed restaurant that made headlines earlier this year when it switched to an all-plant menu, actually serves meat. As a recent review in the New York Times explained, “Until the year ends, the menu offered to customers who book a private dining room includes an optional beef dish, roasted tenderloin with fermented peppers and black lime. It’s some kind of metaphor for Manhattan, where there’s always a higher level of luxury, a secret room where the rich eat roasted tenderloin while everybody else gets an eggplant canoe.” Given that description, some people have taken to calling it a “secret beef room” and, naturally, when you see that combination of words you probably think: How do I eat there? Here’s what you need to know.
My buddy told me there’s a hidden steakhouse in Eleven Madison Park. Can you help me get a reservation?
That’s not what it is.
I hear “secret beef room,” I think “hidden steakhouse.” Do they have a secret phone number? I love places like this. C’mon, man. You must know someone who can help!
The restaurant, like most other restaurants, has space set aside for private dinners, usually used for corporate events, marketing dinners, special family gatherings, or maybe team-building among executives at an especially lucrative company. Historically, Eleven Madison Park has reserved two upstairs spaces for this purpose, with a separate kitchen to handle these meals.
So I have to ask my boss to take me to the EMP beef emporium?
Not really. If you want to set up a private event at the restaurant, you can fill out this form.
And then I get the steak?
Is it expensive?
Any dinner like this will be astronomically expensive.
What kind of steak is it? Do they only have one cut?
It’s not like that! Private dinners are usually more like glorified catering events than actual “dinners.” “Page Six” claims to have obtained a recent sample menu that lists multiple options for meat-based eating, many of which are passed hors d’oeuvres. However, a rep for the restaurant says the “Page Six” menu is outdated, but a current menu of private-dining options nevertheless includes some animal dishes that guests can request: scallops with yuzu, butter-poached lobster, chicken served with cherries and radishes, and, yes, beef tenderloin.
“Secret scallop room” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
It’s true that “secret beef room” is a particularly seductive phrase, if that’s your thing.
But what’s with all the meat, anyway? I thought they were vegan now?
About that. Cynics have suspected that the restaurant’s move to an entirely “plant-based” menu could be a cost-cutting measure, dressed up in a narrative of environmental enlightenment. Humm has said publicly that he is committed to this, and, to be clear, things would be unequivocally better for the environment if meat-eaters did make an effort to cut it out of their diets. But the fact is that Humm’s restaurant still does — or at least did, until this story blew up — serve some meat to some clients.
Be honest: Is it the best steak anyone’s ever eaten?
Grub Street does not know because Grub Street has not had the beef in question. One of Humm’s more famous dishes is a medallion of beef tenderloin served under a “bone-marrow crust,” but it never quite received the acclaim of Humm’s more famous meat-based dishes, like a lavender-glazed duck, or a chicken that was stuffed with brioche and truffles.
Can I eat those?
In New York, probably not. He does serve versions of both dishes at his restaurant in London, though.
Can you help me get a reservation there?
You’re on your own with that one.
This post has been updated with new information regarding the dishes served in the restaurant’s private-dining rooms.