Daniel Humm, chef and owner of the fine dining destination with three Michelin stars announced that his Manhattan restaurant would abandon meat and adopt a plant-based philosophy.
A Fully Plant-Based Menu
When Humm announced the new concept in a statement on the eatery’s website, the restaurant was in preparation to re-open (after having to close for months due to the coronavirus pandemic).
“We’ve made the decision to serve a plant-based menu in which we do not use any animal products — every dish is made from vegetables, both from the earth and the sea, as well as fruits, legumes, fungi, grains and so much more,” Humm’s statement said.
Fast forward to June 2011. Eleven Madison Park is back open and reviews of their §355 vegan menu pop up on sites like Bloomberg, with mouth-watering photos and very colorful descriptions of the food served.
The Reviews are in
“The beets are carved up, wrapped in mustard leaf kimchi, and served with red wine jus. The beets, which have been dehydrated, then rehydrated, smoked, cured, and otherwise alchemized over the course of three days, have a remarkably chewy, almost meaty texture,” writes author Kate Krader for Bloomberg.
“Beets, alchemized over the course of three days, with a chewy, almost meaty texture.”
“If there is one dish that represents the precision, nuance and, especially the labor-intensiveness of the new menu,” Krader continues, “it’s the unassuming cucumber course (…) that looks like any old fish tartare.”
“But it consists of minutely chopped, compressed cucumbers layered in a gradient with equally tiny bites of sweet, crisp melon over a base of avocado cream — all punctuated with threads of silky, smoky daikon. Powdered cucumber skin is sprinkled on top. It takes two cooks all day, every day to chop and prep, due to the short shelf life of the fresh cucumber.”
(Editor’s Note: The mentioned cucumber course is shown in our header image for this piece.)
A Waiting List as long as 3000 Cucumbers
Sounds very exciting and mouthwatering to us — but if you, too, are now dying to try it, slow your horses. The waiting list for Eleven Madison Park was already at 15,000 people before the Bloomberg piece dropped, so we’re all in for quite a wait — but hey, with travel restrictions still in place, as we’d have to be coming in by sailboat from the old country, we might be right on time…
“It became clear to me that our idea of what luxury is had to change.”
It’s crucial to understand that such a decisive change is a definite risk for a restaurant which, in the case of Eleven Madison Park, has built its fame on dishes like their renowned lavender honey glazed duck and butter poached lobster.
Which is likely why Eleven Madison, however bold and far-reaching this new direction is, isn’t a 100% vegan restaurant (yet). For coffee and tea service, honey and cow’s milk are still offered to guests. Additionally, Humm still serves plenty of meat (and right-down atrocities like foie gras) at his London restaurant Davies and Brook.
But chances are that the menu for Humm’s London restaurant might be subject to future change, too. After all, Mr. Humm’s statement says that “it became very clear to me that our idea of what luxury is had to change,” and that we cannot “go back to doing what we did before.”
We’re definitely here for that change and will patiently wait our turn — see length of above-mentioned waiting list.