A Theatrical Food Night to Remember at Eleven Madison West

Jay Johnson - If you can imagine how a restaurant would be decorated and run in heaven, then you can imagine Manhattan's stellar Elevan Madison Park. The chef and co-owner, Daniel Humm, has paired an imaginative, theatrical 16-course tasting menu that blew us away. The "us" was me and my partner in everything, Design2Share's Irwin Weiner. He took me there for a very special birthday dinner last week. I'm hoping we can make this an annual event, as this was serious celebrating.

One of the courses is pictured above, an astounding carrot tartare with condiments you can add to the fresh Catskill-grown carrots (too orange to be real!), theatrically prepared at your table by putting them through a meat grinder. Fresh rye bread makes this a vegetarian delight, and the condiments were imaginative, from quail's egg (pictured above, just about to be poured onto the ground carrots) to horseradish and a spicy mustard oil. I added everything and took two small wooden spoons to mix it all into a thrilling taste treat. Unbelievable. It would be worthy of a spoiler alert to tell you all the courses, so I won't. There are touches of food gastronomy here and there, with some liquid nitrogen magic, and all dishes and ingredients are inspired by New York itself, with clever culinary riffs on old favorites like egg creams and NYC cheesecake. Visit the Eleven Madison Park website for more information, and watch today's featured video for a look at the beautiful decor and bustling kitchen. (Yes, the tablecloths are really ironed so there's not a single crease - which I'm sure you do at home, right?)