Putting the fun into fine dining, New York-style
If the recipe for an outstanding restaurant is creating the perfect balance between great food and impeccable service, then Eleven Madison Park co-owners Daniel Humm and Will Guidara have hit the jackpot. The pair believe in running the restaurant from both sides of the wall – the kitchen and the dining room – and the combination of chef Humm’s talent with Guidara’s front-of-house charisma makes for an unforgettable experience.
Despite dazzlingly white tablecloths and a grand, high-ceiling dining room, there is not a hint of stuffiness here. Dishes are playful and often interactive – the ‘Name That Milk’ dessert comes as an ornate wooden box containing four bars of specially commissioned Mast Brothers chocolate, some pencils and a card with four animal drawings. Diners must taste each bar to determine which belongs to which animal: cow’s milk, sheep’s, goat’s or buffalo’s. Humm’s tasting menu focuses on New York’s rich agricultural bounty, but dishes are frequently adapted and tailored specifically for guests, who are each painstakingly researched by Guidara’s team to create the perfect bespoke experience.
The duo met a decade ago, brought together by legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer, from whom they bought Eleven Madison Park in 2011. The deep friendship is clear in the atmosphere at the restaurant – it’s Humm and Guidara’s party and everyone is invited.