Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park has a waitlist in the tens of thousands and 3 Michelin stars, which it managed to keep even when it transitioned from omnivore to vegan.

In 2021, its chef Daniel Humm shocked foodies around the world when he announced his world-renowned restaurant was going plant-based. In his instagram post, Humm wrote he was motivated by our unsustainable food system to “redefine luxury as an experience that serves a higher purpose and maintains a real connection to the community.” To care for its community, EMP launched a charity food truck in April 2021 which serves 2,000 meals a week in food deserts throughout the Bronx and Brooklyn.

My singular visit in October 2022 was a big occasion. The only reservation my date could secure was at 5:30, which worked well because the 11 courses take time to eat.

In a expansive art deco space in the Metropolitan Life North Building, the restaurant was filled with nearly as many staff as there are diners and a handful of celebrities. Our servers were abundant and telepathically attentive, anticipating every need before we did.

The peak dish involved breaking a ceramic sculpture to get at the cabbage and falafel baked inside it, which was as fun to watch as it was delicious. But the highlight of the night was a tour of the kitchen, which was state of the art and reminded me of both an art studio and a laboratory.

I am gluten-free but didn’t miss a thing as they had gluten free variations of the tarte, bread, and chocolate-dipped pretzel which came with dessert.

Though three of the courses were underwhelming, experiencing this level of fine dining as a vegan was transcendent.

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