A Michelin-starred restaurant that has been called one of the best in the US has announced sweeping changes to its award-winning formula, one that will pay homage to the city of New York through a bit of dinner theater and gastronomic storytelling.
Eleven Madison Park, which recently gained admission into one of the most exclusive culinary clubs in the world when it was awarded three Michelin stars last year, will be transforming its menu this fall to create what The New York Times called a "four-hour ode to the romance and history of New York."
Currently, dishes on the menu are listed solely by their principal ingredient, such as hamachi, black truffle, lemon and foie gras. Guests are able to help design their meal by sharing any preferences and dislikes.
According to the Times, however, the concept, created by Swiss-born chef Daniel Humm back in 2010, will face the chopping block to make way for a participatory dining experience that will include card tricks, a smoking glass dome, a tabletop clambake and a picnic basket cheese course, to evoke old-fashioned al fresco meals in Central Park.
The meal, estimated to last four hours, will cost $195.
Humm is the latest chef to up the ante in elite dining by creating an itinerary that tries to appeal to all the senses.
No longer is a tasty meal that looks and smells good, enough. Chefs like Grant Achatz, of Alinea in Chicago, Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz in San Sebastian and Albert Adrià, of 41 ° in Barcelona are adding touches of theatrics with either special culinary effects, music or light shows to amplify the dining experiences.
Like sporting events and theater shows, diners are also being asked to secure their seat at the dinner table by buying tickets in advance.
Originally conceived by Achatz at Next restaurant, he recently applied the ticketing system to his flagship restaurant Alinea. Adrià has likewise implemented a ticketing system to his revamped 41° eatery.