Lunch Special

{foie gras with asparagus gelee and carrot marshmallows dusted in ginger powder} 

Ever since we went to Jean Georges on a whim to sample their famous lunch deal, we’ve been plotting and scheming in order to try some of the other top menus in the city at midday–when they’re a huge bargain. Tops on our list of must-try spots (influenced heavily by this column over on Serious Eats) were Del Posto and Eleven Madison Park. It would be hard to beat Jean Georges.

 {sweet pea cake with strawberries and strawberry gelato for our anniversary, at Del Posto}

For just four months, through the end of June, Aron has post-call days off, meaning he works 27 hours and then gets the following day for rest (i.e., opportunity for eating extravagant meals). He made reservations for us to try Del Posto on our anniversary, and my dad made the Eleven Madison reservations for us while we were in India (you can only reserve one month in advance; thanks dad!). We met at Eleven Madison Park last week.

{Aron  had a variation on the Pimm’s Cup, made with Averna, vermouth, cucumber, mint, and orange, that I want to recreate}

If you want to try these places, but don’t want to pay the crazy prices for their dinner, lunch is a wonderful (and in someways maybe even more luxurious) way to go! We found each to be fantastic–though Batali’s Del Posto was definitely our least favorite of the three, despite (or perhaps slighly owing to) fancy-schmancy touches like footstools for purses, live piano, and gold-dusted anancini. Overall, great service and little surprises–like amuses of carrot marshmallows and foie gras or parting favors of truffles–seem to be constants, but at Eleven Madison, we were so impressed by how friendly everyone was: our waitress chose really affordable wine pairings without ever batting an eye at our request to keep costs low, spent time discussing the food when it was apparent we were interested, and then surprised us with a plate of mini macarons when we declined to order a dessert! Delicious!

{Pistachio and lemon was my favorite, but the pink peppercorn with caramel and the peanut butter and jelly were interesting!}

(Jean Georges, Eleven Madison Park, and Del Posto as described on Serious Eats)

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