Food & Drink | September 29, 2021 4:10 pm

Report: Vegan-Only Restaurant Eleven Madison Park Has a Secret Room Where the Rich Eat Beef in Private

That fact did not help "New York Times" restaurant critic Pete Wells' recent review of the restaurant

A general view photo taken of Eleven Madison Park in 2017
A general view photo taken of Eleven Madison Park in 2017.
KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty

Rumored to possibly remain closed permanently after shuttering during the pandemic, fine-dining establishment Eleven Madison Park did re-open its doors, albeit as a vegan-only restaurant.

The restaurant, which peaked in popularity more than a decade ago, was recently paid a visit by New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells, who has not been shy about ripping into New York eating institutions, including Peter Luger, that are not up to his standards as if they are cuts of tenderloin steak.

In an interesting twist, a piece of tenderloin actually found its way into Wells’ review of Eleven Madison despite the restaurant supposedly only serving plant-based food because it turns out the eatery, which did not receive a star rating due to the pandemic, is still buying meat for customers who are willing to pay extra for it.

“Until the year ends, the menu offered to customers who book a private dining room includes an optional beef dish, roasted tenderloin with fermented peppers and black lime,” according to the review. “It’s some kind of metaphor for Manhattan, where there’s always a higher level of luxury, a secret room where the rich eat roasted tenderloin while everybody else gets an eggplant canoe.”

The presence of animal protein on the premises did not do much to help the assessment Wells gave of Eleven Madison, and he roundly ripped the restaurant’s food for doing “strange things to vegetables” as well as criticized chef and owner Daniel Humm for charging $335 for dinner despite getting rid of expensive menu items like caviar, lobster and foie gras.

Wells didn’t say what a seat in the private dining room to taste the roasted tenderloin goes for, but we’re assuming he wouldn’t think it was worth it. Whether Wells would suggest going to Peter Luger’s, which now sputters instead of sizzles, instead is unclear.