Will longer menus have the legs to make it a mile high?

Mark Manger
Sweetbreads at Tables.
If I had to choose two words to describe menus these days, I'd use these: "short" and "sweet." Not in terms of length, as anyone who's gone to Linger knows. (There are enough dishes on that menu to circumnavigate the globe.) No, I'm referring to "short" as it relates to appetizer and entree descriptions. I'll say more about this in my review of Tables this week, but for the moment, let me just emphasize that for the past few years, the trend has been to pare down, not pump up.

So I was interested to read last week about the experience that New York Times dining critic Pete Wells had at the famed Eleven Madison Park.

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- Linger gives new life to a former mortuary space

That restaurant recently replaced its regular menu with a $195 prix fixe affair that takes upwards of four hours to enjoy (or survive, depending on how much you like the people you're with, what you think of the food, and how tight your pants are getting). To start the experience, diners are given a simple list of ingredients and are allowed to express strong preferences or dislikes. The chef takes it from there, and as the meal's surprises unfold, diners receive details on what they're eating via printed cards, in-depth narration from servers, and even a booklet of historical information to take home.

Given what we know of food trends -- they start on the coasts and work their way inland -- what do you think will happen? Will Eleven Madison Park's experiment find legs with which to cross the Hudson, Mississippi and South Platte rivers?

Or is it -- like the nearly $200 price tag -- just too excessive to make it a mile high?

Location Info


2267 Kearney St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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We ate at Eleven Madison Park last week and they've dropped a lot of the narrative accompanying each dish.

Mantonat topcommenter

Sounds like a pretty fun idea, not too far off what Duy Pham said about his new menu: "The tastings will be custom -- never preset -- and it'll give me the opportunity to be really creative, since the majority of dishes will be off-menu."


The downside is that when I go to a restaurant, I want to experience something new in terms of ingredients, flavors, textures, etc. If I express likes and dislikes, it may rule out options that I would not have otherwise considered.

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