The Restaurateur

The NY incarnation of Eater got a preview of Roger Sherman's documentary about Danny Meyer titled The Restaurateur.

Sherman was fortunate that his documentary spanned one of the more interesting resurrections of Meyer's career, the turnaround of Eleven Madison Park from a two star to a four star restaurant. At the core of that was the difficult decision to replace chef Kerry Heffernan with Daniel Humm.

Heffernan was the chef there when I lived in NYC, and I ate at Eleven Madison Park twice. It had the usual polished service of a Danny Meyer restaurant, but the food didn't have the wow factor that foodies demand.

The last time I was in NYC, I was surprised to hear a friend who was a very particular diner suggest Eleven Madison park for a dinner. I didn't realize the chef had changed and that Bruni had given the new incarnation four stars.

NY Eater quotes Meyer:

The New York Times gets a new restaurant critic Frank Bruni, and he gives it yet another two star review and it was crushing. It started to dawn on me that something was really going to have to change. I love Kerry. Every time he did a big party people said it was the best party they had ever gone to. So I asked if he would become the opening chef for Hudson Yards, our catering company. That gave me the chance to say it's not a brasserie. It is a gorgeous, stately, grand restaurant. And what we really need to do is to go out and find somebody who's cooking is the right piece of art for this frame.

Transformation is difficult, especially for successful incumbents. Next time I'm in NYC, I will have to pay another visit to Eleven Madison Park, which cracked the S. Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants list for the first time this year, sneaking into the last slot.