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Top 3 Tasting Menus or A La Carte


ulterior epicure
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What makes EMP so good is that it's relatively moderately priced but truly competes among the very best in the city.  You also get more courses than most other restaurants, making it an even better value.

This I don't understand. The seasonal tasting at EMP is precisely eight dollars less than the winter menu or chef's tasting at Jean-Georges. The wine lists are comparably priced (and, in fact, when I was at JG last night, I noted identical bottles for identical prices).

[EDIT: On crack re: a la carte portions. Please disregard.]

Edited by Mayur (log)
Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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Where EMP shines for value, IMX, is a la carte, simply because the portions are so enormous!

This is odd. I've never ordered a la carte there, so I have no opinion on this. But there's been substantial complaint in the EMP thread here that the a la carte courses are too small to constitute a satisfying three-course meal.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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Three, I'd say yes. But I'd have a hard time going with less than four (the price difference is $12), and for four courses, the portions are (at least the times I've been), substantial, especially considering that Chef Humm's cuisine is on the robust side.

That said, I should probably revise my statement. (In other words, I don't know what I was saying earlier!) The gourmand tasting ranges from nine (including dessert) to eleven courses, and at the high end (as with the menu on menupages right now), I can believe that it is really an overwhelming amount of food. When I was there last week, there were nine courses in total, and it was plenty of food, but by no means overwhelming.

Also, as I noted myself earlier on this thread, the mains on the tasting menu are the same size as the a la carte portions, so what was I thinking anyway?

[EDIT: I'm also willing to believe that my experience at EMP differs radically from those of the posters on this thread. I've only been once for lunch and once for dinner, and it's possible the kitchen just wasn't performing to the standard suggested by the menu and other posters.]

Edited by Mayur (log)
Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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What makes EMP so good is that it's relatively moderately priced but truly competes among the very best in the city.

I think I've had this debate with Bryan before, but one mustn't casually toss out phrases like "moderately priced" — even with the relatively modifier — for one of the most expensive restaurants in the city.

Just a few random points of comparison:

At EMP, the price is $76 for 3 courses, $88 for 4 courses, or $120 for the tasting menu.

At Gramercy Tavern, the price is $76 for 3 courses or $98 for the tasting menu.

At The Modern, the price is $85 for 3 courses, and either $125 or $155 for the tasting menu (two are offered).

At Country, the price is $105 for 4 courses or $135 for the tasting menu.

Del Posto is hard to compare, as the menu is a la carte, but the tasting menu there is $120.

At Cru, the three-course prix fixe is $74, and the tasting menu is $110.

In short: for restaurants in EMP's class, the price, which is very expensive, is about typical. The differences are inconsequential, as any diner who can afford one of these can probably afford any of them.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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If I had to speculate...I think bryanz is probably referring to the tasting menus that EMP had a couple months ago (which were in the $80 range...dual...one meat focussed, one aquatic). unfortunately, they are no longer offered.

but yeah, they're all in the same general price range now (except for maybe Ramsay)....the real outliers are Per Se, Masa and Robuchon (except for ala carte).

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I'm not sure which tasting BryanZ is referring to, but it if it is the last one he posted about in December of 2006 (see here), then it's the full $120 tasting menu. And, to be quite honest, I was a little thrown off by BryanZ's comment after seeing the price. While $120 (even for 9 to 11 courses) isn't expensive compared to Masa, per se or ADNYRIP (shall we just append those three letters onto the foreshortening?) it certainly is no poor man's dinner.

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

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The tasting menus at EMP are longer than those I've had at other restaurants in its class. I was, indeed, referring to the $120ish gourmand menu, but still think it's a great value. In addition to the restaurants mentioned, all of which I've visited save for the Modern Dining Room, restaurants like Urena and what many would consider the "third-tier" of NYC dining still have tasting menus over $100. I consider EMP to be better than the restaurants in its class for food.

Where EMP shines is because its food is as good as the very best, Per Se, JG, LeB, Daniel, but its tasting menus are somewhat cheaper. JG is a good value, too, but comparably creative tasting menus of not even as many courses at LeB and Daniel are much more expensive.

ETA: This is where the value of the service experience comes into play. EMP does not have the refined level of service as the best restaurants in the city. If you're into food primarily, however, I think you should go. The service experience--especially if you're under 21--can suffer from time to time. Pacing of the meals can also be somewhat off, too.

Edited by BryanZ (log)
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I have been away from nyc for about 4 months but here is my list.

Robuchon

EMP

Tocqueville

Robuchon is there for the obvious reasons

EMP is affordable and I really enjoy Humms coursing

I had a great meal at tocqueville about 6 months back, I think its really underrated and is a great contemporary french restaurant.

Wd-50 is right outside he list.

Have not been to the modern yet(ya I know I have to go next time in town.)

Want to visit the new Gramercy Tavern since I use to work for Michael Anthony.

What about Cafe Gray, whats the story there.

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What about Cafe Gray, whats the story there.

Not a story I currently care to "eat." (No ill will meant - simply saying it's not for this trip). But, since jjb1980 asked, what is the story there? I haven't heard much movement one way or other.

As between EMP and The Modern? Suggestions... thoughts? My list is getting slowly, but surely smaller.

u.e.

[edited: For grammar and to add an explanation]

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Well...according to Bruni.....

Yeah, that doesn't hold much water.

The Modern is probably a more unique experience if you take dining in front of, like, art into account. It's more chic, too. EMP feels more updated-old New York, but like others I admit that the room isn't suited to the food any longer. My mother has been to both in the past couple months and prefer the food at EMP.

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Having been to per se, Daniel, LB, J-G, and WD~50, I think I have some feel for what Michelin is doing in New York. Having said this, far be it from me to base any kind of decision on les macarons. But, I couldn't help but notice that while Babbo has no stars, Del Posto has two. Having been to neither, can someone articulate why this might be?

FWIW, for whatever reason, from just my impressions of EMP (also never having been), I "get" why they did not receive any stars.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Having been to per se, Daniel, LB, J-G, and WD~50, I think I have some feel for what Michelin is doing in New York.  Having said this, far be it from me to base any kind of decision on les macarons.  But, I couldn't help but notice that while Babbo has no stars, Del Posto has two.  Having been to neither, can someone articulate why this might be?

FWIW, for whatever reason, from just my impressions of EMP (also never having been), I "get" why they did not receive any stars.

I think they received no stars because Humm arrived too late in the year to make a difference. I bet they will get recognized in the next Guide.

As for Del Posto--having eaten there twice, I find it inexplicable. Maybe someone else has a feel for it. I've heard people say they had wonderful meals there but my two meals were mediocre with amateur service. I can say this--had they been in Europe, they would have no stars. They are nowhere near ** or *** food/service for places in Italy.

Edited by DutchMuse (log)
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I couldn't help but notice that while Babbo has no stars, Del Posto has two.  Having been to neither, can someone articulate why this might be?
Babbo has one Michelin star, not zero. Del Posto's two-star status was a definite surprise to me. I continue to see reports of inconsistency there, so I just can't explain it.
FWIW, for whatever reason, from just my impressions of EMP (also never having been), I "get" why they did not receive any stars.

Chef Humm arrived too late in the year to be fully rated, so its current status is based on the previous chef.

Obviously any rating system can't be perfect. I find it a little hard to explain that La Goulue, Etats-Unis, and The Spotted Pig have one star, but Chanterelle has zero.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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What about Cafe Gray, whats the story there?

Cafe Gray serves three-star food in one of the most unpleasant spaces in town. Poor Gray Kunz. He is a genius in the kitchen, but he's saddled with one of the most bone-headed interior designs in history, and there is nothing he can do about it.
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I couldn't help but notice that while Babbo has no stars, Del Posto has two.  Having been to neither, can someone articulate why this might be?
Babbo has one Michelin star, not zero. Del Posto's two-star status was a definite surprise to me. I continue to see reports of inconsistency there, so I just can't explain it.

My bad, so it (Babbo) does... I was too lazy last night to check with my "Geed" (2006) and relied on the internet; a couple of sites didn't include Babbo... go figure. Speaking of, I need to order the new guide - which released a few weeks ago, I believe.

The one thing I've heard over and over about DP is that it is so Las Vegas. FWIW, from what I've seen of it on the tele and from what I've read and heard, here on eG and elsewhere, it just seems to showy and flashy for 2 stars.

So, to recap all the great contributions to the thread:

@ L'Atelier Joel Robuchon: Sit at the counter and order a la carte. Langoustines are a must.

@ EMP: Try to get an "alcove" seat and, of course, take Humm's amazing-looking tasting for a run. Also, expect for an "older NYC" feel and possibly uneven service (from what I gathered from the EMP thread). Everyone has said it's absolutely cavernous - noise factor??

@ Bouley: Definitely do the Chef's Tasting, and if Bouley's in, try to get him to cook for me. (And, I suppose monkeys will fly out of.... :laugh:). I know there are two rooms - one red, and the other, not read... any suggestions?

@ Babbo: Preferred over DP. Get the Pasta Tasting, or focus on the pastas. Expect uneven service on the weekends (I may have gleaned that from the Babbo thread). Loud music-loving is a must, as, potentially, is the calamari. Seating suggestions?

@ The Modern: Definitely get the chef's tasting as a opposed to seasonal... or was that the other way around? Failing the dining room, visit the bar and order the... (fill in the blank, please)...? Don't sit in the lounge area next to the bar unless I'm dying to see a chiropractor. From what I've heard and seen, it gets loud and very dark in the dining room - same with the bar??

Any other nominations? Suggestions?

Thanks everyone! Hope this also helps others who are ISO of fine dining.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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What about Cafe Gray, whats the story there.

Not a story I currently care to "eat." (No ill will meant - simply saying it's not for this trip). But, since jjb1980 asked, what is the story there? I haven't heard much movement one way or other.

I ate at the bar there last night.

The food is still great. The room still sucks. (Not the bar room -- that's kind of pleasant -- but the dining room.)

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Having been to per se, Daniel, LB, J-G, and WD~50, I think I have some feel for what Michelin is doing in New York.  Having said this, far be it from me to base any kind of decision on les macarons.  But, I couldn't help but notice that while Babbo has no stars, Del Posto has two.  Having been to neither, can someone articulate why this might be?

Either because Del Posto is fancier and more comfortable (in a bourgeious sort of way), or because the service at Del Posto is more elaborate, or because they're idiots.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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@ EMP: Try to get an "alcove" seat and, of course, take Humm's amazing-looking tasting for a run.  Also, expect for an "older NYC" feel and possibly uneven service (from what I gathered from the EMP thread).  Everyone has said it's absolutely cavernous - noise factor??

I for one don't think getting an alcove seat makes much difference (those seats still loom over the room, so to me at least they don't seem any less cavernous).

The noise factor is inconsequential: this is NOT a noisy restaurant. When people complain that the room is "cavernous," what they're complaining about is that it seems too big and impersonal (like the bank it once was). It isn't loud or anything. It's very sedate.

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Failing the dining room, visit the bar and order the... (fill in the blank, please)...?

Whatever seems good to you.

Not meaning to be argumentative, but isn't the point of going to a really good restaurant that you can order what seems appealing with confidence? (The reason many of us have problems saying Babbo is truly top-rate is that you really CAN'T do that there. But that's why I don't make it a practice of recommending it -- certainly not as a "Top 3".)

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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Whatever seems good to you... Not meaning to be argumentative, but isn't the point of going to a really good restaurant that you can order what seems appealing with confidence?  (The reason many of us have problems saying Babbo is truly top-rate is that you really CAN'T do that there.  But that's why I don't make it a practice of recommending it -- certainly not as a "Top 3".)

Certainly, this should be very true.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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The one thing I've heard over and over about DP is that it is so Las Vegas.  FWIW, from what I've seen of it on the tele and from what I've read and heard, here on eG and elsewhere, it just seems too showy and flashy for 2 stars.

I don't think that is one of the criteria for two stars, or that it should be. I mean, some people don't especially like the room, but some people don't like the room at Le Bernardin.

My concern with DP is that I hear too many reports of uneven food and/or service, which at a Michelin two-star should not happen.

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@ EMP: Try to get an "alcove" seat and, of course, take Humm's amazing-looking tasting for a run.  Also, expect for an "older NYC" feel and possibly uneven service (from what I gathered from the EMP thread).  Everyone has said it's absolutely cavernous - noise factor??

I for one don't think getting an alcove seat makes much difference (those seats still loom over the room, so to me at least they don't seem any less cavernous).

I think you may be thinking of a different space in EMP -- you're talking about the area over the bar? Whereas I'm talking about the nook next to the bar (i.e. the far corner from the entrance).

Christopher

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