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Picholine v. Grenouille v. 11 Madison

I am trying to decide which of these three restaurants to try for the first time. I've got a general idea from looking at their menus online and checking out Zagats, but I'd appreciate any personal insight.

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  1. I have not been to La Grenouille in many, many years but recall it being a beautiful space. Picholine vs EMP is a tough one to call. I count both among my favorites, but lately I am more inclined toward Picholine. The game dishes and the cheese selection at Picholine are wonderful. The ambience is warmer than at EMP, and their tasting menus are great. I have not had the tasting at EMP; it is more expensive but has more courses. I don't think you would go wrong with either of these.

    5 Replies
    1. re: rrems

      I agree with rrems. The game dish that I had was pigeon. Was delicate and not overly "gamey". It was better than the pigeon I had at French Laundry and it even came with an authentic pellet. :D

      Also, gotta love Terrance Brennan's panache for cheeses.

      Picholine is warm in a visit to the grandparent's house kind of way. I guess I just prefer the more modern look of EMP.

      1. re: snoballz

        Didn't they renovate Picholine to make it more contemporary?

        1. re: MMRuth

          You are correct, MMRuth. We haven't been there since the reno, but there are photos of it on Picholine's website.

          http://www.picholinenyc.com

          1. re: MMRuth

            I should say, visiting the rich grandparents. :D

            I was there a few months ago. I'm just not into the purple.

            1. re: snoballz

              Yes - I wondered about all that purple too, but haven't been back since the renovation.

      2. I've dined at all three restaurants in the past 4 months and Picholine's tasting menu was by far the best overall dining experience of the three. I still dream about the cheese course (we actually had TWO).

        1 Reply
        1. re: gekko

          I vote for Picholine, too. Then La Grenouille, then EMP.

        2. Have never been to Picholine, but have been dying to try it.

          While I love Grenouille, it is much more formal and stuffy to me than 11 Madison.

          1. Went to Picholine last week. Service was fabulous, cheese course is incredible, the food was so-so. I think its worth a visit for the cheese cart alone. Beware its a very, um, aged crowd.

            1. My last visit to Picholine was just a few weekends ago, and the crowd was a good mix of 30's, 40's and up. At least on a Friday night, it was not particularly "aged" for the cost and elegance.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gekko

                Well for what it's worth, I recently ate at EMP (a weekend visit from Philly) and had the best meal of my life. Service at EMP is perfect, professional and friendly without being stuffy or overbearing. I think the space is gorgeous personally. I haven't eaten at the other places but just wanted to add my 2 cents. IMHO chef Daniel Humm is creating some of the best food anywhere in NYC. And FWIW, we also ate at Bouley and were very much let down after eating at EMP, they aren't in the same league IMHO. Thank you.

              2. I haven't been to EMP but between Picholine and La Grenouille, I'd recommend Picholine.

                Personally, I was a little disappointed by the food at Grenouille. It may have been my expectations were too high but it just didn't live up to what I expected from one of NYC's better restaurants. I've really enjoyed all my meals at Picholine, however, despite my high expectations.