Convivio or EMP for Restaurant Week?
I have reservations for both for lunch. Which one to is a better pick?
See my comments and two other very positive reviews (and photos) in this thread- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/588710
I thought it was fantastic- we've been several times both during RW and not, and I thought the overall experience and all of the dishes were right on par with those we've had during normal (Non-RW) meals at EMP. What I've found here is that a lot of dishes that sound boring (or odd?) end up being really good and interesting. For example, I never order chicken in a restaurant of this calibar but I decided to take a chance and was paid off with one of the best chicken dishes I've had. BTW we went to GT today which was also very good, though not quite as good as EMP, IMO.
I had a fantastic lunch yesterday at Convivio, would definitely recommend it. Apps were a duck sausage over lentils, a "pane cotta" bread soup wit pancetta and buffalo ricotta (I forget what the third option was. I got the sausage and my friend got the soup - both excellent), main course was orichette in a tomato sauce with broccoli rabe & pecorino, a pork dish, and a fish dish (I think branzino? we both ordered pasta.), dessert was mini cannollis with gelato or amaro gelato with cappuccino (we both got the ice cream). It was a delicious meal and I left full but not stuffed. We took our time eating and talking - had a 1:30 res and didn't leave til nearly 4 - the service was lovely and never rushed us.
You also get a $28 gift certification at EMP with your meal, which essentially gives you a free lunch.
I posted my review on EMP RW lunch (see the link posted by di82).
Ultimately I think you won't lose going either way. I personally found pasta being the weaker part of EMP's menu (in general, not just RW), but pasta happens to be the strongest part of Convivio's menu. So I think you should go to the restaurant of which the strength appeals more to you.
I do agree with di82 that the salmon, chicken, etc. may sound boring on EMP's menu, but they are not your ordinary salmon or chicken. I NEVER order salmon and chicken in other restaurants (not even at Gramercy Tavern or JG, both are my favorite restaurants) but have been pleasantly surprised with them at EMP.
Just went to Convivio for dinner this weekend. They had a RW dinner menu, actually. Had some dishes from that but they were on regular menu also.
Anyway, place was disappointing given the non stop praise it is getting. But new places that aren't absolutely awful, usually do get too much credit. People like new. Shiny object syndrome.
For RW, you will not be completely upset for lunch, though.
Had a RW lunch at 11 Mad last year and I was VERY disappointed. Just a poor effort which I find unacceptable from a place that wants to be thought of as 3star quality.
If you don't want to serve food for low prices, then don't. But you should always put your best foot forward. That is how I feel about that. I do not cut them slack because it is RW.
I don't mind them offering dishes with the cheaper meats and ingredients, THAT is fine. BUt your service and preparations should always be at your best.
So, in essence, I am saying, neither but it is RW so everything is more palatable if you are counting. I would say 11 Mad as my choice, in hope they are doing a better job AND if you get that gift certificate mentioned by quizzkid above(I did not but got one at Gram Tav once for an RW), then surely that is the choice.