11 Madison Park, Nougatine, or Gramercy Tavern???
One night. My only fancy dinner in the city. Those are my 3 options, no other choices - what's the consensus hounds?
Regulars on this board know that EMP is our #1 favorite NYC restaurant, so for me, it's no contest. It has the whole package. The cuisine is exquisite, the wine program is excellent, service is cordial and polished, and the room is gorgeous!
Now, aside from that, as kathryn indicates, Nougatine is not the place for a "fancy" dinner. (That's the bailiwick of the flagship, Jean Georges.) And I cannot recommend Gramercy Tavern because the meal we had in the dining room a few months ago was sorely disappointing. My first and main courses were ill-conceived and unappealing. My husband pronounced the dishes he chose "decent but unexciting." No complaints about dessert, but that hardly redeems the rest of the meal.
EMP without any hesitation. My sister and I (last week) had a wonderful dinner. We had the 11 course Gourmand menu (it took 4 hours -- very well spaced pauses between courses). But even if you don't have 4 hours for dinner, the regular menus are wonderful too! Very attentive service; great wine list.
Just had a FABULOUS meal at EMP last Tuesday for my husband’s birthday. I think both of our expectations were exceeded, we loved it. We chose the 3 course pre-fixe menu but literally, it ended up being 9 courses because of all the amuse bouches, intermezzes and petit fours. The food was sublime, the service was very attentive and professional but not overbearing, and the room is very grand indeed. We requested a romantic table in the back which was perfect for a more “intimate” birthday celebration. We had a wonderful time and were there for almost 4 hours! Also, don’t be afraid to take advantage of the byob for the $35 corkage fee if you have a special bottle lying around. It was worth it. Enjoy every moment, you made the right choice!
PS My husband got the duck and I got the beef which were both outrageous.
I'll be the dissenting opinion and say that i much prefer Nougatine to EMP, from a food perspective. I guess Nougatine isn't as "fancy" as EMP, but at least in my experiences there, it's not a slouch either and the space it self is beautiful.
t's not that EMP was bad, but I loved the dishes I had at Nougatine, whereas at EMP, I walked away saying good, but not great. Like the much discussed duck, which almost everyone else seems to love, was really good, but nothing I'd rave about to others.
again, just an opinion, which i know many will disagree with...