Is Eleven Madison much better value than Per Se and other 4 * NYT restaurants?
I think EMP compares favorably to its NYT 4* peers with its pricier dinner tasting menus ($125), especially with the 11 course Gourmand ($175); it is definitely capable of delivering a 4* meal when it works at the higher price point ($125+). However, I think it falls quite short with its dinner prix fixe ($88) in comparison to the prix fixe at either Le Bernardin or Jean Georges, and falls way short at lunch. The prix fixe lunch seems to be at best a low 3* type of meal. In general, I think EMP offers great value and has lower priced alternatives in comparison to its peers. But I wouldn't count on the lower priced menus to compare well to them.
With due respect to all EMP fans on this board, I have to say I'm EXTREMELY disappointed with the Gourmand lunch that I had last Monday. So needless to say I was EXTREMELY surprised when I read the 4-star review the following day.
Maybe I went there with too high of expectation due to its popularity on this board. Or maybe the food just looked too delicious on its website. But my experience was that everything was extremely salty from the tomato dish to Foie Gras and the sauce of the halibut dish. And there was a strange tangy taste to many side garnishes. The dessert, Chocolate Peanut Butter Palette, was again salty. The skin of the roasted suckling pig, which I substituted for lamb, was the only thing worthy on that particular day.
On my previoius visits to NY, I've dined at Per Se, Jean-Georges, Le Bernardin and many other fine restaurants. In my humble and honest opinion, Eleven Madison Park is no way in the same league with those other 4-star places.
I've been to every 4* in the city besides Per Se and EMP is right there with 'em. Is it better than Le Bernardin or Daniel, or Masa? Is an orange better than a peach? After all, taste is so subjective, but let's TRY to objectify it.
Is it a better value? Perhaps it is. I know for sure that I've spent more money at almost all of those other restaurants and none stand out in my mind as clearly superior. So, as a math teacher, less $$ + same dining experience = better value
I haven't been to the other 4 star restaurants (Daniel, Per Se, Masa), but considering the $88 for the three course (really more like 7 or so after all the freebies) I think Eleven Madison Park is a definite bargain.
I think others on this board who have actually eaten at these other restaurants (RGR??) will agree.