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EMP's $28 Prix Fixe Lunch?

Any opinions on the $28 prix fixe lunch at EMP? I'm going to Ko the night before (first time) to celebrate my birthday, but my reservation is a day early. I don't need to have a big blowout twice, but it sounds like a nice excuse to try EMP without breaking the bank.

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  1. EMP's 2 for $28 lunch is 4-star cuisine at a bargain price. As an EMP regular, I highly recommend it. In fact, my daughter and I just did it last week. :)

    http://www.elevenmadisonpark.com/lunc...

    Happy Birthday and Bon Appetit!

    6 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Thanks so much, your advice is well taken. Unfortunately I was a little slow on the uptake and there are no reservations left for lunch on my bday, but maybe there will be space at the bar. (Unless eating at the bar misses the point of EMP's famously gorgeous room...)

      1. re: hungrycomposer

        Definitely not like it used to be. Before the 4 stars, you could call at the last minute or just walk in and easily get a table for lunch in the dining room. Did you put your name on the wait list? Cancelations do happen. True, sitting at the bar, you are not facing the dining room. But the 2 fo $28 menu is offered there, the seats are very comfortable, and the bartenders are terrific! There is also a banquette with tables, so if you can get one of those, you can sit with a view of the dining room.

        1. re: hungrycomposer

          I went in July and it was just amazing. The service was unbelievably friendly - we kept joking about our waiter who was always smiling - it just didn't seem possible! One of my favorite NYC experiences to date (that includes Per Se Salon). EMP even had some discounted wines at lunch - we ordered a half bottle of champagne for a very reasonable price (although I can't remember the details on that). Highly recommended. I plan on returning in November!

          1. re: pizzajunkie

            Did the Champagne come form "Page 28" in the wine list? Bottles, half-bottles and glasses @$28

            And, yes, the staff has always smiled a lot. Now, they are positively beaming! lol

            1. re: RGR

              RGR - oh, probably! LOL that makes sense - I just remember thinking what a great deal it was! Really liked EMP a lot.

              1. re: pizzajunkie

                John Ragan, EMP's superb Wine Director, put together the "Page 28" list to coincide with the introduction of the 2 for $28 menu concept at the end of last year. We were thrilled to be able to order a glass of Chateau d'Yquem for $28 when we had foie gras! Talk about great deals! :)

      2. Any favorite dishes from the lunch menu? Thanks...

        21 Replies
        1. re: hungrycomposer

          The only two apps I have not had are the octopus (I don't eat it) and the spaghetti. The other five are all wonderful, but if I had to pick just one, it would be the Organic Egg with Farro, Sweet Corn and Chanterelles.

          From the main course, I've only had three. My first choice would be the spectacular Nova Scotia Lobster with Lemon Verbena and Flavors of Ratatouille. It does carry a $15 supplement but worth every. single. dollar! The Lamb Sausage with Arugula, Tomato Confit and Potato Mousseline is seriously delicious. And the Atlantic Salmon Mi-Cuit with Horseradish, Cucumber and Dill is lovely.

          I've had all the tarts on the cart. My favorites are the lemon meringue and the chocolate caramel.

          1. re: RGR

            Thanks!
            You get a dessert for the $28 prix fixe?

            1. re: hungrycomposer

              no, dessert is not included. I had the chocolate caramel and am still thinking about it. It was quite a generous portion for the price, if I recall.

              1. re: hungrycomposer

                No, the dessert cart is not included. You can see the dessert menu here:
                http://www.elevenmadisonpark.com/dess...

                Note: Jean Georges's 2 for $29 does not include dessert either.

                1. re: RGR

                  Our lunch was delicious. The room was gorgeous, and had a nice view to the wild storm outside. I had the Slow Poached Organic Egg with Farro, Sweet Corn and Chanterelles at your suggestion, which was a lovely way to start off the day (late risers...). My BF had the Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil, which was salty and delicious, the spaghetti had a nice firm texture, and as a guitarist he had to order it (chitarra = guitar). I had the Roasted Berkshire Pork Loin with Crabapples and Chanterelles which also came with a wonderful pork confit, not unlike scrapple, and some nice fingerling potatoes, pearl onions, a cherry, and a hefty portion of tender pork loin. BF had Atlantic Salmon Mi-Cuit with Horseradish, Cucumber and Dill, which was in a nice foam that tasted like the sea (better than it sounds) with bits of vegetables hiding in the bottom.
                  We skipped coffee and dessert, which would have cost as much as another prix fixe. Sometimes a bargain like a prix fixe can make the rest of the menu give you sticker shock - $12 for a modest piece of pie. But servings were generous and we couldn't eat another bite anyhow,

                  1. re: hungrycomposer

                    Thanks for reporting back, hungrycomposer. Nice to hear that you and the BF enjoyed your lunch. That organic egg dish really is amazing! I had the salmon last week and would describe the presentation as salmon floating in an ocean of foam. Of course, the foam disintegrated into that lovely sauce. I particular liked the horseradish crust, and the tiny cubes of cucumber added a very flavorful crunch.

                    1. re: RGR

                      Excellent description.
                      We sat next to a couple who complained (almost literally) about everything. The waitstaff was unbelievably diplomatic and good natured. It was a real test of their patience, but not ours - it was kind of fun to see how they dealt with it. But it did surprise me that they didn't offer me some kind of little goodie for my bday. (No, I don't celebrate them 365 days a year) So at $12 a pop for desserts, we headed back downtown.

                      1. re: hungrycomposer

                        Funny thing is in the countless times we've been to EMP, I have never heard any complaints at the adjacent table. So, you really have my curiosity up. I know you said "everything," but I'd love to hear a few specifics.

                        EMP's staff would be the first to admit that, to paraphrase a famous saying, "You can't please every diner all the time." And I have no doubt that they go out of their way to try and assuage complainers as best they can.

                        Here's an example of exactly how far the staff will go to satisfy an unhappy customer. Sometime back, a guy posted on this board about what he considered a very unsatisfying experience. This person was from Chicago and, at the end of the post, he admitted that EMP's general manager offered to have the diner and his wife select *any* restaurant in Chicago, and EMP would foot the *entire* bill! Generous, no? Yet, this guy still came on here to complain. Sheesh! You would think that the guy would just accept the offer and keep his mouth shut!

                        When it comes to celebrations, the only thing I'm fairly sure of is, at dinner service, when they present the menu, "Happy Birthday/Anniversary" is specially printed at the top, and they give the celebrant(s) a copy to take home.

                        Again, Happy Birthday!

                        1. re: RGR

                          Thanks!

                          In print, this looks a little overblown, but here' s what I remember hearing our neighbor complain about: first they poured her a taste the red wine that she had ordered by the glass, and it was too strong for her (fair enough, that's why they poured it). She tried another red and was satisfied. Her husband's spaghetti a la chitarra was too salty (it was a little salty, but I thought it was delicious). The vegetables in the salmon seemed misrepresented to her, I assume because they were small. They asked for more of the cucumber and radish amuses. They didn't like the coffee. At least those are the complaints that I heard. Maybe they were used to a more traditional American "fine dining" experience. Then, at a different table, a man starting drumming loudly on the tabletop and the Italian family sitting nearby shot him some dirty looks. I can't remember if they voiced a complaint or just shot him the evil eye.

                          And for full disclosure, I mentioned that my vegetables with the pork loin were a little cold. They offered to whisk away my dish but I've never had good luck with reheated food, and the pork was hot, so they graciously brought me another dish of vegetables without my asking. I grew up in a restaurant and my mom impressed on me to always mention any problems in case the chef is not aware of them. Besides that, everything was fine. They certainly didn't owe me a bday goodie, come to think of it when I've been comped it's normally in places that I frequent.

                          1. re: hungrycomposer

                            We are coming up for a weeklong visit Christmas week. We would love to try EMP, but will have our 5 year old with us. Would she be completely unwelcome at lunch time? She's VERY well behaved in restaurants and LOVES to eat.

                            Thanks!

                            1. re: KateMW

                              I don't think it would be appropriate even if she was well-behaved. Although you'll occasionally see children at restaurants of EMP's level, very young children look out of place and may detract from the dining experience of other patrons.

                              1. re: hcbk0702

                                Even at lunch the week of Christmas? Interesting. We've taken her many many places and it's never been a problem. There are really only a handful of places in the world that I wouldn't take her. But, then again...I could just be one of THOSE people. :)
                                Thanks!

                                1. re: KateMW

                                  She sounds like less trouble than the woman who was sitting next to me! Not that that's saying much...

                                  1. re: KateMW

                                    Hey, KateMW,

                                    As a regular at EMP, I must disagree with hcbko702's opinion. If your daughter is very well-behaved, she would certainly be welcome there for lunch, and she -- as well as her parents -- will receive very gracious treatment from the staff. I don't think children, even those as young as your daughter, "look out of place" in this level of restaurant, and as long as she is not disruptive, I fail to see how her presence would detract from the dining experience of other patrons.

                                    Go and enjoy! :)

                                    1. re: RGR

                                      The question isn't whether EMP's staff would be accommodating (I'm sure they would be very friendly), but whether it makes sense to bring a five year old to an expensive fine dining restaurant. There's no hard and fast rule against it, but it doesn't seem age-appropriate. How many five year olds do you see at the French Laundry, Alinea, l'Arpège etc? Just because you can doesn't mean you necessarily should. For example, I have seen a couple of very young children at Le Bernardin for dinner, and while the staff was gracious it did look slightly comical, not to mention a large waste of money at over $100 per person. The kids were quiet and well-behaved, but it was clear that they were largely unappreciative of the food and the experience and would have rather stayed home.

                                      1. re: hcbk0702

                                        I have seen very well-behaved young children at upscale dining establishments, and I didn't find anything "comical" about it.

                                        As long as the child is behaving properly, whether he or she appreciates the food or it's a huge waste of money are issues that are not anyone else's business but the parents!

                                        1. re: hcbk0702

                                          I wouldn't take our daughter to French Laundry at her age, because of the length of the dinner. I will take her when she gets older. I also probably wouldn't take her to Alinea, because she wouldn't enjoy the food. That being said, I know she would like the food at EMP and the lunch prices are very reasonable. She loves to help me cook and enjoys the process of eating out more then some adults I know, it's still very special at 5. She still sees the joy in a bread basket, even if the crust on the bread isn't perfect or the butter isn't quite creamy enough. Anyway, I think I'll continue on with my plan to show her wonderful food in NYC. Thanks.

                                2. re: hungrycomposer

                                  hungrycomposer,

                                  Thanks for the details about the complainers. Bravo to the Italians! Someone drumming on the table would certainly get the "evil eye" from me! lol

                                  Very occasionally at EMP I've mentioned that a dish could have been a tad hotter. But there is only one time that we've sent food back. Last winter, we were dining with another couple and were having the seasonal tasting menu. When the fish course arrived, I was the first to taste it and discovered that the fish was stone cold. I alerted our captain who immediately had our plates taken back to the kitchen. In a matter of moments, the plates were back, the contents now properly hot. I'm not sure if they just heated them or did them from scratch. But in any case, at the correct temperature, the fish was sensational!

                                  Btw, there are certain foods, like steaks and chops, that I never send back because they always come back overcooked.

                                  1. re: RGR

                                    I hope that you still mention that your steak or chops are not hot, though. Mistakes can happen in the best places and they'll never know unless you bring it up. I didn't send my plate back because the pork was perfect, but somewhere between the kitchen and the dining room, those delicious vegetables lingered a little too long.

                                    1. re: hungrycomposer

                                      I would rather have perfect pork and cool veggies, then overcooked pork and warmer veggies. But, I'm a pork-aholic, so that's not surprising for me. I really really hate when meat is under or overcooked, but I've never had a good experience trying to get a place to fix it. There was the time, a cute little French bistro placed my burger {cut side down} on the grill, bun, condiments and all to try to get it a little bit more then raw when I had ordered it medium. That was great fun. Nowadays I just make a mental note most of the time and that factors into if I go back or not.

                                      1. re: hungrycomposer

                                        "I hope that you still mention that your steak or chops are not hot, though. Mistakes can happen in the best places and they'll never know unless you bring it up."

                                        Yes, I always make it a point to let someone on the staff know.