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Has anyone been to both EMP and Veritas? HELP!

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I need some help in deciding between EMP and Veritas for a special sister's Christmas dinner on Wednesday. I have the reservations booked tentatively that night, but am having the hardest time deciding which to choose. What are the hors d'oeuvres and amuses and mignardises situations at each? And just to throw it into the mix, we were also considering SHO Shaun Hergatt... Too many choices and too many things sound good.

For instance, I am dying to try both the Goat's Milk Cheesecake and the Tahitian Vanilla Souffle at EMP, as well as either the venison or the duck for two. And the ricotta gnocchi and Hawaiian prawns sound amazing as well. I've heard things about their ricotta.

But then at Veritas, I am lured by the uni chitarra which looks absolutely incredible. As well as the venison, which sounds slightly better to me than the version at EMP, or even the duck breast. The only thing that doesn't strike it for me, at least from the descriptions, is the dessert. What did you all experience as far as desserts were concerned?

Did any of you have a strong feeling as to which was the better restaurant? Had the better food or service or overall experience?

Thank you so much! Will definitely report back!

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  1. They are not in the same league. EMP is a far, far better restaurant. Veritas was never in the same league, and recently they have "downgraded" to a more casual version of itself anyway.

    You can't go wrong with EMP. It is superb. The service is the best in NYC, and the room is gorgeous and comfortable.

    Enjoy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Might you be confusing Veritas with Cru? Veritas is still showing the same menu at $85, while Cru has lowered prices several times and become less formal (still great food though).

    2. Veritas is a long-time favorite of ours, and I vociferously disagree that it has "downgraded" to a more casual version of itself. In fact, quite the opposite. With the arrival of Chef Grégory Pugin during the summer of '08, there has been a radical change from very good Contemporary American (via Scott Bryan) to what is now truly superb French cuisine. We've been to Veritas several times since Chef Pugin took over and have sampled quite a lot of his cuisine, the last time being the end of September.

      Photos can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

      All that said, EMP remains our favorite NYC restaurant, and as good as Veritas is, I agree that EMP is the superior choice. Chef Humm's cuisine is exquisite, the service staff is exceptional (one of the best, if not THE best in the city), and the space is gorgeous! We have had countless meals there, most recently being dinner last week.

      Photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

      4 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        @RGR, which of the apps, mains, and most specifically desserts would you order? As I am going with my sister, could you tell me your top two choices for each of the offerings on the 3-course prix-fixe menu at EMP? You are so well-versed, particularly when it comes to EMP that I just had to ask you! Thank you!

        1. re: j.jessica.lee

          I've eaten at EMP multiple times. Things that are truly excellent:
          - The farm egg app
          - the lobster
          - the duck for two
          - the venison

          For dessert, I gotta go with:
          - The cheese cart - the thing that's great at EMP is that you can pick as many as you like, and they'll just size the quantity appropriately
          - The peanut butter palette with popcorn ice cream. Interesting, but very nice.

          1. re: j.jessica.lee

            Appetizers: Foie Gras and Prawn Roulade.

            Main courses:
            Chef Humm's signature duck for two, carved tableside, would be #1. However, if you each want to do two different dishes: the suckling pig and the beef.

            Desserts: Cheesecake, Soufflé, EMP Symphony No. 2

            I would definitely add the cheese cart

            1. re: j.jessica.lee

              I think the prawn roulade is the best appetizer. The farm egg is also good, but unfortunately the frog legs in it are completely lost with the stronger flavor of the mushrooms. It's also kind of soupy, which is not exactly what I was expecting. When we were there in the summer, we had a guinea fowl for two, which was spectacular. It has since been changed to a blue-foot chicken, which I tasted when we were there recently. While I preferred the guinea fowl, as I always do over chicken, the dish was still the most memorable one I've had at EMP. While the duck is very good, I think it is somewhat overrated and have enjoyed other dishes more. My favorite dessert is the chocolate peanut butter palette.

          2. Wow, thank you everyone for the great recommendations and advice! And great pictures, RGR!

            Now that we've decided to go to EMP, my sister and I are still agonizing over what to order! Choices, choices, choices.

            A question to those of you who have had the souffle: is it rich and creamy? Does it feel like a dessert? And is the quark incorporated into the souffle itself or does it come on the side? I'm not sure if it's a yolk-included souffle like a chocolate souffle or if it is a whites-only souffle like a fruit souffle.

            Also, is the sheep's milk flavor very present in the cheesecake? I would love that. And can one order a tart for dessert?

            I am so looking forward to my first dinner at EMP. Thank you all for helping make it a wonderful experience!

            1 Reply
            1. re: j.jessica.lee

              and now - how did it go?