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Jan 13, 2010 11:25 AM

Favorite dishes from the new Winter Dinner Menu at EMP?

Lucky me, I'm returning next week for dinner at EMP for a business dinner (so the tasting menus are "out"). What are your favorite dishes from the new winter menu? Thanks for your advice.

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  1. ate there the week after x-mas for lunch and did the 3 course:

    1) Balik Salmon with Pommes Dauphine, Frisée and Crème Fraîche
    2) Linguini with Alaskan King Crab, Black Pepper and Meyer Lemon
    3) Bouillabaisse of Striped Bass, Bouchot Mussels, Manila Clams and Chorizo

    My favorite of the three - all were fabulous - was the Balik Salmon. wow.

    Also got to sample the Tuna Tartar, Gnocci and Boundin Blanc. Again, all wonderful.

    The table next to me shared the organic chicken, which looked amazing. If I went back, I would go for that or the Beef main.


    1. This is a tough one, but I'll try. I was just there last night. The Foie Gras Mille-Feuille with Big Eye Tuna and Watercress is incredible. The combination of the smooth, rich foie gras and the tuna is inspired. Luscious. I would have gladly made an entire meal of the Milk Fed Veal Braised Cheeks with Celery Root and Black Truffles (had it been a slightly larger portion, of course). The veal is braised the old-fashioned way, not cooked en sous vide. Excellent. The only dish that fell short for me was the first dessert, something EMP calls “Soda Pop” (though my server may have called it "orange soda"). It had what seemed to be pop rocks and overall was not an experience that matched the level of the previous dishes.

      I should add that, while your mileage may vary, I also enjoyed a couple of "extra" dishes, including a black truffle beignet that you would have sworn was the real thing, presented as it was in a glass container on a bed of arborio rich. Very clever - and delicious, especially when dipped in the accompanying truffle aioli.

      Please let me know if you have any specific questions while this sublime experience is still relatively fresh in my mind!

      1. Has no one had dinner in the past month at EMP and ordered from the 3 course menu? I am looking for recommendations from that menu (not the tasting/lunch menu--but do appreciate the reports for when I am having lunch or the tasting menu).

        11 Replies
        1. re: ellenost


          While we haven't ordered from the current dinner 3-course menu, there are items on it that have been or are currently on other menus so that I have had them.

          First courses:

          I’ve had just about all of them.

          I see that the Tagliolini with Alba Truffles is back. In a word: Unreal! If that's too much of a splurge ($95 supplement), the pasta even by itself is divine. The Hawaiian Prawn Roulade is wonderful. And the Heirloom Beets are not too shabby either. I've also had the egg and the gnocchi. Though both are excellent, I wouldn't rank them at the top of my favorites. The only first course I haven’t had (yet) is this particular foie preparation, but Chef Humm's foie creations never fail to please me. 

          Main courses:

          Most of these are totally new. However….

          The Bone Marrow Crusted Beef has been on both the lunch and dinner menus for quite some time. I just had it for the first time a few weeks ago. Fabulous! And the potato cream side dish that comes with it had me swooning.

          We had the Blue Foot Chicken (for two) a couple of months ago when it was still a special order. Superb!


          There are a couple of new ones I've not yet had a chance to try (we will certainly get to them! lol), but of the others, I recommend the Sheep's Milk Yogurt Cheesecake, the Tahitian Vanilla Soufflé, and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Palette.

          Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

          1. re: RGR

            I knew I could count on you RGR! Thanks for your great recommendations. I think I'll go with the Prawn Roulade, the beef and the Vanilla Souffle. I was curious about the lobster and the pork tasting (maybe next time!). Thanks again!

            1. re: ellenost

              An excellent plan, ellenost! :) I'm glad I could be of some help. Next time for us will be later this month when we'll be doing the 11-course Gourmand for Mr. R.'s birthday.

              Here are photos of your choices:




              1. re: RGR

                RGR, you're the best! I'll look forward to your report about the 11-course Gourmand menu; please wish Mr. R a very happy birthday!

                1. re: ellenost

                  Back at you, ellenost! I shall convey your birthday wishes to Mr. R. :)

                  1. re: RGR

                    Since this was my other option for lunch on the 29th, I will ask this question on this thread:

                    For a special lunch, would you do the tasting here at EMP, maybe with the truffled pasta as an add-on, or eat at Per Se?

                    1. re: seal


                      You aren't seriously asking *me* that question?! LOL

                      We did the lunch Gourmand two weeks ago. Sensational! (Note: Chef Humm has finally brought back the veal cheeks! ;) )

                      Photos here:

                      Adding the truffled pasta dish, which we had in November, will certainly add substantial gilt to an already exceedingly golden culinary lily!

                      Photos here:

                      As far as Per Se goes, we've dined there once. It was a Sunday lunch in '08, and we were celebrating our 40th anniversary. The meal (we did the 9-course menu) was, in almost all respects, excellent. The one loser was a very lackluster veal dish. While the overall experience was lovely and I'm happy that we did it, I was actually surprised to find that the cuisine at EMP is equal to that which we had at Per Se. Considering the difference in cost, EMP is a heckuva bargain! Some might say I'm biased, but that's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

                      1. re: RGR

                        Lol - I figured you'd say that, but I had to ask.

                        So, is the lunch gourmand meal one that is already too filling for an add-on? It looks like a lot of food.

                        1. re: seal

                          When we had the tagliatelle, we ordered one portion split between the two of us. We have had many lunch Gourmands, and we never come away feeling stuffed as portions are perfectly sized. So, I think if you do a split on the pasta, you will be fine.

                          P.S. I don't want to leave the impression that I think going to Per Se is a bad idea. Au contraire! It's a wonderful restaurant and certainly worth experiencing at least once, particularly for a special occasion. Since you have been to EMP before, perhaps you should go to Per Se this time.

                    2. re: RGR


                      Just had another brilliant dinner at EMP. The prawn roulade, beef and souffle were wonderful! The potato cream side dish for the beef was the best part of the dish. Service was impeccable. My mother and sister are so envious. I'll just need to schedule another dinner to work my way through the rest of the menu (or return for the Gourmand). Thanks again for your advice.

                      1. re: ellenost


                        I'm thrilled that you enjoyed everything (yes, that potato cream is unreal!), though it doesn't surprise me since you love EMP as much as we do. :)

          2. Have any 'hounds tried the ricotta gnocchi, cochon variations, or sweetbread dishes on the current dinner menu?

            21 Replies
            1. re: kathryn

              Hi Kathryn,

              I've had the ricotta gnocchi and they were truly decadent. Our server explained that the gnocchi was simply the ricotta rolled in a bit of flour. It was amazingly rich and the flavor of the ricotta was to die for - so pronounced! It was one of my favorite dishes of the night - I couldn't stop talking about it. I have a picture up on flickr. If you want, I can post the link. I've always enjoyed your posts, so happy to be able to answer something for you!

              1. re: j.jessica.lee


                I, too, have had the gnocchi. It was in August. I ate at the bar on my own when my husband was off at a Yankee game with our daughter and son-in-law.


                I love seeing other peoples photos of what they've had at EMP and would certainly like to see how the gnocchi are plated now. So, please post the link. Thanks!


                We had the sweetbreads as part of our 11-course Gourmand. Delicious! Wonderfully crisp coating and soft, succulent interior. It was a small portion, i.e., two nuggets. Obviously, it would be bigger as a regular main course.


                1. re: RGR


                  I actually sent you a message on flickr asking about recommendations for EMP and you were so kind to write me back and give me all of your thoughts on the dishes on the menu! I was meaning to write you to thank you and got caught up with too many concerts! Thank YOU as well for all of your valuable insight ALWAYS. I so enjoy reading your posts and having your thoughts on restaurants and dishes and chefs. My sister and I have a monthly sister dinner and are now trying to decide where to go next (though going back to do the Gourmand at EMP is HIGHLY TEMPTING!). Any thoughts???

                  Here is the link to the ricotta gnocchi (picture quality is not good because, 1) lighting was dim, and 2) I didn't want to THOROUGHLY embarrass my sister with my picture taking!):


                  This is the set of our entire meal, which was one of the best meals I've had in New York.


                  1. re: j.jessica.lee

                    Ah, of course! musicjess! :) I'm so pleased that you thorougly enjoyed your dinner at EMP. I loved looking through all your photos. You and your sister are very pretty! And how nice that you got to have a photo taken with Chef Humm. He really is a sweetie! And, of course, talented beyond belief!

                    Have you seen my photos of the current Gourmand? Perhaps, they will help you decide if you want to go back to EMP for it. Of course, you could wait until the seasons change so that instead of having winter-style food you can have spring or summer dishes.

                    With regard to other options for your next dinner with your sister, have you been considering any particular restaurants?

                    1. re: RGR

                      Oh yes, I have seen (and drooled) over your most current EMP set. I looked through all the rest of them before I went to EMP as well - what a reference!

                      Oh Chef Humm was so gracious, so wonderful, and on top of that, the food and the whole experience was just unbelievable! I had had a pretty so-so experience there a few years back at lunch and it really was all of your raving posts and pictures that made me give it another go. And how glad I am!

                      We were thinking of Picholine, Veritas, Alto or Marea, the Modern Dining Room, or MAYBE even Per Se. You see, I basically eat at home all month long and then save up enough to go for a meal that is truly worth it. And boy was that dinner at EMP worth it! What are your thoughts? Any other suggestions?

                      1. re: j.jessica.lee


                        Rather than hijacking this thread with a discussion of other restaurant possibilities for you, shoot me an e-mail and we'll talk! :)


                      2. re: RGR

                        Hi RGR,
                        You are indeed the EMP expert! I've only had the pleasure of doing the suckling pig menu once at EMP and it was divine. Do you know how much Chef Humm tries to source seasonally? Locally? I love that his menu changes so often and thought you might know more about his sourcing. That pig was spectacular! Thanks again.

                        1. re: JeremyEG

                          Hi Jeremy,

                          While we haven't had any in-depth discussions with Chef Humm about his sourcing, it's quite obvious that his goal is always to get the very finest products he can. And I think it's pretty evident from his menus that he sticks closely to seasonal products.

                          The menu will sometimes tell you who the purveyor of certain items is. For example, on the currrent menu, the veal cheeks and sweetbreads are from Four Story Hill Farm, in Honesdale, PA.

                          In the latest issue of EMP's magazine, there are some articles about sourcing. Four Story Hill Farm also supplies EMP with milk-fed chickens and English Berkshire pork. Knoll Crest Farms, in the Hudson Valley, supplies EMP's eggs. They are delivered within three days of being laid and are used in every facet of the menu.

                          I have a hard copy of the magazine, but it should be posted on their website soon.

                        2. re: RGR

                          Let me also mention that I have a very major sweet tooth and the dessert course is very important to me! However, my sister does not have much of a sweet tooth, so I guess it doesn't really matter!

                      3. re: j.jessica.lee

                        Interesting! My favorite gnocchi in the city is at Hearth so I'm trying to figure out if I want to try it elsewhere.

                        1. re: kathryn

                          I don't mean to divert this thread, but my husband and I are making a first trip to EMP in a few weeks. He's a big eater, though I am not. I like the idea of the Winter Tasting Menu because it's more courses than the prix fixe, but 11 would be way too much. However, neither of us is a fan of foie gras, frog legs (or sweetbreads) which all seem to play into this menu, so I'm wondering if we should just try to add a course to the regular menu which has many delicious-sounding items or see if they will substitute. I'd love some suggestions from some of the "regulars" on here!

                          1. re: JMJD

                            It's very easy to make substitutions on the tasting menu, in my experience. However, I wasn't certain I'd like the frog's legs at EMP and when I tried them there, the dish was fantastic! So you never know!

                            1. re: JMJD

                              Even if you're not a big foie gras fan, what Chef Humm does by combining it with tuna is nothing short of breathtaking.

                              1. re: JMJD


                                With regard to the 6-course Winter Tasting, there are no veal sweetbreads on it. It's veal *cheeks.* They are also on the 11-course Gourmand, but because we had them as part of the lunch Gourmand, we substituted the sweetbreads, which we'd not had. The frogs' legs are immersed in a porcini custard, so if you like mushrooms and the flavor of porcinis, you might really like the dish. Although I am a foie gras addict, I do understand that some people just don't care for anything having to do with liver. That said....

                                Although EMP's staff is super-accommodating, I really don't think it's fair to the kitchen to choose the 6-course tasting menu and then substitute half the dishes. The idea of doing the 3-course prix fixe and adding additional courses that appeal to you from the regular menu is a good one. Also, the portions will be larger, which should please your husband's bigger appetite.

                                1. re: RGR

                                  Thank you! I didn't really think it was realistic to substitute half of the courses but was curious if anyone might say that the menu varied from what was posted online...I wish it was spring or summer already!

                                  I have to admit that everything related to the frog's legs sounds yummy except for the frog's legs! (Though my husband might be tempted to try it.) As for foie...well, we've both tried it but just didn't care for it! I am thinking that the lamb, beef and bouillabase from the regular menu would be possible choices for us. Does anyone know if they would allow us to share something from the fish section of the menu as an additional course?

                                  1. re: JMJD

                                    EMP keeps the on-line menus very up-to-date though very occasionally, a dish may be different on the printed menu.

                                    You can definitely share a course from any of the menu's sections. If it's feasible, the kitchen will split it into two plates for you.

                                    Though we haven't had the current preparation, we've had lamb many times, and it's always wonderful.

                                    I had the bone marrow crusted beef in December. Stellar! And the dish of potato cream with braised oxtails that comes with it had me swooning!

                                    Beef photo:

                                    Potato Cream:

                                    The bouillabaisse was one of our courses on the 11-course Gourmand. the portion on the 3-course prix fixe will, of course, be more generous. Superb!

                                    Bouillabaisse Photo:

                                2. re: JMJD

                                  We were there last night, and the standout dishes were the scallop ceviche and the beef. I was disappointed that the foie gras with tuna mentioned above was off the menu already, replaced by foie with pineapple, which does not appeal to me, but I was so happy with the ceviche that all is well.

                                  1. re: rrems

                                    Glad to hear you enjoyed your meal, rrems. One of the things that makes the foie gras with the pineapple so fabulous is the inclusion of the pickled pearl onions. Alone, they are delicious. Pairing them with the pineapple: truly an inspired combination!

                                3. re: kathryn

                                  Well, this gnocchi is not your typical gnocchi. If you like fluffy, pillowy gnocchi and if that is what you are looking for, you will not like this. It was very, very dense, and as I said, it was simply the Di Palo ricotta cheese rolled into a ball, rolled in a bit of flour, and then cooked. Very rich, very dense, a heavy dish!

                                  1. re: j.jessica.lee


                                    You may have noticed that that's exactly how I described these gnocchi in the commentary with my photo -- dense. it was totally unexpected and really surprised me, especially since in the past, Chef Humm served a dish with the more traditional style of gnocchi which were light as the proverbial feather.

                            2. Had a fantastic dinner here on Friday. The hors d'oeuvres were wonderful as usual, especially the sweetbread cornet and foie gras macaron. The amuse was a wonderful mushroom soup with a tiny brioche with mushroom baked in, in a swirl. Delicious.

                              Started with the ricotta gnocchi. Rich, creamy, delicious little dumplings, balanced so well by garlic chips and artichoke puree, really excellent, especially with the parmesan shavings and olives. Not your typical gnocchi!

                              I chose the lamb for my main. Medium rare and perfectly cooked. Cumin scented jus and yogurt, with chickpeas. Chewy, flavorful, delicious. Like a good steak. Really excellent quality. Finished my portion in record time. Wished I could mop up the jus with an infinite amount of bread without ever getting full, but I restrained myself.

                              The dessert, though, was not that great -- had the Milk & Chocolate and didn't really "get" the dehydrated chocolate mouse and dehydrated milk. My husband had the sorbets, which were good. Petits fours were many different kinds of macarons. My favorite were the PB&J and the candied violet.

                              17 Replies
                              1. re: kathryn

                                I've always thought EMP's only weakness was their desserts. While I've liked them fine, none of them has impressed me like the rest of the meal.

                                1. re: uwsister

                                  I had the souffle that was among the best I've ever had.

                                  1. re: ellenost

                                    Ah, yes! The Tahitian Vanilla Soufflé. Wonderful!


                                    The Chocolate Peanut Butter Palette is not too shabby either!


                                    And I can't help thinking back to last summer's Corn Pudding with Blueberries. Outstanding!


                                    I could go on... :)

                                    Since we go to EMP so regularly, we usually manage to try every dessert. The only one on the current menu we haven't had is the Araguani Chocolate Ganache with Sweet Potato Dauphine and Chestnut Honey, which I'm sure we'll get to. Have I liked some desserts better than others? Yes. But that's really more a matter of personal preference and would be the case no matter the restaurant.

                                    1. re: RGR

                                      We are going soon and would like to do the tasting menu. But, would it be unreasonable to substitute the cochon or lamb for the veal cheeks and the soufflee for the milk and chocolate?

                                      I hate to make a bunch of substitutions on a well thought out, planned menu, but the dishes I mentioned seem to be clear winners on this board.

                                      1. re: jdf

                                        Which tasting menu? The 6-course seasonal or the Gourmand? Not that it matters. Just curious. The veal cheeks, which are on both menus, are incredibly delicious. The only reason we substituted is because we'd had them already but had not had the sweetbreads. In any case, there would be no problems if you want to substiture the cochon or lamb and the soufflé.

                                        1. re: RGR

                                          Thanks RGR. We are doing the seasonal. I have heard the veal cheeks are great. But, having never been to EMP and being a huge pork fan and hearing what Chef Humm does with pork, I think I am leaning in that direction. I'm sure we can't go wrong whatever we do.

                                          1. re: jdf

                                            FWIW, my partner had the cochon when we were there this week, and though it was perfectly good, it was the only dish we felt was not exceptional, and we are both big fans of pork too. I think the pork dishes Humm has done in the past were better.

                                            1. re: rrems

                                              I was thinking about ordering the cochon dish; how was it prepared. The menu mentioned "variations".

                                              1. re: ellenost

                                                There was a component still on the bone that resembled a pork chop, as well as a boudin blanc sausage. I believe there may have been a third component off the bone, perhaps a piece of fattier meat.

                                                1. re: kathryn

                                                  As I mentioned, I haven't had this cochon dish, but could that other piece of meat have been either belly or confit?

                                                  1. re: RGR

                                                    Probably belly judging from the photos here... (not mine)

                                                    1. re: kathryn

                                                      In the text, he says it's belly.

                                                      1. re: RGR

                                                        Looks like you're right! And some delicious pork belly, it was.

                                                        1. re: kathryn

                                                          No suprise there. When we did the pig tasting last year, one of the courses was belly, and it was seriously delicious! Of course, so was the rest of the meal.


                                                      2. re: kathryn

                                                        Thanks Kathryn for posting the photo. Looks good to me. Next time I'll try either the cochon or the lamb.

                                              2. re: jdf


                                                I presume you know that the current pork dish is not the same as the one that had been on the menu seemingly forever and which became something of a signature. We haven't had this new one yet, but I have no doubt that it is outstanding.

                                                Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

                                          2. re: RGR

                                            I have had the souffle as well as chocolate and peanut butter dessert, also some chocolate dessert with a musical name (not currently on the menu it seems, maybe Symphony No. 2 or similar?) and one other chocolate dessert that I can't remember -- they were all good, but the rest of the meal blew us away and the desserts didn't quite do that on our last two visits. Still love EMP and it remains our favorite special occasions spot in NYC -- and of course, it's always a matter of personal preference. The souffle was my favorite though (prefer it without the passionfruit puree) and the selection of macarons are always nice.