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Paired 'regular' and vegetarian tasting menus.

bigalz Aug 5, 2010 08:48 AM

With a vegetarian wife, it is a rare occasion when we can order a tasting menu as most menus don't have an adequate vegetarian options on their tasting menus. We did have one marvelous pairing at the old Aureole where there was a vegetarian menu paired with the usual menu in which the dishes were similar but different in the necessary way.

Does anyone know of another similar option. We will be at eleven madison soon and were hoping for advice.


Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

135 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036

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  1. k
    kathryn RE: bigalz Aug 5, 2010 11:38 AM

    bigalz, are you making sure that the kitchen is aware of your wife's dietary restrictions before you arrive? Many upscale fine dining establishments will be able to accommodate her needs for a tasting menu if given notice. Have you tried requesting a vegetarian version of the tasting menu in advance? It never hurts to ask.

    That said, Gramercy Tavern has a vegetable tasting that can be made vegetarian upon request. What's nice about GT is that you can have the chef's tasting and your wife can have the vegetable tasting with only vegetarian components. And they're very flexible about allowing for substitutions if something on the prix fixe catches your eye.


    Gramercy Tavern
    42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn
      bigalz RE: kathryn Aug 5, 2010 12:05 PM


      Thanks for the advice. I have called on occasion and usually they say a vegetarian plate can be put together. I have not gone as far as to ask for a vegetarian tasting. I think I will do so in the future. The tasting you describe at GT sounds like the one we had at Aureole. I'll update with the results.

      1. re: bigalz
        bigalz RE: bigalz Aug 20, 2010 05:05 PM

        EMP was amazing. They could not have been more accommodating. I called a few days ahead and informed them of my wife's dietary restrictions. We did the Gourmand menu which was made vegetarian for my wife. 4 hrs later we left more than satisfied.

        1. re: bigalz
          RGR RE: bigalz Aug 20, 2010 08:16 PM

          Thanks for reporting back! Glad to hear that you and Mrs. bigalz enjoyed your experience at EMP.


    2. r
      RGR RE: bigalz Aug 5, 2010 01:25 PM

      In addition to the regular menu, Daniel has a separate vegetarian menu. They used to offer a vegetarian tasting along with their regular 6- and 8-course tasting menus. The veg tasting is no longer on the website, but I think if you call in advance and ask, they would probably be willing to put one together for your wife.

      At Cafe Boulud, one of their 4 menus, Le Potager, focuses on vegetarian dishes. They offer a regular tasting menu, and I'm sure if you call and ask, Chef Gavin Kaysen would be happy to organize a vegetarian tasting for your wife.


      As far as EMP goes, on the 3-course prix fixe, there are only two vegetarian-friendly appetizers and none on the main course menu. However, let them know ahead of time, and they will put together a veg-friendly main course for your wife. If you want to do either the 6-course seasonal tasting or the 11-course Gourmand, you would have to discuss in advance whether they can put one together for your wife. EMP's staff is *the* most accommodating in the city, so I'm betting they would do it.



      1 Reply
      1. re: RGR
        bigalz RE: RGR Aug 5, 2010 06:04 PM

        Thanks for the advice. I'll let you know how it goes.

      2. p
        piegirl74 RE: bigalz Aug 5, 2010 01:47 PM

        I do this ALL THE TIME! I don't eat meat, but my fiance does, and I always call ahead and have never had anyone tell me no. Sometimes I get a pescatarian version, sometimes straight vegetarian (depends on the restaurant). We love tasting menus and this has never been a problem for us.

        EMP will absolutely accommodate this. We were going to do a tasting recently and they told me to simply call 24 hours before so they could tell the chef. They were happy to oblige given notice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: piegirl74
          bigalz RE: piegirl74 Aug 5, 2010 06:02 PM

          Thanks so much for the info. I'll let you know how it goes.

        2. v
          veggieyummy RE: bigalz Aug 6, 2010 06:32 AM

          We had a great veggie tasting at Del Posto. No useless roasted veggies, etc. It actually appeared that they put as much thought into the veggie tasting as the meat tasting. Yum!

          Del Posto
          85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

          1. e
            Elizabeth E. RE: bigalz Aug 6, 2010 08:27 AM

            Per Se offers a nine-course vegetable tasting menu each evening. Their web site shows a sample menu.

            Per Se
            10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

            1 Reply
            1. re: Elizabeth E.
              edwardspk RE: Elizabeth E. Aug 6, 2010 11:33 AM

              2nd Per Se. I'm not even a vegetarian, but sometimes order it when I go to Per Se just because it's so good (and because I don't think they change their regular tasting menu often enough).

              Per Se
              10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

            2. b
              bigalz RE: bigalz Jan 21, 2012 07:10 PM

              We just enjoyed an amazing vegetarian/ omnivore pairing as part of the "Put yourself in our hands" 7 course chef tasting. Doing this at "the pass" makes for an truly enjoyable experience.

              403 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10009

              2 Replies
              1. re: bigalz
                villainx RE: bigalz Jan 21, 2012 07:26 PM

                Are the vegetarian tasting menus worth it? Only asking because it's usually at similar price point, and ... if there are no dead animal proteins, seems harder to say it's getting similar value, even if one was talking about high end restaurants.

                1. re: villainx
                  bigalz RE: villainx Jan 22, 2012 08:38 AM

                  The price of the food has little to do with the cost of the meal. If you are a vegetarian and interested in high quality delicious food, the meal is worth it. The price was the same for both meals.

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