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Aug 23, 2010 08:16 AM


Since this board is also affectionately known as EMPhound, I'm curious how the fans feel about the latest change? $56 to sit down for lunch (formerly $28), and lunch tasting is now $95 (formerly $78). $125 to sit down for dinner (formerly $95), and 3 less courses if you go for the Gourmand at $175.

Has your favorite restaurant stuck it to you after reaching success, or are you excited for the changes? Anyone have any idea if the food is going to change, or are the price hikes strictly to makeup for the lost revenue in losing a few tables? Anyone have any insider info?

Can't wait for the first reviews to trickle in!

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  1. Just my two cents - no insider info.

    I honestly didn't expect the lunch price to go up, and I have to say I'm a little disappointed about it especially since I had my first lunch there not too long ago, loved it, and was hoping to go semi-frequently. I mean, Jean Georges has NYT 4 stars and Michelin 3 stars, and they still have their $28 prix-fixe lunch, not to mention plenty of other fine dining restaurants in town with similar (but not as great) deals.

    I'll probably still go for dinner though.

    1. Where does this information come from? The only hint I can find is that the website does not show any menus. Otherwise I can't find anything to corroborate it.

      22 Replies
      1. re: rrems

        I agree I'm a little disappointed but I have no further information on food, new menu, service, etc unfortunately. I think the desserts could definitely use improvement (but maybe just my taste)

        1. re: wreckers00

          No, I totally agree with you re: desserts. I've always thought EMP's desserts (as well as their bread) were rather weak, especially compared to the rest of the menu. I liked the tart cart at lunch, but I've never really been impressed by any of their desserts offered at dinner.

          1. re: uwsister

            The one dinner dessert that I adore at EMP is their vanilla souffle (IMO, it's the best in NYC). I finally had lunch at EMP last week, and I also loved the chicken for 2 (we asked and they accomodated us to share it among the 3 of us--perfect amount of food).

            1. re: ellenost

              Oh yeah - I actually like that vanilla souffle. Probably the best dessert they have at dinner. Have you had souffle at La Grenouille, ellenost? (I haven't) If you have - how would you say they compare? Also to chocolate/Grand Marnier ones at Minetta Tavern?

              Personally $56 for a 3-course lunch is not exactly a bargain, especially not knowing exactly what it includes (or does not include.) I'm hopeful, of course.

              1. re: uwsister

                I haven't gone to either La Grenouille or Minetta Tavern, but I've read that the souffles at La Grenouille are great. I was very interested in their caramel souffle, but I don't think they are currently offering it.

                It will be interesting to see whether the $56 3-course lunch is 3 savory courses with dessert included or 2 savory courses and dessert. Either way it's not too bad. All of my favorite restaurants (Per Se and Ko) have had sizeable increases in the last few years. Even the 8 course dinner at EMP for $175 (before tip) is still a bargain compared to Per Se at $275 (including tip). The price increase will not deter me from regularly returning to EMP. If it does deter others, I guess I'll have an easier time securing my reservations at EMP. BTW, It was the same issue raised last year when Ko increased their prices (as to whether people would stop dining at Ko--they haven't and resys are just as difficult (okay maybe you can get a resy for dinner for 2 within 60 seconds instead of 30 seconds).

                1. re: uwsister

                  I am a souffle lover and have had all three.

                  Vanilla souffle at EMP, Pistachio souffle at La Grenouille, and Grand Marnier souffle at Minetta Tavern. All were top notch. In terms of sheer size, I think Minetta's was the largest and it was absolutely delicious. I have to get back to try their chocolate too. The EMP souffle is without question their finest dessert and one of my favorites. As for La Grenouille, their pistachio souffle as great also. As a pistachio lover I would have like maybe a little more pistachio flavor in there, but it was cooked perfectly and a wonderful end to a stellar meal there.

                  Minetta Tavern
                  113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                  La Grenouille
                  3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                  1. re: steakrules85

                    steak, you should try the souffles at Capsuoto Freres sometime.

                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      Checked it out. The menu looks very interesting.

                      1. re: steakrules85

                        It's a sweet place, I love the space, the food is fine, nothing to blow you away...except the souffles.

                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                          thanks for the tip! i havent tried many souffles but if you're a fan of chocolate the one a craft is delicious.
                          i emailed emp if they could make me their souffle for lunch, i sure hope they can since i've tried all the desserts they have to offer for lunch.

                          1. re: daffyduck

                            They will do anything you ask of them trust me.

                            1. re: steakrules85

                              thanks. yeah. i'm going for lunch soon. any recs. i think the current menu before they renovate is this
                              i've tried the balik salmon, St. Canut Farm Cochon de Lait , the lobster lassagna, the herb roasted colardo lamb, the Späetzle, and the Fregola with veal sweetbreads (no longer on the menu). the only dish i was really wowed by was the veal sweetbreads. Do u guys recommend anything on the menu on other than the chicken for 2 (I plan on getting it)?

                              1. re: daffyduck

                                I loved the beef tenderloin. I'd totally get that. Also the big-eye tuna tartare. I know, tuna tartare, boring - but their version was very, very good.

                                1. re: daffyduck

                                  We were there last week for lunch. High praise for the chicken (which I know you're getting), scallop, tomato gazpacho, and the crab tagliolini. The beef tenderloin was also great.

                                  1. re: ellenost

                                    thanks ellenost. so would you say scallops > tomato gazpacho > crab > beef tenderloin? or is it more like they're all very good and about the same level?

                                    1. re: daffyduck

                                      My sister had the tomato gazpacho and the crab and was swooning over both of them. I had the scallop and liked it very much. We shared with our mom the beef as a second entree with the chicken that we all shared. I've had the beef twice before, and it is my second favorite entree on the menu (first favorite being the duck). Hope this helps.

                                  2. re: daffyduck

                                    The boyfriend and I went for lunch for my birthday a few weeks ago, and we really enjoyed our meal. I had the balik salmon, which was by far my favorite, the scallop, and the bouillabaisse. The boyfriend had the tuna tartar, which he loved, the fregola sarda, and the lamb. I keep thinking about the balik salmon - that's how much I enjoyed it. I didn't try the tuna tartar, but the boyfriend definitely liked it, so I'd recommend that if you haven't tried it.

                                    1. re: daffyduck

                                      For my mother's birthday we requested to have the scallops and the crab linguini (usually only served at lunch) during dinner and they didn't blink an eye. Both were delicious.

                                      As for the beef tenderloin, it was one of the better pieces of meat I have ever had. The bone marrow crust is truly sublime.

                                      1. re: steakrules85

                                        Thanks for the recs everyone. I had a great meal. I let my dining companion choose 2 lunch dishes since the chicken for 2 takes up one entree each. We had the tuna tartare and the fregola sarda. The octupus in the fregola was cooked perfectly but the rest of the dish was just ok. The tuna tartare was just okay too but I loved the eggs they had in the dish. Now on to the really good the chicken for two was great there was a little bit of dryness in the breast part but everything else with the dish was amazing. I had the vanilla souffle and also tried the strawberry shortcake. The strawberry short cake was good but the vanilla souffle was wow. I love the service here, you're right steak they probably would do anything for me. I should have asked if they could make the duck! I'll definitely be back for a special occasion especially now with the price change.

                                        1. re: daffyduck

                                          daffy -- were you there for lunch yesterday?

                                          I had lunch there yesterday and requested the vanilla souffle. I've had it before and wanted my dining companion to try it b/c I think it is the only memorable dessert. Unfortunately, I was told they could not accomodate us. As a consolation prize we were served the milk and honey followed by two sorbets, one of which was an olive oil sorbet. Olive oil sorbet was delicious.

                                          1. re: enyc1071

                                            yeah. i was there yesterday from 12-2, im tall guy with the mohawish hair. that's strange they didnt accomodate you because they asked if I wanted two. the vanilla souffle i had was served with a passion fruit sorbet which was delicious.

                  2. re: wreckers00

                    3 courses for $56, given the quality and all the extras you get, is still a real bargain.

                2. I've had several lunches at EMP which were very mixed, and the price increase definitely concerns me. If the consistency of EMP stays the same as before, I would be very hesitant on going back there over Jean Georges or Café Boulud.

                  1. Not sure where this information comes from because their own website still lists the $28 prix fixe lunch option:

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: City Kid

                      Look on opentable. It's also been reported in the press.

                      1. re: City Kid

                        Note, though, that if you go to the front of their web site the link to view the menu is conspicuously missing. Another poster here notified the restaurant that the menus were missing and it was confirmed this was intentional.


                      2. We just had a "farewell" to EMP dinner last Saturday night (just wanted to do one more before the change over). The level of the food still impresses the hell out of me and as far as we are concerned I can just about guarantee a change of menu format and/or pricing will not be keeping us away. IMO it will still be worth the "price of admission".