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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 http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...
                              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".

                        1. I, for one, will not be paying $125. I would be very surprised if they can command that price and not lose a lot of business. Time will tell. I've always enjoyed EMP but it is not the be-all and end-all. I won't miss it.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: rrems

                            They will easily command that price.

                            1. re: gutsofsteel

                              Agreed there are plenty of people who will pay that price for 3 dishes. I will opt for lunch or the tasting menu personally.

                              1. re: wreckers00

                                Actually it is a 4-course prix-fixe (not that I think that justifies the price).

                          2. i'm going to see if i could possibly get one last lunch in. i still haven't been blown away and i want to try it again at the (28$ price)
                            is it possible to have lunch at the bar? i know the decor won't be as nice but will i still be getting amuses and a visit from the dessert trolley?

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: daffyduck

                              When I called a few weeks ago, they initially didn't have a reservation but told me I could walk in and have lunch at the bar. I'm not sure about the amuses or the trolley though.
                              I sort of have the same idea you do. I wasn't too excited about most of the items I had for lunch but I want to give it another try at the old price. I tried the Gourmand menu and added another 2 courses to that. Out of the 8 courses I really only liked the lobster lasagna and the rabbit rillettes. I also liked the crisp mushrooms that came with the beef tenderloin (but not the beef tenderloin) and the cream cheese parfait portion of the red velvet dessert. The butter was also a lot more enjoyable than the bread that came with it.

                              1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                                ive tried the lobster lassagna. there's alot of lobster flavor in the sauce. when i ordered it i accidentally thought it was butternut squash and expected a pasta with some type of pumpkin or sweet potato-like aspect to it. but it was actually shreds of squash in the dish. it was still solid.
                                thanks for the bar tip! ill probably do that then since their amuses and desserts aren't really what im going there for.

                                1. re: daffyduck

                                  The lobster lasagna on the Summer tasting menu was my favorite dish on our last visit, great flavor. Also, I had the milk and honey dessert for the first time and the first bite I thought it tasted like "nothing" but then we followed the captains advice and waited for it to "soften up" and let it sit in your mouth for a second, wow, that's was the trick, crazy good.

                                2. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                                  Huh, I didn't know you could have lunch at their bar. I thought they didn't serve regular menu items at the bar, period. Perhaps I'm thinking of their dinner.

                                  Dessert cart is not included in their lunch prix-fixe anyway, so even if you sit at a table you wouldn't have to have it. BTW Last time when we lunched at EMP we made the res the night before - but I imagine there are more than a few people who want to get one last lunch before the price increase so getting a res might be a little harder now.

                                  1. re: uwsister

                                    I called them last year and they said yes, you can have the full menu at the bar during lunch, but they switch to a limited bar menu during dinner service.

                              2. The dinner prix fixe has incread from three to four courses - at $30 for the extra course, I'd hope that was an entree course. But I have a feeling it'll be some kind of "mid-course" between sizes.

                                As to the Gourmand change - I find 11 courses to be overkill. Too many flavors, it leaves one a bit wiped out to eat that many different things. Also, some of the courses on long tasting menus like that leave a bit to be desired - it becomes a series of glorified amuses, a few bites each, each one leaving you wanting more of it, seriously cutting down on the sheer gustatory pleasure of digging in to (and taking your time enjoying) a plate of deliciousness.

                                If it's essentially still the same amount of food, just divided into 8 courses instead of 11, I'm all for it.

                                1. They've been really tight-lipped. I tried to pry as much as I could, but I was also told that most, if not all, of what I was told was not meant for the public.

                                  What I will share, though, is that the emphasis seems to be on the whole dining experience. So regardless of the increased prices or the stated number of courses, the value will still show through across the whole dining experience. The lunch was increased so that the lunch will also be an experience like the dinner, although a la carte will still be available.

                                  When asking about the concept, the keyword that was used was "dialogue". I say no more.

                                  Personally, I'm really excited that they're evolving and not resting on laurels and looking forward to it.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: fooder

                                    i do not care how good the food is; sometimes less is more.

                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                      I suspect they remove the dessert cart...just a guess though?

                                      1. re: wreckers00

                                        yeah, i think itll be removed. the guy who came to us with the dessert cart was speaking to the table next to mines and said with the new lunch set up he won't be out there. i think he said he'll be working at the bar? or something like that. but if that happens i won't miss the cart that much from what i've tried there were a few good items and a few not so good.

                                    2. re: fooder

                                      just out of curiousity, were you the one eating the 2 courses of tagliolini?

                                        1. re: fooder

                                          I was the guy sitting next to you eating the tagliolini and the lobster lasagna.

                                          1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                                            The tagiolini and lobster must have been flying out of the kitchen yesterday b/c I had the exact same meal as well.

                                            1. re: enyc1071

                                              I finally had the fabulous lobster last night as part of the Summer Tasting Menu. It's probably one of my most favorite lobster preparations.

                                              1. re: ellenost

                                                I had that dish there this week too - loved it. I love how the lobster is so "rare."

                                                1. re: gutsofsteel

                                                  It's a brilliant dish! Normally when I dine at EMP I order the duck, but since my sister woke up yesterday with a stomach virus, and I really didn't want to cancel the reservation, I dined solo which gave me a chance to explore the rest of the menu. I hope they keep this version of the lobster on the menu after they re-open. I remember RGR raved about a lobster preparation from last year with corn that sounded wonderful too.

                                                  I am looking forward to the new menu format. I like the idea of 8 courses instead of 11 for the extended tasting menu; I think it is a more manageable number of courses for many people (me, I am the "queen" of Ko's lunch with 16 courses, so the EMP 11 course Gourmand wasn't too much of a challenge for me).

                                                  1. re: ellenost

                                                    I personally didnt think the lobster was brillant. I think i was expecting more flavors. To me the dish was like lobster poached with vegetables topped with lobster oil, just a bit too much of one flavor (lobster). I still thought it was good but i wouldnt miss it if it 's not on the new menu.

                                                  2. re: gutsofsteel

                                                    The "rare" lobster is also what I love about that dish. The texture is just great.