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Private Dining - EMP, SHO, Cafe Boulud, or Picholine?

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I'm planning a dinner for 15 early next year.

So far, Eleven Madison Park, SHO Shaun Hergatt, Cafe Boulud, and Picholine have offered private rooms and food/beverage packages that are within my budget.

I don't live in NYC and have not been to any of these restaurants. I've searched the board and Cafe Boulud and Picholine seem to get universal praise, whereas the reviews for EMP and SHO appear to be mixed.

Our group will include both picky and adventurous eaters. Two diners are allergic to wheat and dairy, but all four restaurants said they can work around those restrictions.

I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks.

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Cafe Boulud
20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

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

Picholine
35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

SHO Shaun Hergatt
40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

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  1. I can't speak to the other places you mention, HM, but I've had five different (board-related) dinners in EMP's private rooms and they're always very, very nice. The entire restaurant space is a former bank and the designers converted the old VP offices (high above the retail floor) into private rooms. The service there is always diligent and the "hovering above" [a physical separateness that New Yorkers crave like mother's milk & velvet rope] is palpable. Toss in an exquisite menu, and you have a winner for your dinner.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Phil Ogelos

      Do the private rooms at EMP have views of the main floor? The restaurant did not send any pictures, and there are none on the website. Thanks!

      1. re: H Manning

        From the main floor, I have seen a lovely private room above. It looks like a great site for a party.

        1. re: Nancy S.

          Thanks. How do you like the food at EMP, compared to SHO, Cafe Boulud, or Picholine, or just in general?

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          Cafe Boulud
          20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

          Picholine
          35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

        2. re: H Manning

          There are actually two rooms above, and, yes, you can see the floor below through their windows (although why would you want to?)


          EDIT: Every restaurant you name is a good one, HM; you can't go wrong with any in terms of cuisine. I'd recommend -given your criterion- you pay more attention to the space than the plate.

          1. re: Phil Ogelos

            Agreed, all good recs. EMP would probably be a good choice if the conservative diners outnumber the adventurous ones in your group.

            1. re: Phil Ogelos

              "There are actually two rooms above, and, yes, you can see the floor below through their windows (although why would you want to?)"

              LOL, just for the extra drama I guess. This is for a big birthday. Thanks for the feedback.

        3. I've booked EMP for a very important client dinner in two week. It had better be amazing!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Blumie

            EMP is amazing! I'm dining tonight at EMP for a very special birthday celebration (I know they won't disappoint!).