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Eleven Madison Park - tasting menu / grid?

s
sundropforever Oct 12, 2011 07:39 PM

I'm taking my girlfriend to Eleven Madison Park in... well, less than 10 days now! It's both of our first times. I've seen the sample menu on their website and heard about the famous grid. Is the grid just used in the 4-course meal, or also in the 8(?)-course tasting menu? I'm thinking that the tasting menu is the way to go for such a celebration, just wondering how it works...

Are the wine pairings generally a good idea? How many glasses does $145 include?

Thanks CH!

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

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  1. Winterpool RE: sundropforever Oct 12, 2011 09:32 PM

    The minimalist grid menu pertains to the 4-course menu. I've never tried the 8-course tasting menu, but blog posts I've seen suggest there are sometimes dishes similar to fare offered on the regular menu. If you do go for the tasting menu, you needn't worry about 'negotiating' the enigmatic grid (I will note here that my favourite dishes at EMP were those I asked to vary from the standard preparations intended for the grid).

    Note that even if you limit yourself to the standard 4-course menu, you will receive wave after wave of amuse-gueules, a sorbet course (though last time it was the EMP 'egg cream'), and of course mignardises after the dessert. It's easily the equivalent of a 6 or 7-course menu at some other restaurants. You will in no way feel 'short' of a special occasion with the 4-course dinner.

    What are your tolerances for alcohol? I feel wary of too many different wines; they seem to affect me more severely than the same volume of alcohol from fewer wines. As Lord Sebastian's friend remarked:

    'The wines were too various... it was neither the quality nor the quantity that was at fault; it was the mixture.'

    Edited: as to the number of wines, it will more or less match the courses in your tasting menu, if Mr Hayler's experience is anything to go by:

    http://www.andyhayler.com/show_restau...

    1. Spiritchaser RE: sundropforever Oct 13, 2011 05:25 AM

      As Winterpool mentioned you can't go wrong either way and the 4 course does include a lot of little extras. GF and I can do some serious dining and the longer tasting menu has been (not always but on occassion) a challenge. Regarding the wine, we almost never straight out pick our wine any longer be it bottles or glasses, this is due to EMP's incredible wine service. There is almost no way an average wine drinker can have the knowledge of what to pair with the food the way thier Sommeliers do. Be forewarned, it can be a lot of wine, again, GF and I have a very high tolerence and it's pushed our limits. What we have started dong is getting bottles/half bottles, augment with glasses/half pours if a particular wine is perfect for a specific course, and have the wine cover several dishes. Explain your intent to the Sommelier and they can hook you up.

      Have a great time and report back.

      1. n
        nmprisons RE: sundropforever Oct 13, 2011 05:50 AM

        I think that I have a slight preference for the four-course option if dining with a companion who is interested in sharing plates, but it is only a slight preference and you really can't go wrong either way. Both will certainly be celebration worthy.

        13 Replies
        1. re: nmprisons
          n
          nmprisons RE: nmprisons Oct 13, 2011 07:52 AM

          Oh, and as for wine pairings, if you have any interest in beer at all, this is a great place to do beer pairings. They have a magnificent selection that pair very well with the food, many of which come in large-format bottles that can easily be shared between the two of you. I would certainly talk to the staff about bringing some beer into the meal.

          1. re: nmprisons
            Spiritchaser RE: nmprisons Oct 13, 2011 08:22 AM

            We've done three beer pairing meals at EMP and they were great. And I'll add that I think this is one of the only fine dining places in NYC that can pull it off.

            1. re: Spiritchaser
              j
              jessbnjess RE: Spiritchaser Oct 13, 2011 09:02 AM

              Sorry to hijack this thread, but I have a question about your mention of beer pairings. Did you go to EMP specifically for a beer pairing meal or did you go for the 4 course meal and asked them to suggest beer pairings? I just ask because my husband and I are going to EMP for the first time next Friday night and we are big beer people so we are definitely interested in doing beer pairings if they are willing to suggest them.

              1. re: jessbnjess
                Spiritchaser RE: jessbnjess Oct 13, 2011 09:17 AM

                We've done both. Went for the Brooklyn Brewery dinner but have also done beer pairings during regular meals, one lunch, one dinner. One of their Managers, Kirk, is a beer guru but the Sommelier are extremely well versed in beer as well as wine and spirits. Just so you know, when they say beer it means the whole gambit of beer...ales, pilsners, lambics, ciders, and it is such a great change from wine, I highly recommend going for it.

                1. re: Spiritchaser
                  j
                  jessbnjess RE: Spiritchaser Oct 13, 2011 10:49 AM

                  Thanks so much, I'll definitely mention this to my husband.

                  I was hoping it runs the whole gambit of beer (I haven't had a chance to look at their beer list yet) because harder to find beers like lambics are my favorites!

                  1. re: jessbnjess
                    Spiritchaser RE: jessbnjess Oct 13, 2011 12:18 PM

                    You're in for a treat. Enjoy and report back.

                    1. re: Spiritchaser
                      j
                      jessbnjess RE: Spiritchaser Oct 24, 2011 01:46 PM

                      I just wanted to report back (quickly, I'm not great at writing full reviews), since we had an amazing birthday dinner last Friday at EMP!

                      Not only was the food some of the best we have ever had (we chose to do the 4 course and pick 8 different dishes between the 2 of us), but they did a great job with the beer pairings. The sommelier seemed slightly out of her element, but she told us that we were in luck because Kirk, who is in charge of their beer program, was there that night. He did a great job of coming over to chat with us about the beer and check in on our thoughts. They even fulfilled our request of one of our courses being paired with Brooklyn Local 11, since it can only be purchased at EMP (and he let us take the empty bottle for our collection!). Each of our different menu choices was paired with an individual beer - Local 11 was the only beer that we both received. They could not have been more accommodating and Kirk could not have been more interested, knowledgeable, and friendly.

                      Thanks again for the tip!

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

                      1. re: jessbnjess
                        n
                        nmprisons RE: jessbnjess Oct 24, 2011 01:51 PM

                        Very glad to hear about your experience. Can't say enough about the beer menu and pairing options at EMP.

                2. re: jessbnjess
                  n
                  nmprisons RE: jessbnjess Oct 13, 2011 09:20 AM

                  I pair beers every time I go, either with or without their aid. The current list has some wonderful offerings, including a few from Brasserie des Franches Montagnes ("BFM") and Harviestoun (my personal favorite is http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/...) that are truly wonderful.

              2. re: nmprisons
                s
                sundropforever RE: nmprisons Oct 13, 2011 09:04 AM

                I was thinking of requesting a beer and wine pairing, whenever the sommelier(?) thinks it would be appropriate. I've had their Brooklyn Local 11 that is only available at EMP and it is great, and their beer list is phenomenal.

                1. re: sundropforever
                  Spiritchaser RE: sundropforever Oct 13, 2011 09:21 AM

                  I was hesitant to try it at first but we've actually done that. We basically said bring whatever you think the dish calls for and have had wine and beer during the same meal because the Sommelier brought what they thought best and explained thier reasoning behind it, it's really great to hear what they have to say.

                  1. re: Spiritchaser
                    s
                    sundropforever RE: Spiritchaser Oct 13, 2011 09:57 AM

                    That sounds phenomenal. We are both fans of beer, so that works out. It's the same cost for the pairing?

                    1. re: sundropforever
                      Spiritchaser RE: sundropforever Oct 13, 2011 10:11 AM

                      I will be honest and say that based upon memory I am really not sure BUT I believe it was, again, if memory serves me (which it rarely does) it was not a huge difference and this was not done with the true tasting menu but rather an extended four course (we added a course).

            2. s
              sundropforever RE: sundropforever Oct 13, 2011 07:48 AM

              Thanks! Quite excited, especially with knowing that reservations are going to be even harder to get after the Michelin bump.

              11 Replies
              1. re: sundropforever
                k
                kathryn RE: sundropforever Nov 18, 2011 12:04 PM

                I booked a table for 28 days from now right at 9am, and OpenTable only presented me with options for a table for 2 at 6:15 or 9pm. I called the restaurant, and they said that they are essentially becoming fully booked within the first FIFTEEN minutes of each morning. And many customers can't even get through via phone at 9am.

                1. re: kathryn
                  Cheeryvisage RE: kathryn Nov 18, 2011 12:22 PM

                  I thought that on Opentable, a new day becomes available at midnight (at least this is the case for Per Se). Perhaps booking at midnight might help.

                  1. re: Cheeryvisage
                    k
                    kathryn RE: Cheeryvisage Nov 18, 2011 12:34 PM

                    It is probably midnight by default, but can be configured by the restaurant, if they choose to. EMP has chosen 9am.

                    BTW, the EMP OpenTable error message is VERY specific:

                    "Eleven Madison Park takes reservations 28 days out beginning at 9 am. If you are looking for a reservation within 28 days from now, there are currently no tables available at the time you have chosen. Eleven Madison Park manages an active waitlist by phone."

                    I just clicked Find Next Available for 2 at 5:30p, 2 at 8:00p, and 2 at 10:30pm. Nothing!

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

                    1. re: kathryn
                      Cheeryvisage RE: kathryn Nov 18, 2011 12:38 PM

                      Oh, I see. Good to know, thanks.

                      1. re: kathryn
                        ellenost RE: kathryn Nov 19, 2011 08:31 AM

                        Tried this morning at 9:05 for 28 days from now for a 2-top, and nothing was available on OpenTable. Thought people might be sleeping late on Saturday. Don't know whether EMP is not releasing all tables via OT. Looks like EMP is becoming as difficult a reservation as Per Se.

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                        Per Se
                        10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                        1. re: ellenost
                          ellenost RE: ellenost Nov 21, 2011 10:16 AM

                          I got lucky this morning, and at exactly 9:00, I was able to get a 6:15 reservation for 28 days from today via OpenTable. Guess Monday dinner is a bit easier to get a reservation.

                          1. re: ellenost
                            u
                            uwsister RE: ellenost Nov 21, 2011 08:59 PM

                            Wow - I remember we would get a reservation the night before and go on impulse sometimes. Of course, this is before NYT 4 stars, Michelin 3 stars.

                            1. re: uwsister
                              ellenost RE: uwsister Nov 22, 2011 04:23 AM

                              It was only 3 years ago that on a Friday afternoon that I could call and get an early dinner reservation for the same night. True, it was the summer, but dinner was only $88. Miss those days. Funny, but food and service were just as good as they are today. I also used to have dinner at EMP about 6 times a year. Now it's more like 2 or 3 times a year.

                    2. re: kathryn
                      f
                      fooder RE: kathryn Nov 18, 2011 12:28 PM

                      While I'm happy to hear how busy they are, I do wonder if it's mainly a seasonal issue. High end places in NYC are always swamped in December due to the number of end of year client and company dinners. I'm sure they would still be full regardless, but my guess is you're fighting a lot more interns trying to get a reservation in December. I stopped by last night to eat at the bar. Packed house. I think I saw James Oseland there. One of the bartenders told me they've been swamped ever since the third Michelin star.

                      1. re: fooder
                        k
                        kathryn RE: fooder Nov 18, 2011 12:37 PM

                        I did figure that, but I don't know how many client/company dinners consist of 2-tops...If only I could go back in time and persuade my mother to give birth to me in a different month!

                        1. re: kathryn
                          loratliff RE: kathryn Nov 18, 2011 05:39 PM

                          Ha, I'm a December baby too, Kathryn, so I feel your pain. Last year, I snagged wd-50 and Per Se, haven't reserved anything yet for this year, but I guess EMP is out for sure!

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                          Per Se
                          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                  2. pizzajunkie RE: sundropforever Oct 13, 2011 09:58 AM

                    I had this exact question regarding the wine pairings - thanks for asking it!

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