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Eating/drinking at Eleven Madison Park bar

Hello, it's been a few years since we have been in New York and we are fortunate enough to be able to come back in mid November to celebrate my birthday. On previous trips we have lucky enough to eat at Per Se, Jean Georges, EMP, Le Bernardin as well as other equally tasty, but less fancy places.

As we get older (mid-30's) our stomaches seem to have shrunk and we are no longer able to find room for tasting menus and we also seem to prefer less formal dining experiences, so much so that we have sat at the bar by choice the last 3 times we were at Le Bernardin. We also really like our old school cocktails, and Pegu, PDT, Death and Co are places we intend to return to.

In short I was wondering what the menu at the bar at EMP is like? It would seem they have a good reputation for cocktails now and it might be a good opportunity to combine some excellent food and drink. Can you order off the main menu? What is the experience like?

Thanks in advance.

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Per Se
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

Jean Georges
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

Le Bernardin
155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

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  1. If you like Pegu, PDT, and Death & Co, you'll like the cocktails at Eleven Madison Park.

    For dinner, the bar menu at Eleven Madison Park is a different menu from the regular dining room. You must order a la carte. The menu consists of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Many of these dishes are pulled from the dinner prix fixe, though.

    Here's a photo of the bar menu:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kathryn/...

    As you can see, the appetizers are in the 20s, entrees are in the mid and high 30s, and desserts are all 18.

    For cocktails, if you've not been back to the city in a few years, you should note that Death & Co now has a few sister bars, Mayahuel, Amor y Amargo, Cienfuegos, and El Cobre. Mayahuel specializes in tequila and mezcal drinks. Amor y Amargo is a specialty bitters focused bar. Cienfuegos and El Cobre all focus on rum, with Cienfuegos focusing more on rum punches.

    Phil Ward from Mayahuel is ex-Death & Co. His wife also does the bar program at Vandaag, catacorner from Mayahuel, and that program is more gin and aquavit based.

    Some bartenders from PDT are also running the cocktail program at Momofuku Ssam Bar now.

    Pegu Club also has a few sister bars now. Flatiron Lounge, which has been around for a while (though it gets pretty packed like Pegu Club does at times). Lani Kai, which is a Hawaiian themed/upscale tropical bar is also worth a visit.

    I'm surprised you didn't make it out to any of Sasha Petraske's bars. If you like Pegu Club, PDT, and Death & Co, you'll like Little Branch, Dutch Kills, Silver Lining, etc. His bars are best at making classics (and obscure classics) extremely well and "bartender's choice" type drinks (tell me what you like and I'll make a drink for your palate).

    Also if you are staying in Midtown, I highly recommend a stop at Lantern's Keep inside the Iroquois hotel, which employs some Milk & Honey, etc bartenders from downtown. They also do bartender's choice quite well, and it has a hidden, downtown feel. I also really enjoyed their original drinks as well. We went for the first time last night and really liked it.

    There are also a few other mixology type bars in Midtown now: 44 at the Royalton, the bar at Lamb's Club, the bar downstairs at the Andaz, and Rum House.

    But the three you listed (Pegu, PDT, Death & Co) are still three of my favorites in town.

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

    Momofuku Ssam Bar
    207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    Little Branch
    22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

    Please Don't Tell
    113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

    Flatiron Lounge
    37 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

    Pegu Club
    77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

    Death & Co.
    433 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

    Mayahuel
    304 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

    Rum House
    228 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

    Cienfuegos
    95 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

    Vandaag
    103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    The Lambs Club
    132 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

    Forty Four
    44 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

    Lani Kai
    525 Broome St, New York, NY 10012

    El Cobre
    95 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

    Silver Lining
    75 Murray St, New York, NY 10007

    Lantern's Keep
    49 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

    Amor y Amargo
    443 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

    The Bar Downstairs
    485 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Hello, Kathryn, I have always thought of you as knowledgeable but your post proves you are a mine of information. Thank you for taking the time to provide such a detailed response
      I shall definitely look into the ones you mentioned in addition to our old faithfuls.

    2. I just wanted to bump and piggy back on this thread - with the menu change does anyone know what the up to date situation is with eating at the bar at EMP? Is it the same as before with around $90 for three courses and easy to walk in?

      Coming from London I find it quite hard to get my head round the idea of walk-ins at a 3* restaurants but if we arrive at 630-7 on a Monday are we likely to be able to eat or will it be full for the night by then?

      Many thanks

      9 Replies
      1. re: ManInTransit

        It's been years since I've eaten at the bar at EMP, but at the three NYC three-stars at whose bars I regularly eat -- Per Se, Le Bernardin, and Daniel -- it's remarkable how easy it is to get seated.

        EMP may be harder because I think that, because of its excellent cocktail program, more people go to its bar just to drink than at the other three-stars, where the cocktails are not a draw in and of themselves.

        It'll get easier to wrap your head around when you get here. We New Yorkers love our walk-in bar dining.

        1. re: ManInTransit

          I honestly think 6-7 on a Monday is one of your best bets for getting a spot in the bar. If it was Thurs, Fri, or Sat different story but you should be good to go. As for the $90 for 3 courses that sounds about right based upon our last quick trip into the bar to eat. Additionally, I know it may be difficult to accept the idea of walk in bar dining at a 3 star but we have always enjoyed it and the food is still coming from the same kitchen and it's fun to interact with the very accomplished bar tenders.

          1. re: Spiritchaser

            Thanks both. I've prioritised EMP due to the great writeups and its proximity to our hotel but those who've tried them both is there a significant difference between the lounge at Per Se and the bar at EMP?

            I suppose we're looking for whichever is most reflective of the food in the dining room and not a seriously inferior alternative.

            From why I've read it's not worth considering Daniel or Le Bernadin as it doesn't seem like they compare.

            SC I knew I recognized your username - I share your view of hibiscus.

            1. re: ManInTransit

              If you mean that Daniel and LeB don't compare to Per Se and EMP, I agree with you about Daniel but very strongly disagree about LeB. In fact, I think LeB is probably superior to both Per Se and EMP. (But not incomparably so.)

              If you mean that the bar food at Daniel and LeB doesn't compare to the bar food in their main dining rooms, they both serve their full menus at the bar. (At LeB, only at the bar itself, though: the surrounding lounge only serves a lounge menu [also available at the bar itself, in addition to the dining room menu].)

              1. re: Sneakeater

                I do really like the look of Le Bernadin but with the options in London and the other end of the Eurostar in Paris it doesn't seem to me like Le Bernadin is the place to go on a trip to New York.

                You seem to eat regularly at both - would you particularly recommend one of Per Se or EMP over the other in the bar?

                1. re: ManInTransit

                  Although we love the Salon at Per Se it seems much more isolated from the actual restaurant than the EMP Bar/Dining Room seperation so depending upon what you are looking for, intimate vs lively, would determine where you go. As mentioned before if you were to sit at the bar you have the option of interaction with the bar staff at EMP whereas that would never be the case at Per Se.

                  1. re: Spiritchaser

                    I agree with Spiritchaser about that.

                      1. re: ManInTransit

                        I just reread one of your replies and I must have been a bit dense first time through because I didn't realise you were addressing me (SC) when you referred to the Hibicus comment. What a serious let down that place was : ).