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Thanksgiving at EMP

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Elainee Nov 25, 2011 06:53 AM

Just had Thanksgiving dinner at 11 Madison. What a disappointment! I had eaten here before the change in menu/focus and loved it. But now...for a fixed price of $185 per person (before tax, tip, wine, coffee) we expected a lovely meal with some interest/extras. No, just the four courses listed. No little extras. Worst of all the portions were smaller than Lean Cuisine. The first course of a chicken soup, while good was in a tiny teacup and since it was poured at the table, it was not as hot as it should have been. One small roll while warm as served as a separate course. The second course of pate was the most satisfying course. It was small but tasted very good. No toast or anything was served with it exceot a few shreds if greens.. My main course was the beef...a smaller potion I have never seen. It was good, but hard to eat in more than two bites. It was no larger than a quarter coin. The turkey looked like a small piece of pound cake. It was a small portion of breast meat, cooked sous vide and very salty. Tender, but rather dry. The side vegetables again were ok but in such small servings for three people. They did offer to bring more food and seemed surprised that we said yes, more please. It took quite a while and the offered more side dishes never came but we did get more beef and more turkey. The desert was again salty and tiny. Like the old joke...I didn't like it and the portions were too small. Getting more water was not easy. Lots of service people but we needed to ask for more water, a knife that dropped, more butter,etc. There are quite a few very good restaurants in NYC which we have like so much more than this dinner. At least I did not have to cook, shop, clean up, but next year we will stay home. We are really surprised it got 3 Michelin stars, really surprised.

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

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  1. The Chowhound Team Nov 29, 2011 09:17 AM

    Folks, there are a lot of people who are jumping into this conversation to either insult the OP or to insult those other people, and not much that's actually from people who were at EMP and tried these dishes. The latter is understandable since it was such a limited holiday offering, but the problems with people not being allowed to have an opinion about EMP without getting attacked for it (and this goes for *both* sides) are ongoing, in this thread and elsewhere.

    We're going to lock this thread now, and we'd ask everyone to keep in mind for future EMP threads (or, really, any threads, but it's EMP threads where we have this problem most) that while you are welcome to share your opinions about the restaurant, your opinions about your fellow hounds and their opinions should be kept off the table.

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    1. Rodzilla Nov 28, 2011 08:31 PM

      I had a post deleted ><

      Elainee, I was only initially suspicious because this was you're first post and I was confused by the description. RGR is known to the house, so I wouldn't have been put off by the additional service that got, but I WOULD be upset by the meal you described. I agree with Uhockey, a restaurant at that caliber should not have off nights.

      I hope you will continue to share your experiences on the boards.

      It seems we've gotten to a different topic entirely with regard to the Turkey, haha.

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      1. t
        thatsyuck Nov 28, 2011 05:38 PM

        I looked at the photos on flickr and those seem like perfectly normal portion sizes particularly considering the array of sides. I think Americans are used to oversize portions and maybe that was part of the problem. We Americans eat far too much animal protein and certainly our portion sizes on animal proteins are oversized. With that said, I find it bizarre that the diners' requests were not immediately met. One time while dining there I told a server that I was gluten sensitive and turned down the bread. 15 minutes later, he was back with three gluten-free toasts from freshly baked mini loaves. They pride themselves on doing whatever they can for their patrons. It's too bad the OP had a bad experience but perhaps EMP just isn't their type of restaurant.

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        1. re: thatsyuck
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          sugartoof Nov 28, 2011 05:53 PM

          American Thanksgivings are notoriously indulgent and meant for gorging.

          There's nothing normal about taking teaspoons of a mashed potato and pretending it's some delicate cavier.

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          1. re: sugartoof
            loratliff Nov 28, 2011 06:16 PM

            ....But if you want to gorge on Thanksgiving, anyone who has read anything about EMP should know that it won't satisfy that need. I'm not saying that the food was great, because I honestly don't know, but I agree with the previous poster that the portion sizes look completely acceptable.

            I would never ever choose for my first experience at a three Michelin-starred restaurant to be on a holiday. As another poster said, it's almost always a big joke.

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            1. re: loratliff
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              sugartoof Nov 28, 2011 08:01 PM

              "first experience at a three Michelin-starred restaurant"

              I don't recall the OP saying this.

              Nor have I read anything positive about EMP that doesn't gush about the endless dishes, tableside magic tricks, and free ice skating in the kitchen. Point me to the post detailing how on holidays, entree sides are shared.

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              1. re: sugartoof
                loratliff Nov 28, 2011 08:31 PM

                I didn't mean first experience at ANY three Michelin-starred restaurant. I meant that I wouldn't choose for my first experience at a particular restaurant that I hadn't been to before to be on a holiday, e.g, the OP hadn't been to EMP and chose to go on Thanksgiving.

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                1. re: loratliff
                  m
                  ml77 Nov 28, 2011 09:05 PM

                  You should read the thread more carefully before commenting. The OP specifically wrote:

                  "I have eaten with pleasure at EMP before this Thanksgiving dinner."

                  So she HAS been to EMP prior to this meal. I find the criticism she has had to receive for daring to share her unpleasant experience at EMP appalling. Way to build community folks! Can't imagine why anyone would think that foodies in general and fans of EMP in particular are pretentious!

                  And I say all this as a big fan of EMP. But I wasn't there, and so I take the OP at her word that her experience was unpleasant. Sounds like EMP should think long and hard about their Thanksgiving meal next year.

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                  1. re: ml77
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                    Elainee Nov 29, 2011 06:05 AM

                    Thanks, loratliff. Posting on Chowhound is an experience. Doubt I would repeat it.

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                    1. re: Elainee
                      MVNYC Nov 29, 2011 06:27 AM

                      Please don't be put off by this. You just happened to post on a restaurant that has a passionate cult following that gets up in arms defending the place. Unfortunately the condescending tone tends to scare off new posters which the Manhattan board needs. There is a recycling of "acceptable" places by the prodigious posters and the board is not as useful for new finds as it used to be. I know this is a bit of an odd place for a soapbox rant being as Eleven Madison Park discussions are illustrative of the problem.

                      I would say to you and other new posters, please do not be put off by all the negativeness and continue to contribute to the forums.

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        2. e
          Elainee Nov 27, 2011 03:05 PM

          We did not have the $95 truffle supplement to our $185 pre fixe. They did not bring us the gougeres, not getting the special treatment. RGR was at the table next to us. I am the woman in her photo of the champagne being poured. No extra charge for an additional serving!!! not when they need to ask if people have had enough to eat...look at the photos. I have never heard this asked before but we heard them asking at all the tables around us. The plates are not oversize..in fact not large at all. Really small servings. How could turkey be sous vide and be dry...maybe I should have said...just soft and consistantly mushey. Also the photos of the side dishes were for a table of two, we got the same and it was for three people. Plus having the bill placed on the table as soon as the coffee was served, is not nice. She did say, "Whenever you are ready"...this is three star service??
          What do we like....Le Bernardin, Jean Georges, Babbo, Marea, Gotham

          -----
          Babbo
          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

          Marea
          240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

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          1. re: Elainee
            f
            fooder Nov 27, 2011 03:54 PM

            And have you had Thanksgiving dinner at any of those other restaurants you mentioned?

            To me, complaining about Thanksgiving at a restaurant is like complaining about being overcharged at a restaurant on Valentines Day or Mothers' Day.

            A Thanksgiving dinner meant to only be served on one day is of course not going to be as well crafted and tested as the everyday menus. I doubt they would normally have any entree with turkey. You did not have a good meal for Thanksgiving. OK. But to be surprised that it got 3 Michelin Stars because of a one-off meal? That's absurd in my view.

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            1. re: fooder
              uhockey Nov 27, 2011 04:28 PM

              Why would any restaurant serve such a crummy protein on any other day?

              That said, I will say that for a restaurant like EMP there should be NO off nights - even holidays. You're paying a premium for a premium experience, even if it isn't as good as the "every day" experience that they have tailored their restaurant around.

              Regardless, the comment about "dry" being later converted to soft and "mushey" kinda indicates to me that there was something else at play here. And as for dropping the check - yes - they did the exact same thing to me after my meals at Per Se, Daniel, and many others. This isn't Paris - they don't wait till you ask for the bill - they leave it and say "whenever you are ready" or "take your time."

              http://endoedibles.com

              -----
              Per Se
              10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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              1. re: fooder
                r
                rrems Nov 27, 2011 08:43 PM

                Not when it costs $185. To suggest that one should accept a substandard meal without complaint just because it is Thanksgiving or any other holiday is ridiculous. Oh, excuse me, silly me, I should realize EMP can do no wrong, and any new poster should be treated with suspicion and contempt.

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                1. re: rrems
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                  fooder Nov 28, 2011 07:15 AM

                  At no point did I write anything that should elicit a response such as: "Oh, excuse me, silly me, I should realize EMP can do no wrong, and any new poster should be treated with suspicion and contempt."

                  At no point did I write that "one should accept a substandard meal without complaint just because it is Thanksgiving or any other holiday".

                  I acknowledged that OP had a bad meal there. My point was that to comment on the Michelin-worthiness based on one meal seemed way too much of a stretch. Restaurant reviews are based on multiple meals. Comparing "a restaurant" to "a meal" doesn't make sense to me.

                  I've dined at EMP on off nights. But I'm fine with it because they've been exceptional all the other times I've been. I don't think it's right to feel any restaurant/business/person is not allowed to have off nights. Sometimes you're just unlucky.

                  As far as $$ goes, I don't see why the premium necessarily equates to the premium experience on this occasion. On a holiday, the premium can reflect making their staff work on a holiday, for customers not having to cram with shoppers and cook, etc. NYC is home to many "canteens for the rich". How much do you think $185 gets you at Four Seasons, Nello, Cipriani, Casa Lever, Le Caprice, etc.?

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                  1. re: fooder
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                    gutsofsteel Nov 28, 2011 07:24 AM

                    At that price level and that level of restaurant, no, they are not "allowed" to have an off night. It happens, but it is unacceptable.

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                    1. re: fooder
                      uhockey Nov 28, 2011 07:25 AM

                      Fact: Dining out on a major holiday is ALWAYS a risk, ALWAYS overpriced, and RARELY as good as on a "normal" night.

                      As someone with limited vacation time but strong urge to travel I've eaten at some high end spots on special days and the ones that "wowed" without being overpriced are few and far between - two actually - Picholine early seating on NYE and Brightsen's New Orleans on Valentines Day.

                      New Years Day at Ko was a joke. New years Day at Daniel was quite good - probably on par with a "normal" day. Others were okay, but overpriced.

                      http://endoedibles.com

                      http://endoedibles.com

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

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                      1. re: fooder
                        r
                        rrems Nov 28, 2011 07:36 AM

                        <At no point did I write anything that should elicit a response such as: "Oh, excuse me, silly me, I should realize EMP can do no wrong, and any new poster should be treated with suspicion and contempt.">

                        I was not commenting on the question of Michelin stars, but on your making excuses for the restaurant because it was a holiday, and on the general tone this thread is taking, not just your post.

                        <At no point did I write that "one should accept a substandard meal without complaint just because it is Thanksgiving or any other holiday".>

                        You have two lengthy posts attempting to justify high prices and lower quality on holidays. You are entitled to your opinion. My opinion is that at this price there should never be an "off night" and apparently others agree (see posts below). If you think that is "delusional", so be it.

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                        1. re: rrems
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                          fooder Nov 28, 2011 08:24 AM

                          Not justifying the high prices and lower quality.
                          Just stating facts. See uhockey's post above. Facts leads to realistic expectations. "Is there sense in in talking about prices at places like these" was brought up in this thread on Per Se: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/812314

                          They are people, not robots. Off nights will occur. You go to a top tier restaurant because the probability of it is low. When you go on a holiday, in my view the probability increases, no matter where you go.

                          Actually, regarding quality, the OP's negative comments were mostly directed to the Thanksgiving food items (again, what top restaurant would really serve turkey normally) and to the portion sizes. The portion sizes have always been small at EMP. They always barely manage to cover half the plate used. That's something the Michelin reviewers clearly accepted. Not something directed at OP specifically.

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                          1. re: fooder
                            uhockey Nov 28, 2011 09:10 AM

                            ...doesn't matter what you post or if there is any truth to it - I have no doubt that EMP treated everyone well that afternoon just as they always do. Some people will never be impressed by EMP and that is fine - but the OP is suggesting others got "special treatment" while they were somehow neglected servicewise.

                            To each his/her own - it is how we come to find reviews/reviewers that we trust and those that we doubt.

                            http://endoedibles.com

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                            1. re: uhockey
                              Spiritchaser Nov 28, 2011 09:20 AM

                              uhockey - I won't be so bold as to say I speak for you but I have gotten pretty tired of the "EMP treats people differently" comments. We are now frequent diners at EMP and they treat us very well BUT, I look around and see everyone else getting the same wonderful treatment, also, we received the exact same incredible service the first time we were there several years ago. As I am fond of saying, "We aren't treated well because we keep returning, but we keep returning because we are treated so well".

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                              1. re: Spiritchaser
                                uhockey Nov 28, 2011 10:35 AM

                                I think that is a perfectly valid comment.

                                Once again, to each his/her own, but to claim EMP is only a 3* (or NYT 4*)restaurant to regulars is misguided at best.

                                As I said before, I'm not one who claims their food is the best in the world - it is damned good but I'd go to Per Se or Corton first - but their service is exemplary. They make fine dining feel every bit as special as the 3* spots in Paris even if the room isn't gilded in gold.

                                http://endoedibles.com

                                http://endoedibles.com

                                -----
                                Per Se
                                10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                                Corton
                                239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

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                              2. re: uhockey
                                Cheeryvisage Nov 28, 2011 12:06 PM

                                > To each his/her own - it is how we come to find reviews/reviewers that we trust and those that we doubt.

                                Wow, that's a bit harsh. The OP is perfectly within her rights to share her experience at EMP. The fact she did not enjoy the meal and her opinion differs from many on this board should not be grounds to dismiss her review as not trustworthy.

                                1. The OP was expecting the usual parade of amuse offering. Unfortunately, it did not happen on that evening.

                                2. The OP thought the portions were small, especially for a Thanksgiving dinner. EMP's individual dishes were never big in the first place, but I think the OP's reaction was not unreasonable if you consider the lack of amuses and the premium $185 price tag.

                                3. Mushy turkey, salty dessert -- execution errors on the restaurant's part.

                                4. Inattentive service. The OP had trouble getting servers' attention when needing more water, more butter, a new knife, etc.

                                If you combine all of these factors together and put yourself in the OP's shoes, can you honestly say that you wouldn't be at least a little disappointed? I sympathize with the OP and can't fault her for being disappointed with the meal. She paid a premium for it, after all. And it seemed that particular meal was less than what she'd have gotten had she dined at EMP on non-holiday days.

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                                1. re: Cheeryvisage
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                                  fooder Nov 28, 2011 12:41 PM

                                  "it is how we come to find reviews/reviewers that we trust and those that we doubt."

                                  I don't think that refers to trust/doubt in the sense of whether the review is fabricated or not. Rather I think it's in the sense of whether one would trust the reviewer's tastes to be in line with the readers' own. Some reviews are more in-depth in terms of description. Some just say whether a dish is good/bad, which begs the frame of reference.

                                  1-3 Yes, disappointing no doubt. "Unfortunately, it did not happen on that evening." Which was my point that this one meal is not representative of the restaurant as a whole.

                                  4. It's not clear to me that OP had trouble getting the servers' attention. "we needed to ask". Some people like their service to be completely anticipatory. They want water refilled without them asking, etc. I personally prefer the style where I can get everything I want, as long as I ask. I would've asked for more bread and asked for toast accompanying the pate. Some feel that top notch service should preclude the need to ask for anything. I disagree.

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                                  1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                    uhockey Nov 28, 2011 12:42 PM

                                    I'm not dismissing it as untrustworthy, per se, but rather as a single opinion. We all realize EMP has fans and foes - unfortunately the fans are sometimes silent while foes or persons with a bad experience, even if a 1-post member can start a thread (the main problem with Yelp!) It is what it is, but I guarantee that you have CHer's opinions that you trust and others that you ignore. I know I do.

                                    I do agree that the lack of amuses is a bummer but the comment about portions is offputting because you don't go to a Michelin 3* expecting to leave stuffed like you would "for a Thanksgiving dinner."

                                    The "mushy" yet earlier described "dry" turkey still confuses the heck out of me as they are essentially opposites.

                                    The service - while I find it hard to believe - is certainly something that would have griped me, particularly the water and butter issues. Though I do wonder why more butter was necessary if there was only one dinner roll given as noted in the original post and this roll was denoted as a "Seperate course" which it clearly was not.

                                    The veloute does seem quite small for a 4-course prix fixe, I will admit, and I'd have never paid $185 for that meal when I could go for the full tasting for $175 the next day but you do pay a premium on holidays - and it is too bad that the OP didn't have a "premium" experience.

                                    http://endoedibles.com

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                                    1. re: uhockey
                                      uhockey Nov 28, 2011 12:47 PM

                                      Additionally - regarding portions - they offered seconds on the main course (beef or turkey) and the sides. Just like Mama's house!

                                      http://endoedibles.com

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                                      1. re: uhockey
                                        s
                                        small h Nov 28, 2011 07:15 PM

                                        <We all realize EMP has fans and foes - unfortunately the fans are sometimes silent ...>

                                        Oh, good lord. EMP has the loudest fans of any restaurant in Manhattan, and maybe the world. They're all over this particular thread, for starters. And also...

                                        Three Stars for EMP!
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810691

                                        The Granola Gift from EMP is Great!
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/735176

                                        Maybe sounding like a broken record but still have to say how great EMP is
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/791184

                                        Eleven Madison Park- FLAWLESS!
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/596536

                                        Eleven Madison Park - Same Place, Similar Time but Still Fresh and New
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/814518

                                        Yep, silent as the grave, those EMP fans.

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                                  2. re: fooder
                                    s
                                    sugartoof Nov 28, 2011 09:19 AM

                                    The OP's post was entirely valid. EMP fundamentally did not understand the meal they were serving, from the look of those photos.

                                    The report suggests they fumbled the execution as well.

                                    As an aside - Mas is one restaurant which has kept their Violet Hill turkey on the menu all week long, and maybe longer. Most top restaurants do serve Game...and EMP is known for their DUCK dinners, specifically.

                                    The posts redirecting the criticism back towards the OP for choosing EMP let alone daring to vent with a negative review are transparent. Attempts to negate posts out of fandom for a restaurant or based on some strange criteria (ie. brunch doesn't count, holidays do not count, etc.) just don't fly. If EMP charges EMP prices, at EMP, and it comes out of EMP's kitchen - it counts.

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                                    1. re: sugartoof
                                      uhockey Nov 28, 2011 10:31 AM

                                      Duck is on a lot of menus - it is moist, tender, and delicious. You could count on one hand how many restaurants serve turkey outside Thanksgiving. It is dry and a largely unforgiving protein. I don't get this comment at all and from the pictures I've seen it seems EMP understands Thanksgiving fine but perhaps the OP doesn't understand EMP.

                                      I cannot comment on the "fumbled execution" as I wasn't there, but I still find some of the complaints highly uncommon for EMP.

                                      http://endoedibles.com

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                                      1. re: uhockey
                                        r
                                        rrems Nov 28, 2011 10:49 AM

                                        < It is dry and a largely unforgiving protein.>

                                        It doesn't have to be. Last year I bought a heritage breed turkey from a local farm for $10 a pound (expensive, yes, but worth it) . I have never liked turkey, but this one was utterly sensational. It was moist, tender, and flavorful. If you start with a top-quality ingredient and prepare it properly, there should be no excuse for it not to be delicious, and if I can do it at home, EMP should certainly be able to produce something at least as good. I was not there either so I cannot vouch for the OP's complaint, but if the turkey was indeed not wonderful, the fault lies with the restaurant.

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                                        1. re: rrems
                                          g
                                          gutsofsteel Nov 28, 2011 12:25 PM

                                          We cooked a fresh local turkey this year, butterflied, it was flavorful, and moist.

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                                          1. re: rrems
                                            uhockey Nov 28, 2011 12:32 PM

                                            This is an n=1 one experience and I rather doubt Humm cooked up a Butterball.

                                            http://endoedibles.com

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                                            1. re: uhockey
                                              s
                                              sugartoof Nov 28, 2011 12:41 PM

                                              "I rather doubt Humm cooked up a Butterball."

                                              Sadly, maybe he should have. Was that a picture of white or dark meat by the way?

                                              I've had Humm's Thanksgivings back when he was at Campton Place in San Francisco. He can cook a turkey in a fine dining setting.

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                                          2. re: uhockey
                                            s
                                            sugartoof Nov 28, 2011 11:09 AM

                                            Uhockey - your comment seems to presume that turkey can't be served as a high end, 3 star dish so hey, it's beyond critique if it's served by the hands of EMP. On the contrary, if Turkey is so beneath them, then they shouldn't serve it, and should close down.

                                            Frankly, I'm puzzled how anyone would look at a pink medallion that looks almost like a slice of pork loin, and think that represents their dream Thanksgiving, but to each their own. What part of a Turkey is shaped like a medallion anyway?

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                                          3. re: sugartoof
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                                            fooder Nov 28, 2011 10:37 AM

                                            "EMP fundamentally did not understand the meal they were serving"

                                            And yet there's ellenost's post above indicating interest in exactly the same Thanksgiving meal.

                                            We are in a culinary world where David Chang serves the food he wants, the way he likes it. Food is subjective. I do think customers need to take up some of the responsibility for choosing the right restaurant for them. Don't go to a steakhouse and complain about the fish. Don't go to Pierre Gagnaire if you hate foam.

                                            Comparing duck to turkey? I wouldn't even compare the cross hen at BHSB to chicken. In China, even the color of the chicken's feet are used to distinguish the quality of meat.

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                                            1. re: fooder
                                              s
                                              sugartoof Nov 28, 2011 11:16 AM

                                              Food is subjective? I think opinions are what's subjective, and we should strive to respect dissenting opinions without trying to discredit people.

                                              The OP went to a establishment known for their wild game, and ordered wild game. Not exactly fish at a steakhouse, but nice try.

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                                              1. re: sugartoof
                                                uhockey Nov 28, 2011 02:22 PM

                                                "known for their wild game?" Yep - I'm sure those ducks are hunted out of a local pond.

                                                Comparing a duck to a turkey - water fowl vs a land bird - is pretty much the same as comparing water based fish to a land based mammal in terms of fat content, omega acid ratio, texture, and flavor.

                                                I'm not excusing them if they served "bad" turkey because if they can't do turkey right they simply should serve it, but your arument is very flawed.

                                                http://endoedibles.com

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                                                1. re: uhockey
                                                  s
                                                  sugartoof Nov 28, 2011 02:41 PM

                                                  Most of the green market farms offering turkeys direct also sell ducks, chickens, pheasants, etc. You have a choice of wild or farm raised.

                                                  Again, are you implying cooking a turkey is above and beyond the expected skill level of Chef Humm in a fine dining environment?

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                                                  1. re: sugartoof
                                                    uhockey Nov 28, 2011 02:49 PM

                                                    No, I'm not, I'm suggesting that an n=1 report of bad turkey does not mean it was bad and I'm suggesting that turkey and duck are not the same thing, as you imply.

                                                    My guess is that the turkey was delicious, but I wasn't there so I cannot comment and since the OP didn't eat it (though seemed to claim first hand knowledge in the original post) I don't think she can, either.

                                                    Then again, I've had the duck at EMP and since duck and turkey are the same thing maybe I can comment...

                                                    http://endoedibles.com

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                                                    1. re: uhockey
                                                      s
                                                      sugartoof Nov 28, 2011 05:51 PM

                                                      Yeah well, you made a great case that the OP is obviously pathological, and even the grease traps at EMP would be worth bottling, and selling at $180.

                                                      .

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                                      2. re: fooder
                                        f
                                        FattyDumplin Nov 28, 2011 09:33 AM

                                        In any business, particularly a luxury / premium one, you have one shot to make an impression. In my job, and most jobsI presume I am not allowed to have an "off night", otherwise, there are severe consequences. I'd hold EMP and any other high-end restaurant to that same standard.

                                        That being said, while one person can draw a conclusion after 1 meal, others obviously shouldn't rely only on that one conclusion to determine whether to go to EMP. Which I think is the main point you were making...

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                                    2. re: fooder
                                      s
                                      sugartoof Nov 27, 2011 10:10 PM

                                      On the contrary, if they chose to open on Thanksgiving, make their staff work, and charge that kind of money - it should be outstanding. It should make for a holiday they remember. Their bread and butter is special occasion dining. It's fair game to judge any food that comes out of a restaurants kitchen anyway.

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                                      1. re: sugartoof
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                                        gutsofsteel Nov 28, 2011 07:26 AM

                                        Agreed. If they are unable to deliver an experience worthy of the restaurant and the price tag, they shouldn't open on Thanksgiving or they should reduce the price.

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                                          pbjluver Nov 28, 2011 07:40 AM

                                          way too over-priced for that small amount of food

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                                            fooder Nov 28, 2011 08:27 AM

                                            You're asking them to make an objective business decision (open on Thanksgiving or not) based on an extremely subjective sense of worth. Few, if any, of us on the board would ever really spend our own money at Cipriani or Nello, and yet they exist.

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                                              Elainee Nov 28, 2011 01:29 PM

                                              I hate to get drawn back into this discussion but...I have eaten with pleasure at EMP before this Thanksgiving dinner. I did expect it to be like previous meals. I did expect offerings beyond the listed items, always had them before and the price of this meal seemed as if we would get some extras. I understand portion size but it seemed to be to be smaller than before, plus there really was not much to eat. The small side dishes were for three people. And that includes the butter...three of us. Look at RGR's photos. RGR who loves EMP asked for more gravy for her turkey. Yes, I had trouble describing the turkey since I ate the beef, my husband and friend had the turkey and I reported their words. Our wine was well over $100 plus our drinks at the bar so we hardly were trying to economize. We wanted a lovely experience and we were disappointed. Yes, this is my first experience on Chowhound. I was just so surprised and unhappy I needed to share/vent. I do participate in Fodors travel bulletin board on a regular basis with the same site name.

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                                              1. re: Elainee
                                                uhockey Nov 28, 2011 01:33 PM

                                                ...but they gave her more gravy, and they offered more food to everyone, so what is the issue?

                                                http://endoedibles.com

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                                                  sugartoof Nov 28, 2011 02:17 PM

                                                  You're kidding right? I think we've covered the issues by now, in some cases with bullet points.

                                                  The only question left is if that was white or dark meat!!!???

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                                                  fooder Nov 28, 2011 05:03 PM

                                                  It's extremely hard to compare EMP pre menu change to post menu change. The old gourmand menu was a gutbuster and an outrageous deal. The current menu is still good value, but nowhere near that of the old menu. But then again, prices have also gone up across the board in NYC restaurants.

                                                  That the menu changed into a format that highlights an array of canapes and you happened on a day when they did not serve any is unfortunate. But if you were hoping for the pre menu change value/experience, you set your expectations incorrectly. It's one of the reasons why I'm thankful CHers are so thorough in their reviews. A little research ahead of time prevents a lot of disappointment later.

                                                  "but they gave her more gravy, and they offered more food to everyone". EMP responds extremely well to requests. If you had asked for more bread, or toast for your pate, I'm sure they would have obliged happily.

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                                      2. Rodzilla Nov 26, 2011 09:28 PM

                                        so they brought you additional protein courses to your 4 course prix fixe at no charge?

                                        I'm also curious how a sous vide piece of meat could be tender and dry..were the additional dishes that way as well?

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                                          uhockey Nov 27, 2011 05:44 AM

                                          I also wonder, did this table not get the white truffles that RGR's flickr stream shows? Was that a supplement? And why didn't they ask for more bread - most 3* don't like to pound the table with bread (though I do think EMP's bread program is nowhere near up to par with Daniel, Per Se, Le Bernardin, or JG - but then again, Alinea doesn't even serve bread)

                                          http://endoedibles.com

                                          -----
                                          Per Se
                                          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

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                                          1. re: uhockey
                                            Cheeryvisage Nov 27, 2011 06:04 AM

                                            According to what RGR wrote in her Flickr set, the white truffle supplement is $95.

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                                            1. re: uhockey
                                              ellenost Nov 27, 2011 06:59 AM

                                              The new bread service at EMP is delicious! There is only one selection, but it among my most favorites anywhere. I've even asked for seconds.

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                                              1. re: ellenost
                                                uhockey Nov 27, 2011 07:50 AM

                                                Doesn't matter - one type of bread is almost unheard of at a 3* anywhere. There are the few that serve none (Alinea) but the rest serve a bounty (and all in Paris seem to have3 or more, all fantastic.) I think this is something EMP should focus on. They have one - now do more. :-)

                                                http://endoedibles.com

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                                          2. ellenost Nov 26, 2011 07:56 PM

                                            I had Thanksgiving dinner at EMP two or three years ago (can't be sure other than it was before the change in the menu format), but I do recall that all of the food was excellent and generous portions. Service as always was impeccable.

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                                              nmprisons Nov 26, 2011 08:14 AM

                                              Wait, I'm confused. They brought you two extra entree courses? There were no amuse offerings? Something isn't right about this post (though it might just be a thanksgiving thing)

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                                              1. re: nmprisons
                                                Cheeryvisage Nov 26, 2011 08:39 AM

                                                I found RGR's photos of the Thanksgiving meal at EMP. Looks like other than the gougeres, there were indeed no amuse offerings: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

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                                                1. re: Cheeryvisage
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                                                  sugartoof Nov 27, 2011 08:49 AM

                                                  I wouldn't be happy with that Turkey medallion or the meal in those photos for a Thanksgiving.

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                                                  1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                                    ellenost Nov 28, 2011 09:20 AM

                                                    Funny thing: I'm now looking at the menu from the EMP Thanksgiving Dinner, and it looks fantastic! Many ultra luxe dishes (never seen so many dishes with foie gras/lobster/truffles). No surprise that there was a price increase for the holiday with the luxe items on the menu. And they were giving extra portions too! Sounds like I'll be booking next year's Thanksgiving dinner at EMP (if I can get a reservation).

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                                                      uhockey Nov 28, 2011 10:45 AM

                                                      I'll fly in for this - and we'll see if I can convince them seconds, thirds, and fourths are a good idea......though I don't think staying out in Queens like I normally do will be a good idea under such circumstances as I'll slip into a food coma on the LIRR and end up at the end of the line.

                                                      http://endoedibles.com

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                                                        fooder Nov 28, 2011 10:56 AM

                                                        Take the 7. That way if you go to the end of the line you'll only end up in Flushing. Dessert and Karaoke!

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                                                  uwsister Nov 25, 2011 02:06 PM

                                                  Wow - that is not what I would expect from EMP.

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                                                  1. ttoommyy Nov 25, 2011 08:38 AM

                                                    "Worst of all the portions were smaller than Lean Cuisine."

                                                    Best post-Thanksgiving line yet! lol

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                                                    1. re: ttoommyy
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                                                      carcrash Nov 25, 2011 08:52 AM

                                                      Had a somewhat similar experience at a different, very nice restaurant this Thanksgiving. Three excellent quarter-sized medallions of turkey. Even in general, tasting portions can be kind of off-putting, but on a holiday that's about indulgence, and with the dish that's supposed to be the centerpiece, it was not what I would have wanted. That said, I didn't have the Annie Hall problem. It was very good food. Just not enough of it.

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