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Mar 7, 2012 09:19 AM

New York Jewish deli ala EMP (spoiler alert - you may not want to read if you haven't had it yet)

Just had another incredible meal at EMP. Since it was a special occassion and we haven't attempted it in a while we went for the full tasting menu (with pairings). Everything was spectacular but one thing that really got our attention was their take on the NYC Jewish deli. I apologize if this is old news but it was new to us and I have to write about it. Chef Kent brought a tray with a glass dome on it, the dome was filled with thick white smoke making the content unseeable, there was a strong smell of burning wood. We were told we could look at it, turn it, but under no circumstances lift the lid (at first we thought it was a prank), Chef said he would return shortly. When he returned seveal minutes later we were able to just start making out what was under the dome, we saw a platform of some sort and some smoking greens on the bottom. We were each given a plate with some classic (albeit tiny) garnishes (they needed to be seperate because GF is a vegetarian so mine could have caviar with it) and some thin slices of rye bread, a small caviar tin filled with "cream cheese" was placed in the center of the table (normally the caviar would be incorporated). The dome was removed and viola, a few slices of sturgeon (for me) and a few slices of mushroom (for GF), were on the platform slowly smoking away. The instructions were of course to create as you wanted, little cream cheese, little sturgeon, little caviar on a slice of bread and WHAM, one of the nicest little bites of interactive food I've ever had. The theatricality of it all was wonderful and the taste made it all that more special.

The rest of the meal was equally impressive, the lobster course was out of this Worl PERFECT and the beef melted in my mouth. Since focus was on my GF (it was her birthday) there were several course where both our preperations were devoid of meat and those courses were so wonderful I missed nothing by not having some "flesh".

The beverage pairings was a little bit of everything, beer, wine, cocktails and it was masterful.

Great food, great people, great time.

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

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  1. This isn't deli. It's appetizing.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Sneakeater

      Details, details. I cut the goyim some slack on terminology.

      1. re: Sneakeater

        So I guess no restaurant can have their take or homage to something? If it isn't a steak and lobster it isn't surf and turf, if it isn't batter dip fried haddock and thick cut potatos it isn't fish and chips...

        1. re: Spiritchaser

          Who said that? I was just objecting to your terminology (the name you used for what this is a take on or homage to). In Jewish parlance, smoked fish isn't deli. It's appetizing. So this is a take on/homage to appetizing, not deli.

          (Think of East Houston Street. You get smoked/cured meats -- deli -- at Katz's. You get smoked/cured fish -- appetizing -- at Russ & Daughters.)

          Russ & Daughters
          179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

          Katz's Delicatessen
          205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

      2. Oh, wow! This new course sounds amazing! Was this dinner or lunch?

        7 Replies
        1. re: Pink_pug

          It was dinner and I guess it was part of the tasting menu. It was very impressive, very Fat Duck-eaque

          1. re: Spiritchaser

            Has anyone else had this it currently available
            I am going there this Friday for my birthday with my hubbie!
            Should we do tasting menu ?. Or is 4 course great too
            Any suggestions will be wonderful
            We do not drink so no pairings

            1. re: carpis12

              Search is your friend but I will add some very recent info, We were just there on Friday and they presented the course I spoke of again in conjunction with the tasting menu. The tasting menu had some wonderful new additions but one that really jumped out at me (and GF because it was vegetarian) was the course that used WHEY, it was different and wonderful. The good thing is if you choose to do the 4 course it is part of the regular menu. You won't go wrong either way,

              1. re: Spiritchaser

                Spirit chaser THANK YOU!
                It is my Birthday Friday and my first trip to NYC!!
                I Feel really lucky to be going here for dinner.
                My husband doesn't know anything about the restauarant and I want to be sure he gets the "deli" experience! He would love it
                That why I was curious if it was only offered on the tasting menu and if it was still being presented!
                Thanks for the update

                1. re: carpis12

                  I just wanted to clarify my answer because after re-reading it it may be confusing. The "deli course" (which by the way I was smacked down and corrected that it should rightly be called "appetizing course" - see up thread) is available with the tasting, it is not a course available outside of the tasting that I know of. It was the whey course that I was noted as available in both menus. If you are very interested in the deli/appetizer course I would strongly encourage you to call the restaurant before you go and explain that you would really like it as a course regardless of which route you go with the menu, they MAY be able to hook you up. Enjoy, Happy Brithday, and please report back.

                  1. re: Spiritchaser

                    I had hoped it was more a friendly correction than a smackdown.

                    1. re: Sneakeater

                      It was, I was just taking some poetic license. I actually did learn something and that's always a good thing. And FYI, the second time we had it they made a point of referring to it as "appetizing" and explained the difference between appetizing and deli.