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Nov 30, 2012 09:45 AM

EMP Alternative/Reservation Help

All my bf wants for the holidays is dinner at EMP or Le Bernadin. I'm a vegetarian (not vegan), so Le Bernadin just looks like a total waste to me, and he wouldn't enjoy a meal where my only option was salad and bland veggies.

I've tried getting EMP reservations for the weekend of the December 22-23 and 28 (29 become available tomorrow), and have failed repeatedly. Today, after dialing at 9 AM and waiting 30+ minutes on hold, I had to give up and go to a meeting.

Going to try for the 29 tomorrow. Two questions:

1. Can you make reservations for EMP in person? At this point I'd be happy to get on the subway and be waiting there at 8:55 AM.

2. If I fail, which of these do you think is the best alternative: Toqueville, Gramercy Tavern tasting menu (only eaten in the Tavern previously), or The NoMad? Would also consider Jungsik if someone could confirm they'll make vegetarian accommodations, but the menu doesn't look to veggie friendly.

He's big on fish and really likes creative cocktails, which would make me pick The NoMad, except I'm worried its not special enough (kinda looks like ABC Kitchen, which I love, but not exactly what I'm looking for).

All input appreciated.

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  1. Highly regard Tocqueville, Jungsik and The NoMad. You might want to call Jungsik to see whether they offer more vegetarian courses.

    But for something more upscale, you should consider Bouley since they offer a 9 course vegetarian tasting menu for $175, and the regular tasting menu also for $175. While I've never tried the vegetarian tasting menu, I can highly recommend the regular tasting menu.

    1. I'd call and ask regarding EMP taking them in person. I'm guessing not...

      Can you dine on a weeknight or put it off unti January, when demand is likely less (December is a hot month for celebrations it seems).

      Are you also on OpenTable at exactly 9am when they release a handful of tables there, as well?

      Call at an off time, too, and ask to get on a waiting list for your preferred dates. I think you want 12/21-22 and 12/28-29? They are closed on Sundays.

      The NoMad is much nicer and more comfortable than ABC Kitchen (whose furniture I find uncomfortable). But definitely not as nice as EMP.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kathryn

        Thank you both for the feedback.

        I've never loved Bouley, though I haven't been there since the old space. I appreciate the feedback about The NoMad.

        I think I'm okay with doing January and slipping a save the date into a holiday cart. Weeknights tend to be hard with our schedules. Already on the wait list for all those days, so maybe something will come through in the meantime. If not, I have a backup reservation for The NoMad on December 28.

        Also, as an FYI, asked while I was getting put on the wait list, and EMP does not have anyone there to take walk in reservations in the morning.