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How did you get an EMP dinner reservation recently?

Totally unscientific poll: if you've had dinner at Eleven Madison Park in the last 3-4 months, how did you get your reservation? Did you call or use OpenTable? Did you book at 9am exactly 4 weeks in advance?

I have seen some lunch tables at EMP on OpenTable at 9am the last few days but never dinner.

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  1. The old fashioned way. Show up in person and chat with the maitre d'. I hate the whole Opentable thing.

    It's a better way to convey your interest in their food and that you're not some faceless concierge service or corporate business diner ticking off some checklist. This also shows to them that you're less likely to cancel your reservation.

    I do this for EMP and Daniel. Sometimes they have "maitre d' slots" or recently cancelled slots that don't get thrown onto Opentable yet. Most of the time these are not 4 weeks to the day slots.

    4 Replies
    1. re: fooder

      That's what I am doing. Grabbing last minute cancellations that are temporarily held by maitre d's at both EMP and Daniel. Not always available, but higher chance to get a table than opentable.com.

      1. re: kosmose7

        Thanks for the feedback. Last minute cancellation is not going to cut it for a birthday celebration, unfortunately.

        1. re: kathryn

          Hi Kathryn,
          If you are still interested, I may be able to do something. Can't promise though. Email me -- tpigeon2006 at yahoo.com.

    2. Had the luxury of advance planning for a Saturday evening in late July; began calling at 8:58 AM exactly 4 weeks in advance and lucked out at about 9:10! Meal took 4 hours even without a kitchen tour ;) !

      1. Checked OpenTable often for cancellations. Very rarely they show up-usually for 5:30 on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday. I grab whatever comes up.

        1. I went for dinner a couple months ago. Called exactly 28 days out, at around 9:30am. I find that the reservation line is harder to get through exactly at 9am on the dot, but have had better luck a little later than 9. Also find that 2-tops are much more rare than 4-tops.

          1. AMEX concierge

            (Haven't been in over 6 months.)

            1. How I got a prime time Saturday night reservation for Babbo (and equally tough rez) - started calling three minutes before my clock said 10:00, in case theirs were different. Redial, Redial. As soon as it switched from the prerecorded "Call at 10:00" message to a busy signal, started hitting redial repeatedly on my work and cell phones. After about 30 redials, actually got a ring. Actually got exactly the time/table I wanted.

              Same method would probably work for EMP. But also check opentable at the same time with your third hand to see if anything is open on there.

              Talking to the md is good if you're flexible on time/date. And it probably helps if said md recognizes you (or the computer recognizes your name) as someone who's dined there before a few times...

              4 Replies
              1. re: sgordon

                Have you ever done the walk-in reservation thing at Babbo? Show up at 9:50am?

                I've been just kinda doing trial runs at EMP on OT and literally nothing shows up at 9am which makes me think they're really restricting what they release to OT.

                1. re: kathryn

                  I've never gotten an EMP reservation on OT, only by calling.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    At 9:50 AM I'm either at work or, if it's the weekend, asleep.

                    EMP does restrict their OT offerings from what I've heard, though I don't know specifically how they divvy it up. Maybe they just throw any leftover tables post-calls on there?

                    1. re: sgordon

                      With many thanks to this thread and others, I am thrilled to have scored a reservation for 2 on Thursday, April 3 at 7:45. I started at 7:58AM Chicago time, and by 8:05 (9:05 in NYC) I secured my desired time after an extremely professional encounter with Alex. Also based on CH recs, I requested a kitchen tour, although realize it may not be available based on real-time circumstances. To note, I was simultaneously refreshing Open Table, and never saw a change from the "Your requested date exceeds the maximum advance reservation limit..." message in the time it took me to complete my phone reservation. See you in April, New York! Thank you, Chowhounds!