Of all the tasting menus in the city, Eleven Madison Park appears to be the best deal. For $195 you get an epic meal created by award winning chef Daniel Humm, at a restaurant that took home their sixth James Beard Award, made the top 10 of the accredited San Pellegrino’s The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, garnered four stars from the New York Times, and received three stars in the Michelin Guide. This isn’t just hype: EMP deserves these accolades.
But, where once you had the option of getting a four-course meal or the tasting menu, starting Labor Day only the $195, four-hour-long meal will be available. The New York Times had the scoop on the story and writer Jeff Gordinier reported that EMP also plans to make the menu New York-focused. “Their vision, too, is all about New York. They want EMP to evolve into a restaurant not just in the city, but about it. Scores of elements of the menu and presentation—like the ceramic bowls and the raw oysters; the sea salt and the leather used in the coasters; and the apple brandy that servers will pour toward the end of the meal—will come from New York-area artisans and artists, distillers and farmers.” The last time I was at EMP, I saw a glimpse of this theme as they served a dessert menu that riffed on New York food. For example, they served a deconstructed cheesecake, sweet and savory black and white cookies, and a miniature egg cream that tasted just like a chocolate orange candy.Gordinier continues in his piece, “It’s all part of a $195-a-head menu—and a risky move to convert the Eleven Madison Park experience into an extravagant, participatory, close-to-four-hour ode to the romance and history of New York.”
Though chancy, for Humm and Will Guidara, his business partner and EMP’s general manage, the move isn’t completely surprising; Humm has a reputation for going above and beyond. As to whether it will be successful, well, EMP does about 200 covers a night and reservations aren’t easy to come by. So, given that and the fact that it’s still a deal when you compare it to other tasting menus like the $295 one at Per Se, I think the people will still flock to their gilded doors.