For many years EMP was one of my favorite places in New York. Back when the menu was a la carte I enjoyed many lunches there as it was possible to just pop out of work for a relatively quick meal (and yes using “back when” makes me feel 20 years older than I actually am). I had taken a bit of a break from it recently as it seemed to have become a bit too kitschy. But as reviews and rankings seemed to only get better I kept wondering if I was missing out. And so I made an impromptu visit to the lounge earlier this summer where unfortunately I had a very disappointing experience, i.e. the sort that would make me completely write off most other places. But in this case it just made me sad as I had so many great memories here.
So I gave it another shot, in the dining room this time, where happily the experience was completely different. Service was impeccable. Actually improved from previous dinners where I had some nitpicky comments. The caviar course was a standout for me and I wish I had taken a second photo when I found the egg underneath. Yes an egg makes everything even better in my opinion. And while the lobster boil could have bordered on gimmicky, I love presentations that show a more formal restaurant isn’t taking itself too seriously. My other favorite had to be the farmer’s cheese sundae as I loved the concept and its one I have not seen before (plus somehow the older I’ve gotten the more I’d rather have cheese than a traditional dessert). And I hope the tonging tradition makes more of a comeback as this was very cool to finally see in person.
Lately I always seem to be a bit ‘down’ on NYC dining and feel that I have far better experiences when I am traveling, especially in hospitality. But thank you Will Guidara for exhibiting what hospitality should be at this level. It is rare that my expectations are exceeded and you certainly did so.
(….and very proud of myself that I got a perfect score on “Name That Milk.”)
Cheddar – Savory Black & White Cookie with Apple
Tuna – Marinated with Cucumber
Eggplant – Slow-Cooked with Shelling Beans and Mint
Squid – Poached with Peppers and Artichoke
Tomato – Salad with Basil and Red Onion
Caviar – Benedict with Egg, Corn and Ham
Foie Gras – Seared with Plum and Thyme
Lobster – Boil with Clams, Shrimp and Beans
Tonging Sunflower – Braised with Green Tomato and Sunflower Sprouts
Duck – Roasted with Lavender, Honey, Apricots, and Fennel
Farmer’s Cheese – Sundae with Honey, Grape, Sorrel, and Oats
Whey – Sorbet with Caramelized Milk and Yogurt
Berry – Cheesecake with White Currant Sorbet and Raspberry Vinegar
Chocolate – “Name That Milk”
Snowcones in the Kitchen