It’s been a couple years since we were last here and the ratings of EMP continue to rise. Its chef also manages the NoMad Restaurant so you will see some similarities of preparation. Stellar credentials but somehow it misses the mark with me. The food is beautifully presented, the room is gorgeous and the staff totally spoil you, but the flavor impact is just not there. It is one of those restaurants that is lost in the presentation and show of the food.
Lots of table side activities and gimmicks and high prices to go with it. One thing that has always bothered me about the place is the way the staff line up next to the bar and look out over the dining room. I know it’s to observe and make sure all is being taken care of, but it rather makes me feel like I’m eating in a fishbowl.
Anyway, as far as the meal, it is a tasting menu and you choose your preparation of foie gras and beef or duck for protein course. This visit they also had you choose a flavor that later determined which soda flavor you got with the “picnic basket”. It’s around 15 courses and they are small enough that you can easily make it through. The timing is 3-4 hours. You start with the black and white cookie that you also end with. Starting it’s savory and ending it’s sweet. The first was very tasty. The melon salad-cucumber salad was pretty but almost tasteless. A snafu in their presentation was the tomato covered with dots followed by the pastrami sandwich whose bread came out decorated with very similar dots. The pastrami was tasty but the flavored sodas seemed silly and didn’t enhance the food. The rolls they served next are superb and really didn’t need butter but the beef or pork enhanced butters were too fun to not try.
Again with the apple salad the presentation was the standout, not the taste. The soup was fairly tasteless and followed by the very bland halibut. And so it goes on and on. Overall it was a very pleasant experience but a disappointment for what it should have been. Several years ago EMP trended toward a bunch of theme stuff which makes for a fun show but I’m just more into flavor right now. It’s a place you should go just for the show and service (and the rolls!) but if you’re looking for a taste experience to knock it out of the park this one isn’t it.