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Was Eleven Madison Park on its way to becoming a Michelin three-star restaurant before Humm? I never dined there when Heffernan was in the kitchen, so I've no idea if Meyer was progressively applying layers of luxury even then. The narrative that Humm and Guidara tell seems to imply they had to convince Meyer at each step...

As far as I know, EMP was fairly static during Heffernan's 7-year tenure. It had two NYT stars and was not on track for any level of Michelin.

 

I can very well imagine that Danny Meyer had to be dragged kicking and screaming every step of the way --- although, to his credit, he ultimately agreed.

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I saw that the Baccarat's bar is opening tonight. No date yet for the main restaurant, Chevalier. This is the place Charles Masson will be running, with Shea Gallante in the kitchen. Modern take on

I recall the good old days when I went to a restaurant for the food. Now I have all these other things to worry about to determine if I had a good time.

I've been to that downstairs bar twice, and both times got a seat with no trouble at all.   I went upstairs only once. The bar was such a madhouse that a guy in a suit wouldn't even let me in the do

A part of me wonders if the nature of 0.1 per cent money that would be needed to finance a new EMP makes it difficult to open a luxury restaurant with less, er, douchey atmosphere. And if this is different in Northern California.

I think that if you had a dead-certain proposition for the next EMP, you could get the financing. The trouble is the low success rate of such endeavours.

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'How Paris Became the Perfect Antidote to New York Bloat'

 

If a trip to New York is a window into the clamorous, post-millennial world of modern dining, then for trend-addled, umami-saturated New Yorkers, a trip to Paris has a soothing, almost palate-cleansing effect. It's like leaving the hubbub of Rome for the neatly tended streets of ancient Athens: The dining rooms are quieter, the service is more courtly and professional, and the meals, even if they're familiar, proceed at a more stately, civilized pace. The grand old restaurants of Paris have for the most part aged better than the grand old restaurants of New York, and, for a number of reasons, the city's august chefs aren't under the same pressure to expand (i.e., open a burger bar) and innovate the way their contemporaries are on this side of the Atlantic.

 

Was a little upset to learn Passard has never been to New York. I also agree we've too much unami here.

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Look. Maybe I'm just too geeky and socially awkward and immigrant-y to notice or care. I think there's something a bit weird about a service model where hypothetically the servers are your social peers, but they're supposed to attend to your every need out of... what, the friendship that you're paying them for? That's really a bit odd to me. It can work - Maialino and the other Danny Meyer restaurants in general pull it off, but... I don't know. But now that I think about it, the times when the service at even Maialino really clicked for me were when I was with people who were regulars who were very well known to the house. And the one time I ate at Blanca, it was actually a friend of my dining companion who was our waiter, so that didn't really come up.

 

Very non-Kantian of you. It's not friendship but I think people are increasingly uncomfortable with service that is, well, servile. And this is a class thing - I doubt you think it's weird to view your doctor or lawyer or financial adviser as a social peer when they're providing a service. It's the nature of the job that makes you feel that way. Of course, the reason this is changing, I think, is because a lot of lawyers were once servers, or a lot of kids of lawyers want to get into hospitality and work as servers, but the point still stands.

It's because the "servile" thing in NYC is fake. Your doctor is a doctor; by & large, the waiter at a "formal" NYC place will not be a waiter (or hopes not to be) 2 years from now. In Europe, the situation/roles are more long term and the relationship, therefore, more like the one with other career professionals. I can't feel comfortable relating to the pseudo-formal waiter in Bklyn who I know is in Law School or sending out head shots as I would to the waiter in Rome or even the few exceptions (like Luger's) here.
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@Orik: Is your observation that the main factor for really ambitious restaurants is how well they can draw the SP crowd these days?

 

Not Orik, but....

 

I think the traditional four-stars — those that serve a 3- or 4-course prix-fixe — have a sizable number of regulars and quasi-regulars. Jean Georges isn't on the SP list at all, and it is generally full every night. It's not achieving that entirely with global gastro-tourists and "mom's 75th birthday" dinners.

 

I do think Eleven Madison Park is now 80%+ a tourist and special-event restaurant. That $225 menu is too exhausting for anyone to be dropping in regularly to try it, even assuming they have no issue with the cost. (I do realize you can order à la carte at the bar and a few small tables in the front, but that's not very many seats.)

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There's the discussion about being comfortable or uncomfortable with XYZ, sure, but the sad thing is the presumption by people who haven't even set foot in the place that service at Chevalier is anything other than warm, welcoming, and inclusive. It's not Le Cirque, and I might equally say it's not Jean Georges or Daniel, both of which have presented prime specimens of unbending snobbiness for my inspection in the past.

 

And I went before a Danny Meyer GM took over the room.

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Was Eleven Madison Park on its way to becoming a Michelin three-star restaurant before Humm? I never dined there when Heffernan was in the kitchen, so I've no idea if Meyer was progressively applying layers of luxury even then. The narrative that Humm and Guidara tell seems to imply they had to convince Meyer at each step...

As far as I know, EMP was fairly static during Heffernan's 7-year tenure. It had two NYT stars and was not on track for any level of Michelin.I can very well imagine that Danny Meyer had to be dragged kicking and screaming every step of the way --- although, to his credit, he ultimately agreed.

You're right about EMP under Heffernan. We ate there a number of times then. The food was good but nothing to really to rave about.

 

I'm sure you know know that Meyer had to convince Humm to take the job, and after the economy tanked, there were fears that EMP would go under. Those were the days of the 2 for $28 lunches. When it came to the later major changes, I wouldn't describe Meyer as having to be "dragged kicking and screaming," more like somewhat skeptical. But having great faith in Humm and Guidara, he went along with their ideas.

 

Btw, they stopped doing the card trick a year-and-half ago.

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There's the discussion about being comfortable or uncomfortable with XYZ, sure, but the sad thing is the presumption by people who haven't even set foot in the place that service at Chevalier is anything other than warm, welcoming, and inclusive.

 

Yes, and Grey Goose in one cocktail becomes Grey Goose in every cocktail. "Bonsoir" to one guest becomes "Bonsoir" to every guest.

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Mmm. It does seem the sort of thing they might not keep repeating for a regular like Roz?

Actually, they always did it for us because we liked it. But even if we had asked them not to do it, we can still see what's happening at other tables, especially the one closest to ours which more often than not is occupied by first-time diners from near and far.

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