I used to go to this restaurant a lot when it first opened, as I lived in the neighborhood. Really liked it, but I'd heard reports recently that it had declined. I ate a late dinner there this week, and I did have the feeling it was going through the motions. Pieds de porc pane is a dish I love; but, as at L'Absinthe, EMP has sanitized the dish beyond recognition. Not only is the foot boned before being breaded and cooked, they also remove all the interssting gelatinous and fatty parts which make the foot worth eating. You're left with a sort of pork rillette rissole, which might just as well be made from briased shoulder.
The calves liver special was unremarkable. Quite thick slices of liver, grilled, but not well-trimmed and therefore with chewy bits. The dish was crying out for some bacon. I had better at The Red Cat, which is a less pretentious restaurant. Cheeses were acceptable.
I am sure EMP once had an all-French wine list, but no longer. By the glass, I tried and rejected a unready Gigondas, but then enjoyed the Graves (red), which was opened up, with plenty of blackcurrant.
The setting is splendid, but on this evidence the restaurant is currently serving middling bistro food - at slightly higher prices than a middling bistro.
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