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Eleven Madison Park wine pairings: yes or no?

JoelC | Jan 4, 201210:55 AM

My wife and I are going to Eleven Madison Park in about 10 days. We have been there three times previously, but this is our first visit in the 3-star/grid menu era.

I am wondering whether we should go with the wine pairings with the basic four-course menu. This is somewhat addressed in a previous discussion, but I would welcome some additional advice.

I have two concerns with the wine pairing approach. One is cost. (I know, why bring this up since we've decided to blow the bank just by going to EMP in the first place?) We probably go to high end places three or four times a year and have never spent more than $110 on a bottle of wine. Since two wine pairings cost $190 I wonder about value for money since we have never splurged for a single bottle of wine in that range.

The second concern is more fundamental. I've gone to excellent restaurants with wine pairings twice in the past year and both times came away frustrated with the overall quality of the wines served; the amount served, with the pours definitely less than the by-the-glass offerings; and the sense that the experience with each wine was too short to fully enjoy.

The alternative would be to get two half-bottles or dispense with trying for perfect matches all together and just get one excellent bottle of wine, which I'm sure we can do for less than $190, even on a wine list as glorious and ambitious as that of EMP.

Most of the posters on the restaurant review sites that I've read have raved about the EMP wine pairings, but I'm wondering if any of you would mind being more specific. How did you feel about the quality/quantity to price ratio? Were you satisfied with the experience overall? Any tips on how to approach the sommelier in terms of specific preferences or just turn the experience over to them?

Thanks in advance.

Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

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