Eleven Madison Park: Style Over Substance

It was February 6th, 2014 and I was browsing an email newsletter from "I Know The Chef", a service that allows members to book prime time reservations at popular restaurants and receive VIP service. At the bottom of the email, a same day 7:45pm table for 4 at EMP opened up and was available.

My heart skipped a beat. I had recently picked up Danny Meyer’s book, “Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business” which chronicles how he opened EMP as well as the challenges faced and lessons learned while employing the power of hospitality and service in the food industry.

Eating at Eleven Madison Park (ranked 4th in the world with 3 Michelin stars) has been a dream of mine ever since moving to New York in the summer of 2007. From my early exposure to Shake Shack, where I learned what a real quality burger tasted like, to the venerable Gramercy Tavern where I received some of the best service in recent memory, EMP would be the crown jewel that would meld both concepts at the highest level.

Without hesitation, and with 3 empty seats to fill, I had called and confirmed the reservation with IKTC’s Joshua Stern who was a pleasure to deal with. Luckily, over the next 2 hrs, I was able to find 3 of my friends willing to drop $225 for a dinner happening in a few hours.

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Betony - The Jewel of Midtown

It was a misty September evening in Manhattan as I sat in the plush back seat of a town car, lulled by the sounds of the windshield wipers moving steadily like a metronome. I exited the car and ducked into Betony, narrowly escaping the rain.

I was the first one to arrive, nearly 20 minutes early. After checking in with the hostess, I sat at the bar and took a look at my surroundings. Ornate carvings adorned the walls, motifs stretched across the vast ceiling. Jack, the jovial bartender with an Australian accent, nudged me and asked if "gin and I got along".

I was intrigued. “Why?” I asked.

“Well there was a mix-up with another order and we have an extra Negroni...” he winked.

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