Eleven Madison Park’s most iconic dishes — together with the honey lavender duck, a torchon of foie gras served with maple syrup, and deconstructed milk-and-honey dessert course — is not going to be making a return when NYC’s prime advantageous eating restaurant reopens for the primary time because the pandemic crippled town’s restaurant scene. After weeks of rumors swirling on social media and in food-obsessed circles, chef-owner Daniel Humm’s three Michelin-starred restaurant confirmed with Nationwide Public Radio this morning that it’s coming again on June 10 — with a one hundred pc vegan menu.
EMP is reopening after the restaurant confronted doable chapter (Humm hinted to Bloomberg early on throughout the pandemic that the restaurant could by no means come again). However the truth that Humm, who has mentioned previously that his food regimen is 90 p.c vegetarian, is reworking the acclaimed institution contained in the Met-Life Constructing right into a vegan restaurant is unprecedented. No different white tablecloth restaurant of the identical caliber within the metropolis serves a menu that’s utterly meat free, and of the 132 eating places worldwide with three Michelin stars, none are vegan.
Humm pointed to the pandemic as large purpose he determined to make the change, in keeping with the most recent episode of the How I Constructed This podcast with NPR’s Man Raz. “And the way in which we’ve got sourced our meals, the way in which we’re consuming our meals, the way in which we eat meat, it isn’t sustainable. And that isn’t an opinion. That is only a reality,” Humm mentioned. “So we determined that our restaurant might be one hundred pc plant-based.”
The main points of the brand new menu are nonetheless forthcoming, however it should price $335 per buyer (together with gratuity), in keeping with a restaurant spokesperson. Eater has reached out to EMP and Humm for extra particulars.
There have been indications earlier than at this time that the Swiss-born chef could drop meat from EMP’s menu. In an interview with the Monetary Instances printed in March 2020, months after the opening of his London Restaurant Davies and Brook, Humm was requested whether or not he thought the way forward for eating places lied in veganism. “Sure, it’s an absolute sure,” mentioned Humm, who additionally acknowledged the challenges of working a vegan restaurant. “I’ve considered going utterly vegetarian within the restaurant nevertheless it’s a threat — and it’s not simply my life that is dependent upon this. Predominant programs price £40 [that’s roughly $55 U.S. dollars] on common. May you cost that for a dish of broccoli? In all probability not.”
Humm and firm have been tight-lipped in regards to the sweeping menu modifications, even to its suppliers.
“It’s a whole shock,” says Ariane Daguin, the proprietor and CEO of D’Artagnan, which has equipped EMP with rooster, geese, foie gras, and beef. “If the aim of the restaurant is to make individuals completely satisfied for a few hours, it’s important to come out with tremendously good meals. To not have any meat in there, it’s just like the painter who doesn’t have all the colours on his palette.”
Eater contacted a half dozen suppliers which have labored with EMP and none knew in regards to the menu shift. “They are typically secretive about stuff,” says Zaid Kurdieh, an proprietor of Norwich Meadows Farms, who has equipped produce for the restaurant. “However that doesn’t shock me resulting from what I’ve been seeing within the business.”
The demand for vegan and vegetarian menus has been evident throughout the pandemic. A number of the most profitable restaurant openings — Xilonen, Fats Choy, and Cadence — in New York throughout the pandemic have been locations the place the kitchen focuses on meatless cooking. Whether or not it’s a development or not, vegan eating clearly gained momentum previously 12 months.
“I love the boldness of the transfer,” Daguin tells Eater. “However deep down, I don’t suppose it should final. Dan Barber, Charlie Trotter, Alain Ducasse….all tried after which ultimately reintroduced meat and fish proteins.”

The eating room at Eleven Madison Park, positioned within the historic Met-Life buildingEleven Madison Park [Official]

Fixed modifications have been a typical theme at EMP since restaurateur Danny Meyer introduced Humm to EMP in 2006 as the pinnacle chef. Rave critiques began coming in shortly afterward, and by 2011, Humm and Will Guidara, who dealt with front-of-house operations, purchased the restaurant from Meyer. The restaurant had lengthy stopped serving basic brasserie fare underneath Humm and as he modernized the menu — a number of occasions — the celebs racked up, together with a number of four-star critiques from the New York Instances and in 2017, the World’s 50 Finest Eating places record gave EMP prime billing.
The restaurant’s evolution additionally dovetailed with how Humm began getting media consideration for extra than simply his cooking. As EMP grew to become often called the very best restaurant on this planet, Humm additionally began getting protection the identical 12 months for operating the New York Metropolis Marathon, and even his penchant for gathering artwork.
In 2019, Humm and Guidara formally severed their enterprise partnership. In January 2020, Humm cut up from the Sydell Group, the boutique lodge operator chain —the place his well-known foie-gras stuffed roast rooster on the Nomad restaurant grew to become maybe town’s most acclaimed poultry dish. Inside months, the pandemic shut down EMP and many of the 200 staffers have been let go. Humm additionally sued Sydell for $2 million, claiming the corporate owed him funds.
However Humm says the pandemic was a turning level. In April of final 12 months, the celebrated restaurant changed into a commissary kitchen in a partnership with Rethink, a NYC-based meals nonprofit, and has served a million meals since. The 2 events additionally just lately debuted a meals truck, and Humm famous {that a} portion from all meals offered on the restaurant will go towards the Rethink partnership.
Earlier than the pandemic, a meal for 2 individuals at EMP simply price greater than $1,000. Humm says his work with Rethink compelled him to suppose extra in regards to the position of meals on this planet, from the juxtaposition between advantageous eating and problems with meals insecurity, to his cooking’s impression on the surroundings.
Through the pandemic, EMP additionally launched a to-go menu, the place for $275 or so, New Yorkers may feast on the famed roast rooster dinner at dwelling. It’s not clear whether or not that can nonetheless be obtainable for takeout as soon as EMP reopens.
“I consider that if the meal is scrumptious, we don’t want to fret about it. I feel individuals will purchase into it,” Humm instructed NPR. “I feel if we wish to actually push the envelope, that is the place the place we’ve got to do it.”

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