Hello Everyone! Today’s blog post is dedicated to EMP Winter House in Aspen, CO. It is a pop-up restaurant ran by Eleven Madison Park of New York and this was their first year. They have a Summer House version in the Hamptons that has already ran for two summers. Unfortunately, it has been reported that Summer House will not continue this year. Winter House is still yet unconfirmed for next season so if you have a chance, make sure you make it up there while they are still around.
I often don’t post about restaurants (even though I’m a big foodie), but I really wanted to share my night out with you all. There are very few fine dining experiences in my life that were as enjoyable as the one I’m about to describe. Over the years, I feel like fine dining has evolved into this stiff formal affair. Where if I don’t act or dress a certain way, I’m going to be looked down upon. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love getting dressed up for dinner, but am I going to be judged because I didn’t use the correct fork?
When we were in Aspen last month, we only had one night where we could have a nice meal. Knowing what a big food-centric city Aspen is, we started massively Google researching and ultimately decided on EMP Winter House. We were already FOMO’ing over the fact that we couldn’t visit the real Eleven Madison Park after being announced two years ago as the #1 restaurant in the world so we couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
The main restaurant of EMP Winter House is located in the St. Regis Hotel. They also have these pop-up yurts set up outside where you can do family-style meals in. We didn’t have the time/party size to experience that so we opted for the main restaurant. My boyfriend and I got reservations the day before so we didn’t have any issues with finding a table. Unfortunately, the main dining room was all that was left. We’re usually the type of people that likes to sit at the bar or chef’s counter. When we arrived to dinner, we thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask if there was any room at the chef’s counter and luckily there was!
WHAT WE ORDERED
We were seated in the middle between a couple and a young gentleman who was by himself. The counter faces directly into the kitchen so we knew we were going to have a great view of the chefs. We decided to get two appetizers (beef tartare and trout toast), one pasta (tagliatelle), one entrée (lamb), and two sides (potato rosti and broccolini) and, of course, two glasses of wine each.
We started noticing throughout the night that the young gentleman to our right was being visited quite often by the chefs in the kitchen. I finally lean over as asked if he knew the chefs and he said he actually used to work for Eleven Madison Park. He was on his was to California and decided to stop by Aspen to visit his old co-workers and try out the food. We got to talking about why he left Eleven Madison Park and what he was going to do in California. That prompted the other chefs to join in our conversations as well. It really felt like all of us were having a great time just talking and getting to know each other. All the chefs were so genuinely nice, funny, and friendly that it really made our dinner experience special.
I don’t know if it was because we were keeping our new chef friend company or if it’s because my boyfriend and I were taking a ton of pictures of all our food, but I feel like the chefs really did go out of their way to make our night special. For example, check out the picture of the potato rosti below. I’m 100% sure it’s not suppose to come with all those extras (i.e. egg, truffles, cream) on top. It’s suppose to look like a regular potato pancake, but somehow the chef decided to bling it out. This was the best potato pancake I have ever had in my life. Hands down.
Secondly, the chefs presented us with a complimentary dessert at the end of the night. It was a Gatorade sorbet with a generous pour of Moët on top. It was a non-menu item that was made specially for their previous co-worker as a sort of inside joke. The name of the dessert is “Gatorade B*tch!” Long story.
Again, none of the chefs/staff had to do what they did. They could of just served us what we ordered, not talk to us at all during the meal, and did the typical restaurant routine. Instead, they provided us with a wonderful dining experience where we got to enjoy delicious food and share laughs with the staff. They truly were the definition of hospitality.
Bar at Entrance
Dining Room View from Entrance
Dining Room View from Chef’s Counter
View from Chef’s Counter
Another View from the Chef’s Counter
Beef Tartare (comes w/ chips)
Trout Toast (you get four pieces)
Potato Rosti (supplemented with truffles, a fried egg, and some sort of creme sauce?)
Gatorade Sorbet w/ Moet (This was NOT on the menu. This was a surprise dessert that the chefs made for our new friend Dirk who use to work for EMP. They were so nice that they gave my boyfriend and I a taste of it as well!)
All the chefs posing for a picture at the end of the night!