This world famous restaurant has ditched the meat, but he still charges $ 335 per person. Will people pay? By Leah Asmelash, CNN Update at 1239 GMT (2039 HKT) on October 14, 2021 It was a while last year, like Covid-19 crippled the entire planet, when the chef and owner of one of the world's most renowned and expensive restaurants thought he could lose everything. restaurant de Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park , has three Michelin stars and was recently topped the list of 50 best restaurants in the world. But like so many others restaurants less known during the pandemic, she had to lay off all her employees, struggled to pay her suppliers and faced the once unthinkable prospect of filing for bankruptcy. Instead, Humm found a way forward by moving towards vegetables - a very unusual change for a historic restaurant. Sometimes I thought if we went bankrupt with Eleven Madison Park, maybe it was the end of a chapter , Humm told CNN in an interview in August. I actually got to where I was comfortable with this idea. I mean, you have to. Hmmm came to find the liberating idea, a- he said. Like manyoup others before him, he had already concluded that the food system requires less meat consumption to be sustainable in the long term. So if he risked losing the restaurant anyway, why not give it a shot? Read moreThis thinking laid the groundwork for the decision that shocked the food world: in early May, Humm announced that when Eleven Madison Park reopened the following month, it would go completely herbal. (The only exception, he said at the time, would be cow's milk in addition to coffee or tea.) The menu - which includes items like a vegan caviar set made from tonburi , roasted eggplant with coriander and sesame tofu with squash - is served with flair and the details for which Eleven Madison Park is famous. br> Coeven others before him, Daniel Humm concluded that the food system requires less meat to be sustainable. But moving involves significant risks. By going meatless, Humm potentially reduces its clientele to a smaller niche of diners. And these diners currently have cheaper options among other vegan or vegan dining establishments in New York City. Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy, for example, has been making fine plant-based cuisine since 2008, with a tasting menu at $ 130. per person, wine included. Daniel Boulud opened his Vegetables and Seafood restaurant Le Pavillon earlier this year, and a six-course vegetarian tasting menu costs $ 155. Hmmm, however, didn 't cut the price when cutting meat. EMP's prix fixe menu is still $ 335 per person - more if you add wine to the tab. Reputation matters a lot for a restaurant like EMP, which is on a level.u which relies on staying animated. In a pre-Covid-19 world, this was the kind of restaurant people would travel thousands of miles to after working hard to squeeze a notoriously difficult reservation. Since the reopening, diners are largely New Yorkers, but that is unlikely to be the case in the long term once travel resumes. The question is whether the new menu can maintain the allure and hype that are essential to EMP's survival. Critics so far - including a scathing New York Times article 'Pete Wells Early reviews of the new EMP have largely not been positive. Some have even been downright scathing. This $ 1,000 dinner for two is not going to change the world. It 's not a redefinition of luxury, or anything that comes close to it, Eater ' s Ryan Sutton written in September. Omnivores have long sought accessible but ambitious vegetarian and vegan dishes, and Hmmm, based on a mid-August meal, does not yet seem to fully possess the palate, insight or cultural awareness to successfully handle vegetables or, if necessary, let them speak for themselves. One of the items on Eleven Madison Park 's new vegan menu: tonburi with cream of peas and lettuce. New York Times review Pete Wells ' reviewed last month went viral for its withered lines, including that of an EMP beet tasting a cross between a lemon engagement and a scorching joint . 's move. People tend to think of industrial farms andow feedlots when they hear about meat and sustainability. But Eleven Madison Park didn't buy industrial pork for its compressed brick of suckling pig. As waiters always reminded you in times gone by, pork, eggs, cheese and other animal products came from small, independent regional farms ... If every restaurant that supports sustainable local agriculture has followed the new path Hmmm, those little farms would be in big trouble, ”he wrote. And, most importantly, he noted that until the end of this year, EMP still offers a meat option for customers who book a private dining room, a phor for Manhattan, where there is always a higher level of luxury, a secret room where the rich eat roast tenderloin while everyone else gets a canoe of eggplant. Wells noted that the EMP has a habit of correcting itself, however: Every time the restaurant s 'is revamped - the cryptic grid menu, the table magic tricks, the New York themed menu - it went too far, then came back to a less extreme place, ”he said, adding that his talent for overcoming his own lack of teps was one of the reasons I awarded him four stars in his last review in the New York Times, in 2015. An EMP spokesperson does declined to comment on Wells and Sutton's reviews, noting that the restaurant's policy is not to comment on reviews. The spokesperson confirmed the restaurant's decision to offer meat in the private room in a release. Hmmm and his team have faced some scathing reviews of the new Eleven Madison Park. It 's an amazing business to reopen a restaurant, especially in the middle of a rapidly evolving pandemic, and itIt took all the focus and effort of our staff to execute it at the operating level of Eleven Madison Park, the statement said. Our intention has always been to transform the private dining room so that it is also entirely plant-based. At the beginning of September, we made the decision to remove the last animal products from the menus of the private dining room. by Jan 1, 2022. Take Tesla Inspiration Others say Hmmm deserves some credit for his decision to go without meat. The problem is, [Hmmm 's] going herbal creates a tale of novelty, freshness and vision on her part when there have been chefs who are going in this direction before who have not attracted this attention ”, Alicia Kennedy, a writer who has written extensively on vegan and vegetarian food, told CNN. Nonetheless, Humm's movement has significance due to its place in the industry - similar to how a luxury fashion top The designer refusing to use leather or fur still makes sense, even now, Kennedy said. chefs who admire him ... so that serves a very good purpose, Kennedy said. If it spills over even further into the suburbs of the neighborhood, it's even better, she said. As for Hmmm, he said he thought EMP could do with food what Tesla did with cars. The Eleven Madison Park Dining Room on the night it reopens, June 10, 2021. It's really just until Tesla made an electric luxury car they made it sexy, he said. They made it luxurious. They made it beautiful. And so the whole world had to change. And I thought I had this similar responsibilityfrom this restaurant we were in fact in a very unique position. Most restaurants don't have the luxury of making this kind of risky decision. This is not the case to answer the question of whether a meatless menu will make people walk through the doors of the restaurant. EMP long-term. But Humm said in August that the waitlist was huge, with 15,000 table requests at a time. Reservations for Eleven Madison Park continued to sell out in the morning. of their release, a spokesperson said. Since reopening, the restaurant has served roughly the same number of tables as before the pandemic, but in total it serves far fewer people: it is now open for dinner only six nights a week, and before that he served dinner every night and lunch three times a week. When asked to give details on other metrics such as sales and profitability, the spokesperson said that EMP does notwas not tagging financial information. Hmmm, as always, focused on food. And he remained optimistic about the success of a vegan EMP. I think it 's the best food we have ever done, Hmmm said. By far.