Friday, March 13, 2009

The Modern Dining Room

The Modern is located in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) space. There are two parts to this restaurant, the bar room and the dining room. The restaurant design is beautiful, there is a sleek tunnel/corridor leading into the restaurant space from 53rd street, next to the entrance of MOMA. The dining room has this incredibly high ceiling and it overlooks the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.

The Modern is one of Danny Meyer's creation, his other "babies" include Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Park Madison etc etc. I did the three course pre-fix for $88 when I went to The Modern Dining Room (they only have pre-fix menus).

The amuse-bouche, the spinach pie on the top right corner was delicious.

For appetizer, I had the seared Sullivan country foie gras with medjool date and lemon confit, chestnut tuile. The foie gras was fatty and the date was a great compliment. I love anything foie gras in general, this dish was good but it wasn't life-changing in any way. AX had the Dorade Royale - flashed cooked with sea urchin, yuzu & American caviar. I thought the dorade was quite fishy, and the sea urchin wasn't as fresh as some of the ones I've tasted in say 15 East or Le Bernadin.

For entree, I ordered the chorizo-crusted codfish, with white coco bean puree and harissa oil. The chorizo crust was a great touch, the codfish itself was quite soft, but the sauce was just ok. AX ordered the fine herb braised suckling pig with parsnip puree, roasted pineapple & natural jus scented with cardamon. His dish was pretty amazing, the suckling pig was strong (a tad porky for my liking) but tasty, the crispy layer on top was the winner. He definitely had the better entree dish in comparison to mine.

For dessert, they bought us an amuse-bouche which was actually the highlight of the evening for me. It was a cream cheese ice cream on a mini waffle (no picture unfortunately). It was very refreshing and palette cleasing. AX got the baba grand marnier, vanilla ice cream & lime sabayon. The baba cake was very soft and delicious and completely soaked in alcohol. The grand marnier taste was very strong (recommended for my alchi friends :P). I got the recommended signature dessert, milk chocolate & hazelnut dacquoise with raspberry sorbet. Again, it was good, not mind-blowing. They also bought us a small tray of complimentary chocolates, macaroons and then I was beyond stuffed.

I thought the overall dining experience at The Modern was pleasant, but I think the space outshone the food. The menu was a bit tired and needed a facelift in my opinion. The French-inspired cuisine was neither traditional nor inventive. Perhaps the next I'll try the food in the bar room, which is Alsatian-inspired, and see how that goes...

On a completely separate note, I took a few pictures of the cutesy art installation at the Lever House building (on Park $ 53rd) on my walk over to The Modern.

Address: The Modern, 9, W 53rd Street (between 5th and 6th Avenue), New York, NY 10019

Full set of The Modern Photos

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