9 West 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
New York, NY 10016
The Modern is the Museum of Modern Art‘s fanciest dining option. It’s got two faces: a flashier louder bar/small plates room and then the more formal dining room in the back, where jackets are required for gentlemen, a glass wall faces into the MoMA’s sculpture garden, and rolling chairs are the chairs that you rest yourself in (how very office-like). If you’re a fan of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler like me, being in an art museum after hours is still a little thrill, despite the MoMA not being the Met. I was stoked to try The Modern because it has one Michelin star, chef Gabriel Kreuther recently won a James Beard award (Best chef of NYC), and Danny Meyer of Shake Shack and others fame runs the place.
Entering the establishment, the Bar Room was hopping. And reception didn’t make me feel like garbage for being late. Dave and I were seated at a two top by the windows, in rolly chairs. He and I decided to get the tasting menu. You basically have only three dinner options: the $88 three course meal, the $125 chef tasting menu, or the $135 seasonal tasting menu. And the cheese cart is an add on, as well as wine parings. Every time a server wheeled the cart of cheese by, I would inhale a whiff of fromage and be in heaven.
The service was spot on, with synchronized movements, knowledge, and efficiency.
Regarding the bathroom, if you’re using the bathroom sinks, you turn on the sensor with your hand, but don’t forget to turn it off.
Enough fluff, here’s what you came here for.
I for the life of me cannot repeat in entirety what the server described these as. But just look at those silver spoons! All I can recall is that the circles on the left contain creme fraiche. Bites of happiness. And it’s a little out-of-place seeming to eat popcorn at such an upscale place, but if you add porcini, it’s acceptable.
There was another one here, and sadly the picture is unacceptable. I just remember fish eggs on top of something panna cotta-like? All in a big goblet. And I can’t neglect mentioning the bread. I consumed a kalamata roll and a french bun.
Foie Gras Terrine Flavored with Juniper-Marinated Raisins, Pistachio Joconde
I typically love foie gras, but this offering was too salty for me. However, take that with a grain of salt since Dave adored it. Cute touch with the flower petal atop the raisins.
Tartare of Yellowfin Tuna and Diver Scallops Seasoned with Yellowstone River Caviar
Yes yes yes, this made up for the foie gras. The dressing was wonderful. Even now, I still marvel at how thin the cucumbers were sliced. Impressed I was.
Ravioli of Escargot with Slow Poached Quail Eggs, Escargot Caviar and Mustard Greens
Normally I don’t think much of snails, but I was swayed with this here dish. Mmm, buttery goodness.
Maine Lobster “Cappuccino”
I thought this was a funky bold unique success; Dave marked it a miss but did gobble down the lobster pieces at the bottom of the cup. It looks like you’re drinking an Italian coffee beverage, but it’s flavored like the sea. No picture because it ended up a sea of white.
Chorizo-Crusted Codfish with White Coco Bean Purée and Harissa Oil
No picture because I forgot. I was too preoccupied by all the treats emerging from the kitchen. I must confess I wasn’t too thrilled with the cod because I find chorizo too spicy for me, but it was prepared perfectly, and I did like the beans and bean paste.
Pennsylvania Duck Breast with Black Trumpet Marmalade, “Fleischschneke”, and Banyuls Jus
The Fleischschneke just looks cool; it’s the swirl in the top left and is duck confit in some noodle-y thing. There’s a braised apple in the upper right too. The breakout star here was the duck. Why do places serve duck right before dessert? I’m getting full and can’t enjoy the duck as much. No luck with duck. Dave gave the thumbs up to the black trumpet marmalade coating the duck pieces.
Passion fruit gelee? (yellow bottom layer), sour apple granita? (white top), dotted with pomegranate seeds. One shot was not enough! I would have preferred a pint glass! These glasses were pretty rad: circular at the top and oval at the bottom.
Pineapple ‘Chartreuse’ with Fresh Herb Sorbet
Slices of pineapple hugging cream. Dessert B subplot is herb sorbet with a marshmallow ribbon draped on top. Herb ice cream: there’s a reason why Ben and Jerry’s isn’t pushing Smokin’ Herb or somesuch flavor on us–it is not palatable, though Dave would be to differ, saying it grows on you.
Happy birthday polka dotted cake for the birthday lad!
Desserts would not stop coming! Not pictured are petit fours and a box of chocolates. The petit fours weren’t really worth mentioning. One had cilantro, ew. The server warned me thoughtfully because I stated earlier that I despise that plant. Blech.
To The Modern: thanks for making me pleased for picking you. What a nearly perfect birthday dinner!